What is Interac?
Interac is a Canadian interbank network that allows financial institutions and other enterprises to make electronic monetary transactions, and also serves as Canada’s debit card system.
Interac’s e-transfer and online payment services are popular banking methods at Canadian online casinos. The e-transfer function is commonly used to send payments to friends and family, but doesn’t involve the direct transfer of money between two different bank accounts.
Instead, payments are approved via a third-party payment solutions company called CertaPay, which then authorizes the transaction and sends a notification to both participants by email. Interac e-transfer is widely available at both Canadian financial institutions and casino sites, and is regulated by the Bank of Canada.
When using Interac e-transfer at a gambling site, the casino will issue users with a specified email address as a destination for the transaction, followed by a security question as a layer of authentication. Interac e-transfer can therefore be used by any customer with an email address and a Canadian bank account.
For Interac online, or Interac debit, customers can pay for deposits by directly transferring funds through the online banking system. This option is faster and more seamless than Interac e-transfer, as there’s no need to authenticate payments through email addresses and security questions.
However, the downside is that Interac online is not as widely available as Interac e-transfer, as the service is only available to customers of four of the five largest Canadian banks: RBC, BMO, Scotiabank, and TD Canada Trust. CIBC, the sole outlier, uses Visa Debit payments for online transactions between bank accounts.
History of Interac
Interac, whose current CEO is Mark O’Connell, was founded in 1984 as a joint venture between five of Canada’s biggest financial institutions: RBC, Scotiabank, CIBC, TD, and Desjardins. Today, the number of participating institutions has risen to over 250.
In 1994, Interac launched Interac Debit, which allows users to make purchases using the money stored in their bank account. Almost 10 years later, in 2003, Interac expanded into the world of electronic payments with their e-Transfer service. These two services, Interac Debit and Interac e-Transfer, still form the basis of the Interac company model.
Interac’s headquarters is located at the Royal Bank Plaza in Toronto.