VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 7, 2010) - Two credit unions are the first financial institutions in Canada to launch Interac e-Transfer, a payment system that allows users to securely send or receive money directly, and almost instantly, between financial institution accounts on their smartphones or computer.
With this new product enhancement, Central 1—which provides the e-mail and mobile platforms—in partnership with BC's Prospera Credit Union and Teachers Credit Union of Ontario, is leading the race for accessible and convenient mobile money transfers. The partnership is the first step in making person-to-person payments widely available across financial institutions.
"Canadians have traditionally been eager to adopt new technology and there are already 22 million wireless subscribers in Canada," says Oscar van der Meer, Chief Technology Officer for Central 1. "This is the logical evolution of mobile banking and as more retailers and financial institutions adopt mobile payments, the potential impact for consumers is virtually limitless."
Central 1 says 17 percent of credit union members have access to mobile web banking, 18 percent to e-mail money transfers and 45 percent to mobile SMS text banking. Nationwide, 70 percent of Canadians use a mobile phone and 34 per cent of those are smartphones, such as a BlackBerry or iPhone.
"Interac e-Transfer is a new way for people to exchange money quickly, easily and securely, whether they want to transfer a few dollars or a thousand dollars," says van der Meer. "This service will transform the way consumers exchange money."
Interac e-Transfer simplifies the direct transfer of funds. This feature was previously known as Interac E-mail Money Transfer and was limited to sending funds between bank accounts using e-mail. Transfer notifications can now be sent either from computer to smartphone or from smartphone to smartphone in real-time. In contrast, other transfer solutions may take several days to complete a transfer and involve a stored value account.
With Interac e-Transfer, recipients receive a secure link via e-mail or text message. Once they answer a security question, money is immediately transferred between financial institutions without sharing any personal or financial information. "Mobile money transfers represent the first stride towards having the smartphone replace the wallet," van der Meer notes.
Prospera and Teachers Credit Union participated in the design and testing of the Interac e-Transfer mobile extensions and were the first financial institutions to launch the new product.
"This new service allows us to make a meaningful difference in helping our members manage their money more efficiently," said Bruce Howell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Prospera.
"Interac e-Transfer will enhance the online and mobile banking experience for our members and is a significant advantage we can offer that distinguishes us from the competition," said Gary Lowes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Teachers Credit Union in Hamilton.
Central 1 expects that other clients that use their MemberDirect Services will soon add mobile person-to-person payments to the services they offer their customers. Currently, Central 1 provides MemberDirect Services to 99.9 percent of all B.C. credit unions and 70 percent of Ontario credit unions (representing 2.9 million members). In addition, Central 1 provides online banking and payment services to other financial institutions, public sector agencies, utilities, telecommunications and insurance companies.
Central 1's mobile banking services have evolved from text-based banking in early 2008 to mobile alerts and mobile web banking in 2009 and now to mobile person-to-person payments.
"We are extremely pleased to be expanding the functionality of Interac e-Transfer into the mobile space," said Mark O'Connell, President and CEO, Acxsys Corporation and Interac Association. "Central 1's decision to be the first to offer the mobile functionality of Interac e-Transfer speaks to the organization's commitment to offer innovative payment options to Central 1's members and their clients."
-- Interac e-Transfer demonstration
-- Interac e-Transfer animation
-- Interac e-Transfer Invite Tool
-- Central 1 technology and payment services
Central 1 is the central financial facility and trade association for the B.C. and Ontario credit union systems. Central 1 represents a consumer-oriented, full-service retail financial system that serves 2.9 million members and holds $70 billion in assets, Central 1 is owned primarily by its member credit unions, 45 in B.C. and 131 in Ontario.
Central 1 Technology & Payment Services is committed to maximizing value and growth opportunities for our 300 clients, including financial institutions, public sector agencies and utilities. We have been supporting credit unions since the 1940s, and in recent years our client base and capabilities have continued to expand, placing Central 1 in the prime position to support new clients, including telecommunications and insurance companies. Today, we are the emerging backbone for powering direct banking and payments.
Prospera Credit Union
Drawing on its more than 60-year history, Prospera Credit Union is now one of the largest credit unions nationally and the fifth largest in B.C. With current assets of $2.3 billion under administration, Prospera's offices are located from Vancouver to Kelowna, and include sixteen branches, seven insurance offices, six commercial centres and a contact centre. Prospera is a community rooted organization that believes in making a meaningful difference in the financial well-being of their members.
Teachers Credit Union
Teachers Credit Union has a long and proud history of providing an evolving range of financial products and services that are designed to meet the needs of our members and their families. While our primary focus is the educational community, we offer membership to individuals who reside in the communities in which we serve. Teachers Credit Union is committed to our members' positive financial health and strengthening education in communities throughout Ontario.
®™: Interac and Interac e-Transfer are trade-marks of Interac Inc. used under license.
™: MemberDirect Design and ® MemberDirect are trademarks owned by Credit Union Central of Canada, used under license.