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Big Banks Offering “Free” interac e-Transfers
August 28/2016

Yes, you read the title correctly.  Some of the big banks in Canada now provide free interac e-Transfers.  If you’ve used e-Transfer payments in the past, then you know that the fee can be up to $1.25 per transaction.  The good news is that RBC is the first bank in Canada to make it more cost effective for people to send money by offering unlimited, free interac e-Transfer payments from personal chequing accounts.  TD Canada Trust wasn’t too far behind, offering their customers free interac e-Transfer payments for the month of August.

Other banks have variations of free.  Newcomer EQ Bank lets you send five e-Transfers per month at no cost and Alberta’s ATB Financial includes 10 free e-Transfers in its mainstream Unlimited Account.  CIBC’s new Smart Account is one of the first to make interac e-Transfers just another routine transaction rather than giving them special treatment.

So what’s the real reason banks are offering this payment type for free?  We know it isn’t some intrinsic generosity – they like to make money, and lots of it. Many believe it’s because paper cheques are costly to process, inefficient, and increase the chances for fraud and theft.  The banks are really being self-serving – they would like to save some money from processing paper cheques, but e-Transfers between chequing accounts also reduces fraud for them – an area where banks lose revenue.

OK, so the banks do have reasons – no surprise.  But for now, what’s good for the bank’s bottom line is good for yours too. After all, more money in your pocket is always a good thing.

It won’t be too surprising if other banks follow suit to RBC.  For now, here’s a quick survey of Interac e-Transfer fees using the public websites of banks and credit unions:

·         Bank of Montreal: Includes five e-transfers in its $30-a-month Premium Plan; clients with other accounts pay $1.50 per e-Transfer.

·         Bank of Nova Scotia: $1 to send.

·         National Bank of Canada: $1 to send.

·         Toronto-Dominion Bank: $1.50 to send (August is almost over!).

Thanks for reading.

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