INTERAC E-TRANSFER. IS IT AS SAFE AS THE BANKS CLAIM?

There was a story on the news this morning about an elderly woman who paid a bill for services via an Interac E-Transfer. The payment was intercepted somewhere along the way and her money was diverted to an unknown account. She is now out of pocket $3,000 and still has an unpaid bill. The bank at this point is refusing to reimburse her money.

I have had an issue with Interac E-Transfer. In my case, $2.000 was mysteriously E-Transferred out of my account during a long weekend when the banks were closed for three days. The first I knew about it was when I received a call from the bank to advise my debit card had been compromised and another card was in the mail. No further information was provided by the bank employee who called me.

As my branch office is just a few minutes' walk from my residence, I went to the bank, inserted my card in the ATM and sure enough, it did not work. I went back home and attempted to log on to my account and was locked out. I then phoned the bank from the number on the back of my card and after the usual clicking through the banks evermore complex directory system and after a 20 - 30 minute wait, I got through to an actual person.


It was not until Tuesday morning when I went to my bank, I found out the $2,000 had been E-Transferred from my account. The branch was unable to supply any additional information but was able to provide me with a new debit card and reset my password. I then asked when I would get my money back. Ten business days after an investigation I was told.


That day, I wrote a letter to the bank head office in Montreal advising I was very unhappy that someone had robbed my bank account and express mailed the letter. As far as I was concerned it was the bank's responsibility, not mine and I wanted the money back in my account within 24 hours of the bank receiving my letter. Two days later I received a phone call from an officer with the bank to say the money would be back in my account the next day and the bank was carrying out an investigation into the illegal transfer. He would not answer the following questions:


  • Did BMO contact the police?

  • How did the person hack my account?

  • Where did the money go? Offshore?

  • Why is E-transfer called "secure' when obviously it is not.

The bank deposited my money the next day but I never did receive any answers to my questions. A simple search on Google using "Interac Online Thefts" reveals dozens of complaints similar to mine. The evidence seems to indicate E-Transfers are not as secure as the banks would have us believe.


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© 2011 BY Shanique Byrd