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Operating areaCanada
Founded1984; 40 years ago (1984) (as Interac Association)
February 1, 2018; 6 years ago (2018-02-01) (as Interac Corporation)
OwnerInterac Corporation

Interac is a Canadian interbank network that links financial institutions and other enterprises for the purpose of exchanging electronic financial transactions. Interac serves as the Canadian debit card system and the predominant funds transfer network via its e-Transfer service. There are over 59,000 automated teller machines that can be accessed through the Interac network in Canada, and over 450,000 merchant locations accepting Interac debit payments.[citation needed]


Interac Corporation
IndustryFinancial services
    • Interac Association
    • Acxsys Corporation
FoundedFebruary 1, 2018; 6 years ago (2018-02-01)

The network was launched in 1984 through the nonprofit Interac Association, a cooperative venture between five financial institutions: RBC, CIBC, Scotiabank, TD, and Desjardins; by 2010, there were over 80 member organizations. The group founded a for-profit counterpart organization, Acxsys, in 1996, which launched additional Interac-branded services including e-transfers. Following several aborted merger attempts which were either blocked by the Competition Bureau or by some of the co-owners between 2008 and 2013, Interac and Acxsys were combined into a single for-profit organization, Interac Corporation, on 1 February 2018.[1][2] Interac's head office is located at Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto.

In 2019, Interac Corporation acquired 2Keys Corporation, Ottawa-based digital identity and cyber security for governments, financial institutions and commercial clients.[3][4]

In 2021, Interac Corporation acquired the exclusive rights to the digital ID services for Canada from the digital ID and authentication provider SecureKey Technologies Inc.[5][6]

On July 8, 2022, all Interac services were disrupted in Canada due to a nationwide Rogers Communications network outage resulting in millions of dollars in lost transactions for businesses.[7][8] On July 11, 2022, Interac stated they were adding another provider in addition to Rogers to strengthen their network redundancy.[9]


Interac is the organization responsible for the development of a national network of two shared electronic financial services:

Interac Direct Payment (IDP)[edit]

Interac Direct Payment (IDP) is Canada's national debit card service for purchasing of goods and services. In 1990 Interac launched a new pilot called Interac Direct Payments. Customers enter their personal identification number (PIN) and the amount paid is deducted from either their chequing or savings accounts. As of 2001, the number of transactions completed via IDP has surpassed those completed using physical money.[10] Beginning in 2004, IDP purchases could also be made in the United States at merchants on the NYCE network. IDP is similar in nature to the EFTPOS systems in use in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

Interac Direct Payment is a PIN-based system where the information entered on the PIN pad is encrypted and verified at a central server, rather than being stored on the card itself. Because of this, it is significantly more secure than traditional signature or card-based transactions. Despite these security features, there are ongoing fraud concerns, particularly when debit cards are duped or skimmed — a compromised automated teller machine or point-of-sale terminal will record the account information contained in the magnetic strip of the card, allowing for duplicate cards to be created at a later time. The owner of the card is then secretly video taped or observed entering their PIN, allowing a criminal to use duplicate cards to make fraudulent purchases.

Interac chip cards[edit]

In 2007, Interac announced it would be moving to EMV chip card technology.[11][12] The main benefit to this technology over the existing magnetic stripes is that the chips are almost impossible to copy due to high levels of encryption.

Shared Cash Dispensing (SCD)[edit]

Shared Cash Dispensing (SCD): cash withdrawals from any ABM not belonging to a cardholder's financial institution. This Canada-specific service is similar to international systems like Plus or Cirrus. Virtually every ABM in Canada is on the Interac system.

Interac e-Transfer Service[edit]

The Interac e-Transfer service is offered by CertaPay. It allows online banking customers to send money to anyone with an e-mail address or a cellphone number and a bank account in Canada. Prior to February 2018, this was an Interac-branded service operated by Acxsys Corporation. Interac e-Transfer service is designated as a prominent payment system and is subject to oversight by the Bank of Canada.[13]

Interac Online[edit]

The Interac Online service allows customers to pay for goods and services over the Internet using funds directly from their bank accounts. Because no financial information is shared with the online merchant, the Interac Online service is more secure than online credit card payments. This service, operated by Acxsys Corporation from 2005-2018 and by Interac Corporation since then, was available to customers of four of the five largest Canadian banks: RBC, BMO, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust by 2007.

By February 2009, Interac Online was supported by roughly 300 merchants including two large universities (for tuition payments), two major wireless carriers, provincial lottery corporations, and a wide variety of retailers. It was later adopted by Paymentwall (for payments to third-party merchants) and the Canada Revenue Agency (for income tax payments).

Interac Online was an Online Banking ePayments service very similar to iDEAL in the Netherlands, Giropay[14] in Germany, and Secure Vault Payments[15] in the United States.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation has dropped all support for Interac Online, effective 6 January 2023. According to their site, "Interac Online is being phased out by major financial institutions and will no longer be supported as a payment option for deposits."[16]

As of 2023, the service has been dropped by all major Canadian banks except TD Canada Trust and the First Nations Bank of Canada, with RBC being the latest to abandon the scheme.

A few small credit unions in British Columbia, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland remain.[17]

According to the Royal Bank of Canada, "As of January 6 2023, RBC will no longer support the option to pay for online purchases using the Interac Online Payments service. If you use Interac Online Payment service to make CRA tax payments: You will be able to make tax payments to CRA using Interac Online Payment until May 30, 2023."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Canadian Press (12 February 2010). "Bureau axes Interac request to become for-profit". CTV Bell Media. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  2. ^ Bradshaw, James (5 February 2018). "Major revamp gives Interac a chance to compete against rivals". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  3. ^ Bradshaw, James (5 November 2019). "Interac acquires Ottawa-based digital identity specialist 2Keys". The Globe And Mail. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Interac Corp. acquires Ottawa-based 2Keys". 5 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Interac Corp. acquires exclusive rights to SecureKey digital ID services for Canada". Interac. October 2021.
  6. ^ Streeter, Joe (1 October 2021). "Interac strengthens digital ID in Canada and North America with SecureKey deal". Payment Expert. Retrieved 5 April 2022.
  7. ^ @INTERAC (8 July 2022). "Due to the continued nationwide Rogers outage of business and consumer network services, INTERAC Debit and INTERAC e-Transfer continue to be unavailable across Canada" (Tweet). Retrieved 9 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "Rogers says it has started restoring service following widespread wireless outage - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. The Canadian Press. 8 July 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  9. ^ "Rogers falls as massive outage raises concerns over Shaw deal".
  10. ^ Buchholz, Garth A. (22 July 2005). "INTERAC Milestones in Canada | Electronic Cash Payments: Canada Loves its Debit Cards, but Will the Cashless Revolution Happen in the U.S.?". InformIT. Pearson Education. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  11. ^ "What is Chip Technology | Interac". 31 December 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  12. ^ "Interac Association Chip Guide". EPOSS. Archived from the original on 7 January 2016. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Regulatory Oversight of Designated Clearing and Settlement Systems".
  14. ^ "Home: giropay" (in German). 18 September 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Fast. Easy. Secure". Secure Vault Payments. Retrieved 18 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Interac Online Removal Details". 5 December 2022.
  17. ^ A prompt to select from a list of institutions appears at during the checkout process. The list of credit unions on that page is badly outdated, and (which appears to be the same product, rebranded as the "Interac Debit for online payment service") has similar issues.
  18. ^ "Shop Securely with Interac Online".


External links[edit]