North America

Canada has had an IP scheme in place for nearly 20 years — but IP is still growing 45% YOY. With another scheme in development, the Canadian IP market is poised for strong growth and adoption throughout the next decade.

Canada’s current digital instant money transfer platform is called Interac e-Transfer. It enables users to transfer money directly from one bank account to another, and operates 24/7/365. Transactions are either settled in real time or near-real time (within a maximum of 30 minutes), with users able to make P2P, C2B, B2B and B2C transactions. Users can initiate payments through a participating financial institution’s online or mobile banking application, and funds can be transferred by entering the recipient’s email address or the mobile phone number linked to their bank account — without having to provide any sensitive or personal financial information.

Although there is no specified limit for fund transfers, financial institutions set sending and receiving limits to control fraud risk. The service also enables cross-border money transfers through partnerships with money transfer operators Western Union and Mastercard.

To further capitalize on IP, Payments Canada is developing a new and advanced IP system known as Real-Time Rail (RTR), which is expected to go live in 2021. The system will also support API integration, enabling participants to offer value-added services through the platform.



  • Consumers
  • Banks
  • Merchants
  • Billers



Population banking level


Number of debit, credit and charge cards per adult


Index to global average


Fully banked

Key statistics


IP launch year

Immediate payments types

Single instance, bulk payments, cross border

Initiation & authorization

Mobile number, email


Message standard









% of adults who have a mobile wallet and have used it in the past year

Share of volumes by payments instrument



Spend (USD)

  • Paper-based payments
  • Electronic payments
  • Immediate payments

Immediate payments volume and its share in overall non-paper-based transactions, 2014-24f

% of total electronic payments transaction volume


Though the Canadian market has had IP capabilities for nearly 20 years now, usage has grown extensively in the past five years, and should experience its fastest growth rates through to 2022.

One of the largest opportunities to fuel that already aggressive growth is broader acceptance; if IP expands among merchants and if billers begin to accept it, volumes will likely see a substantial spike. Though current adoption of mobile wallets is on the lower end of global rates at roughly 25% of adults, usage has quadrupled in the past five years, creating potential for further transactional acceleration.

As the new RTR system is planning to launch in 2021, and with plenty of runway for future growth, Canadian companies should begin to plan their IP integration strategies now.

ACI’s take

Canada’s P2P market is already well served by Interac e-Transfer. However, the introduction of a new P2P IP system will create further opportunities.

Therefore, Canada is being strategic in launching a new IP system with a focus on B2C and B2B use cases with the need for ubiquity, real-time settlement, payments transparency, cross-border capabilities and rich-data standards. Real-time data will support corporate customers through automated processing and discourage the use of checks in favor of digital payments.

One ACI customer in Canada has already been able to deliver benefits to its corporate clients by using the IP capabilities of their payments hub. The bank can accept batch files from their corporate client, and then orchestrate those as individual real-time payments disbursed to the end recipients in the U.S. via Zelle. The uplift in customer experience has been significant, without requiring changes in their system. This is just one example of how Canadian financial institutions can drive value even in the early stages of their payments modernization journey.


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