Money moves: EFT v. Interac e-Transfer®

Everyday Banking

Having a choice is never a bad thing, especially when it comes to online money transfers. But when you want to do something as simple as move funds from another bank to your EQ Bank account, choosing how can slow your roll. Do you select Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or do you go with Interac e-Transfer®? Does it really matter?

Let’s break both options down first.

What is an Interac e-Transfer?

You’re likely familiar with the Interac e-Transfer, given its widespread availability in Canada. Interac e-Transfers are one of the quickest ways to send money to another person or to yourself, with funds typically arriving in under 30 minutes. Money sent through e-Transfers are available immediately, unlike EFTs, which can be subject to a hold period.

The biggest drawback with Interac e-Transfers is the lower transaction limit, when compared to EFTs. Most banks place a limit of $3,000 per day, which can be challenging if you’re looking to move larger sums of money.

What is an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)?

An EFT moves money between your digital bank (such as EQ Bank) and another financial institution. By linking an external account to your EQ Bank account, your EQ Bank account acts as a hub to “push” or “pull” your money.

It’s important to note that while EFTs generally have higher transaction limits than Interac e-Transfers®, they can take several days before the dollar amount appears in your bank account. Once the money is in your account, your bank may place a temporary hold on it, preventing you from using the money to, say, pay a bill.

The good news is, if you initiate an EFT via your EQ Bank account—in other words, if you pull money from your linked account to your EQ Bank account—you start earning interest immediately, even while your money is on hold. So while you may be inconvenienced by the wait time, you gain the ease and convenience of being able to move larger amounts between your accounts online.

If you’re more of the “set and forget” type, EFTs also give you the ability to transfer money between accounts automatically. With EQ Bank, you can withdraw up to $30,000 per transaction out of your account, or deposit up to $100,000 per transaction into your account.

One further distinction is that EFTs can only be used to transfer money between bank accounts in your name, whereas Interac e-Transfers can be used to send money to a third party—like the colleague who spotted you lunch money the day you forgot your wallet.

What’s the right move for me?

On the surface, both services appear similar, right? They’re both secure and they’re both easy to use—the differences, however, lie in how soon you need funds, and how much you want to transfer. So before you make any money moves, ask yourself the following two questions:

  1. Do I need this money ASAP?
  2. How much money do I want to transfer?

With your timeline and amount set, let’s assume you want to move money from another bank account to your EQ Bank account. Use the chart below to determine whether an EFT makes better sense for you than an Interac e-Transfer—and vice versa.

Amount to move I need this money ASAP I don’t need this money immediately
I want to move $3,000 or less Best choice: Interac e-Transfer

Here’s why: By sending an Interac e-Transfer to yourself from your other bank, the money is in your EQ Bank account in 30 minutes or less, without any holds.


Best choice: EFT or Interac e-Transfer

Here’s why: With either option, if you’re pulling money from your linked account to your EQ Bank account (and you’ve initiated the pull from your EQ Bank account), your money starts earning interest right away. If your other bank has a surcharge for sending Interac e-Transfers, then you should use EFTs in this scenario.

Good to know: With EQ Bank, it’s completely free to send and receive Interac e-Transfers and EFTs.
I want to move more than $3,000 Best choice: EFT

If you think you’ll need to withdraw a large amount of money from your EQ Bank account, we recommend initiating the transfer at least 3 business days before you need the money.

Here’s why: Canadian banks currently process transactions in batches, as opposed to in real-time, which is why it takes 2 to 3 business days for bills to be paid, or for money to show up in your bank account when you use EFT.
Best choice: EFT

Here’s why: EFTs typically have much higher transaction limits compared to an Interac e-Transfer. For most banks, Interac e-Transfers have a daily limit of around $3,000.

Good to know: Any money deposited in your EQ Bank account through EFT is subject to a temporary hold. On the plus side, if you’re pulling money from your linked account to your EQ Bank account (and you’ve initiated it from your EQ Bank account), your money starts earning interest immediately!

No matter how you choose to move your money, rest assured that with EQ Bank, you’re doing it securely and easily—all while on the go. What’s more, once your money lands in your EQ Bank account, you’ll start earning high interest right away.

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