How Long Does an e-Transfer Take?

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Making payments and transfers are becoming easier and faster with technology. In Canada, Interac e-Transfer is a household name when it comes to online cash transactions.

In 2021 alone, there were 5.9 billion Interac debit transactions and 960.3 million e-Transfer transactions in Canada.

These glaring statistics point to the relevance and adoption of e-Transfer compared to other transaction methods in Canada.

Whether you’re sending or receiving cash transfers, you can count on Interac e-Transfer so long as you have a Canadian bank account with a valid email address or phone number.

The fundamental question is, how long does an e-Transfer take? Even though e-Transfer is relatively faster, knowing the exact waiting period is essential.

Keep reading to learn about the Interac e-Transfer waiting period at your bank and how to make faster transactions in Canada.


What is Interac e-Transfer and How Does it Work?

Interac e-Transfer is an online funding method that is popular for its convenience, security and speed. The service is accessible through the online banking portal of banks and credit unions in Canada. 

To send or receive an Interac e-Transfer, you need a bank account number with an eligible financial institution, email address or phone number. 

Unlike other transaction methods, you can use a mobile phone, laptop, or desktop to make Interac e-Transfer in Canada. 

After initiating an e-Transfer, the sender will be debited immediately while the receiver will be notified with deposit instructions via email or text message. 

Once the receiver follows the deposit instructions, the funds will be delivered immediately to them or within a given period. 

Learn more: How Interac e-Transfer Works


How Long Does an e-Transfer Take?

While some e-Transfers are delivered instantly, it can take up to 30 minutes to an hour to process it at some financial institutions. 

The actual processing time of an e-Transfer depends on your financial institution and other factors which we’re going to explore shortly.

If you use a financial institution that supports e-Transfer Autodeposit, you can have your e-Transfer processed instantly. 

With the exception of Autodeposit, the delivery period of Interac e-Transfer also depends on how fast the intended recipient follows the deposit instructions. 

After receiving the deposit notification by email or text message, the recipient needs to follow the instructions to receive the deposit immediately. 


5 Factors that Determine the Waiting Period of e-Transfers

Interac e-Transfers can be processed instantly or within 30 minutes. However, the following factors determine the waiting period for e-Transfers in Canada.

1. Deposit Method

You can make Interac e-Transfer manually or through Autodeposit. Manual e-Transfer requires the recipient to answer a security question to accept the funds.

In this case, the transaction will only be delivered when the recipient answers the security question correctly. 

With Autodeposit, the recipient will receive the e-Transfer automatically without the need to answer a security question.

To use Autodeposit, simply follow the steps to set it up through your bank’s online portal. This is a one-time setup.

Is it worth it? Definitely! Interac Autodeposit saves you time and helps you access funds faster. 

2. Internet Connection

The sender or recipient’s Internet connection can impact the waiting period of Interac e-Transfers. The faster the Internet connection, the better.

If you have a poor Internet connection, it could cause a delay in sending or receiving e-Transfer notifications. 

3.  Transfers Size

Usually, large Interac e-Transfers take a longer waiting period than small-mid-size transfers. It’s worth noting that the maximum e-Transfer limit varies per financial institution.

Unlike small-mid-size e-Transfers, large-size transfers can take more than 30 minutes to be processed. 

4.  Recipient Information 

The accuracy of the recipient information also determines the waiting period for e-Transfers. Providing the wrong name, email address or phone number could lead to delay if not declination of the transaction.

If the waiting period exceeds 30 minutes and the transfer size is not large, it’s essential you double-check the recipient information to confirm if you provide the correct information. 

5. Financial Institution

Different financial institutions have varying processing systems. This means that the financial institution you use can determine the waiting period of your Interac e-Transfers. 

If you’re sending money to someone who uses different financial institutions, the process may get longer.

In what follows, we’re going to look at the Interac e-Transfer waiting period of some of the big banks in Canada.


Interac e-Transfer Waiting Period of Big Banks in Canada

The Interac e-Transfer waiting period varies from one financial institution to another. The following is an overview of the waiting period of the 5 Big Banks in Canada.

1. RBC

Interac e-Transfers are processed within a minute at RBC. But if the recipient is not an RBC user, the waiting period could be longer.

On the other hand, it could take 3-5 business days to process RBC Interac e-Transfer to recipients that didn’t set up mobile banking. Such recipients may also be charged an additional service fee to get the Interac e-Transfer.

But if you or the recipient set up online banking with RBC or an eligible financial institution, the Interac e-Transfer will be delivered free. 

While RBC personal chequing accounts don’t have an e-Transfer fee, RBC personal savings account charges a $1 fee per transfer and the RBC business deposit account charges $1.50 per transfer.

2. TD Bank

Interac e-Transfers are processed within one minute on TD. However, it will take up to 30 minutes to process the funds if you use an online banking system.

That said, it will take up to 4-6 business days to process Interac e-Transfer on TD if the recipient is receiving the funds through the Interac platform. This will involve the service fee charged by Acxsys Corporation.

Sending or receiving Interac e-Transfer online on TD to an eligible financial institution is free. The following fees apply to other Interac e-Transfers on TD: 

  • $0.50 per every e-Transfer up to $100 from a personal account
  • $1.00 per every e-Transfer above $100 from a personal account
  • $1.50 for every Interac e-Transfer from a business account 

That said, TD doesn’t charge a fee for sending money through e-Transfer on the following accounts: 

  • TD All-Inclusive Banking Plan account
  • TD Every Day Chequing Account
  • TD Unlimited Chequing Account
  • TD Student Chequing Account
  • TD Unlimited Business Plan business chequing account 

3. Scotiabank  

Scotiabank also supports Interac e-Transfer through Autodeposit. This allows you to receive an instant and automatic deposit. 

But if you’re making manual e-Transfer through online banking on Scotiabank, it can take 4-6 business days for the funds to be processed.

Like other banks, your e-Transfer from Scotiabank may be delayed if the recipient doesn’t set up online banking with an eligible financial institution. In addition to waiting for days, the recipient may also be charged a fee to get the deposit.

The following are the eligible banks that the recipient can receive fast e-Transfer from: 

  • Scotiabank
  • RBC Royal Bank
  • BMO
  • TD Canada Trust
  • CIBC
  • National Bank
  • President’s Choice Financial
  • Desjardins
  • ING Direct
  • ATB Financial

4. BMO

BMO also supports Autodeposit which saves you time and delivers your e-Transfer instantly. However, you can also make Interac e-Transfer on BMO manually.

If you’re doing manual e-Transfer, BMO allows you to select the date you wish the funds to be processed. If you select the current date, the fund will be processed immediately. 

5. CIBC

You can receive Interac e-Transfer instantly on CIBC when you set up Autodeposit. CIBC also allows you to send Interac e-Transfer up to $3,000 within 24 hours, $10,000 within 7 days and $30,000 within 30 days.

Most Interac e-Transfers on CIBC are processed immediately. However, it can take up to 30 minutes to process some transactions. 

Receiving Interac e-Transfer from CIBC is free. Nevertheless, it will cost you a $1.50 fee to send Interac e-Transfer from your CIBC account.


Why is My e-Transfer Pending?

When your e-Transfer status is showing pending, it means your transaction is still hanging. This is not a reason to panic unless the pending status continues beyond a few hours. 

In that case, you need to check the transaction status to view the reason behind the pending. Some of the common causes of pending e-Transfer includes: 

  • The recipient answered the security question wrongly
  • Invalid email or mobile phone number of the recipient
  • The recipient has set up Autodeposit and it’s in progress or inactive
  • Incorrect information of the recipient
  • The recipient declined the transfer
  • The recipient didn’t follow the deposit instructions within the processing period  

If the reason behind the pending status is not clearly stated or you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to contact your financial institution for rectification. 


How to Receive e-Transfer Faster With Autodeposit

The fastest and easiest way to receive Interac e-Transfer is through Autodeposit. This feature takes away the stress of answering a security question anytime you want to receive funds.

With the Autodeposit feature, you will receive funds directly to your bank account anytime someone sends you an e-Transfer.

However, not every financial institution supports Autodeposit. For those that do, the registration process varies from one financial institution to the other. 

Nevertheless, the Autodeposit feature is usually located under the Interac e-Transfer profile settings on the mobile or online banking systems of financial institutions. 

Once you locate the Autodeposit feature, all you need is to fill in the required information and select the account you want funds to be deposited into. To finalize the process, you will need to verify the registration.  

Congratulations! You are now ready to receive Interac e-Transfer instantly without answering a security question. 


How to Send an e-Transfer?

Knowing how to send an e-Transfer will help you eliminate delays along the way. Fortunately, sending an e-Transfer is not a rocket science as it usually involves the following simple steps:

  • Log in to your mobile or online bank account
  • Navigate to the “Interac e-Transfer” section
  • Select an Interac recipient from the list of your contacts or add a new recipient by entering their name, email address or phone number
  • Initiate an e-Transfer for the recipient
  • Enter the amount you want to transfer
  • Choose the notification method (email address or phone number)
  • Enter a security question and answer you want the recipient to respond to
  • Press the “complete e-Transfer” button

After following the above steps, you will be debited immediately and the recipient will receive a notification within a few minutes to up to 30 minutes depending on the financial institution.

The recipient will be required to follow some instructions to have the funds deposited into their account. 

But if the recipient is registered for Autodeposit, the funds will be deposited to their account without answering a security question. 

RELATED: Interac E-Transfer Limit: How Much Can I Send?


How Long Does an Interac e-Transfer Take?: FAQs

Why does e-Transfer take long?

Interac e-Transfer is usually considered to take long when it exceeds 30 minutes. While some banks process interac transfers immediately, others may delay sending the notification for up to an hour. Other common reason why it could take long include poor Internet connection and invalid information of the recipient.

Why have I not received my e-Transfer?

If you haven’t received your e-Transfer, it could be caused by a number of reasons such as the sender using the wrong transfer details (e.g. email or phone number), cancellation of the transfer by the sender, or an incorrect security answer. 

Can you track an e-Transfer?

Sure! You can track an e-Transfer through the Interac e-Transfer page on your mobile/online bank account. Tracking your e-Transfer will help you know when the transaction is pending, processed or declined.
But if you or your recipient set up Autodeposit, you don’t have to bother about tracking an e-Transfer as the transaction will process instantly. 

How do I cancel an Interac e-Transfer transaction? 

If the recipient has not claimed the transfer, you can cancel it through your mobile/online bank account. 
All you need is to navigate to the Interac e-Transfer transaction history section and choose the transfer you wish to cancel. Note that cancelling an Interac e-Transfer may attract a cancellation fee. 

How long does it take to get a cancelled e-Transfer back?

Cancelled e-Transfer is usually processed immediately. However, the waiting period may vary from one financial institution to another.

Is e-Transfer secure?

Interac e-Transfer is one of the secure cash transaction vehicles in Canada due to its multiple security measures such as: 128-bit browser encryption, secure login process, confidentiality and the the option to use a security question/answer for authentication.


Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a fast and secure online money transfer method in Canada, you can’t go wrong with Interac e-Transfer. 

Interac e-Transfers can be made on a mobile phone or computer and are processed instantly or within 30 minutes.

Hopefully, you’re now informed about the answer to the question “how long does an e-Transfer take?” Please let me know if you need more clarification in the comment section.

Before leaving, kindly share this article and check out other relevant blog posts for more information about the best personal financial products and services in Canada.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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