How Long Do e-Transfers Take?

How Long Do e-Transfers Take?

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated July 4, 2022

Back in the day, if you wanted to send or receive money from someone, you’d have to rely on snail mail or wire transfers. But with the creation of Interac e-Transfers, just a couple of clicks on your computer or mobile device lets you transfer funds between accounts quickly and conveniently.

The question is, how long will an e-Transfer take once the sender clicks the “send” button? 

Let’s go into a little more detail about how Interac e-Transfers work and how long you can expect to wait to have funds deposited into your bank account.

How Long Does It Take To Receive An e-Transfer? 

Interac e-Transfers are perhaps the fastest way to send and receive money. There is usually very little wait involved between the time a transfer is sent by the sender to the time it is received by the recipient. Most e-Transfers are nearly instant, but can also take up to a half hour in some cases. 

There are a few factors that influence the exact amount of time it takes to receive the funds through an e-Transfer.  

Regular e-Transfer With Security Question 

An e-Transfer typically requires that you answer a security question to verify that you’re the rightful participant in a transaction. This extra step will add a little more time to the e-Transfer process. 

e-Transfer Auto Deposit 

If you’re looking for even more speed when transferring funds electronically, setting up auto deposits with your financial institutions may work well. This involves setting up your account to receive e-Transfers automatically without the need for you to answer a security question.

The second the sender sends you an e-Transfer, the funds will be immediately deposited into your bank account. 

Big Five Bank e-Transfer Timeframes 

Scotiabank Scotiabank e-Transfer funds are available immediately once you receive the notification indicating your funds have been transferred. In general, you should receive the message within a few minutes, usually under 30 minutes. 
TDTD e-Transfer funds are also available once you receive a message indicating funds have been transferred. Recipients will usually receive the message within a minute of the e-transfer being sent. 
BMOBMO e-Transfer can take as long as 30 minutes to reach the recipient, however, in most cases, the recipient will receive the funds immediately after the transaction. 
RBCRbc e-Transfer funds are processed in real-time. Funds are immediately deposited if the recipient has auto-deposit set up, otherwise, it’s deposited once they accept the deposit.  
CIBCCIBC e-Transfer funds are transferred immediately from the sender’s account to the receivers. However, it can take up to 30 minutes for the recipient to receive the e-transfer notification. 

Why Is My e-Transfer Taking So Long?  

The time it takes for you to receive funds sent electronically via e-Transfer depends on your financial institution. Let’s take a look at each of the big banks in Canada and why you might be waiting a little longer for your funds to be deposited into your bank account.

Why Is My e-Transfer Taking So Long With TD? 

TD’s e-Transfers typically take no more than a minute to complete, and recipients usually receive an email or text notification about the transfer. However, TD Global Transfers can take a lot longer, as long as a few hours to days later: 

  • “Send to Account” options take anywhere from 24 hours to 10 business days
  • “Send for Cash Pick-up” options take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours
  • “Send to Card” options take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours

Why Is My e-Transfer Taking So Long With Scotiabank? 

Scotiabank e-Transfers take just a few minutes to receive. Any longer than that means there is probably an issue involved, such as a bad internet connection or inaccurate transfer details. Otherwise, an unusually large amount of money being transferred could slow the process. 

Why Is My e-Transfer Taking So Long With RBC? 

RBC e-Transfers generally take no more than 60 seconds to complete. If the transfer does not come in after a minute, there might be a problem with the internet connection or with the transaction details. 

If you’re not an RBC customer and don’t have an account with the bank, the transfer could take longer. Further, if you haven’t set up online Banking, it could be 3 to 5 days before your transfer goes through. 

Why Is My e-Transfer Taking So Long With CIBC? 

With CIBC, the transfer amount will influence how long the transfer will take. The larger the transfer, the longer it could be before you see the funds in your account. 

Anything under $500 should take no longer than 30 minutes to transfer. But there are limits on how much can be transferred within specific time frames, as follows:

  • No more than $3,000 within 24 hours
  • No more than $10,000 within 7 days
  • No more than $30,000 within 30 days

Why Is My e-Transfer Taking So Long With BMO? 

BMO e-Transfers can be immediate, while most others should take no more than a few minutes to complete, though it could take up to 30 minutes for transfers over $300. 

Reasons Your e-Transfer Is Taking Long

Under normal circumstances, your e-Transfer shouldn’t take any more than a few minutes to show up in your bank account. But there could be times when you’re waiting much longer:

Sender And Recipient Are With Different Banks 

If the sender is sending an e-Transfer from a financial institution that you do not have an account with, the transfer could take longer because the connection is indirect. 

Bad Internet Connection

A poor internet connection can make anything take far longer than they should, including e-transfers. If you notice your transaction has been pending for a long time, check on the status of your connection and move to a different area for better reception, if necessary. 

Wrong Recipient Details 

If the sender inputs inaccurate details about the transaction — such as the wrong recipient name or phone number/email address — you may never get the transfer. In this case, the incorrect details will need to be updated to ensure accuracy. 

Large Transfers 

Overly large transfer amounts could take longer to transfer than amounts no more than $300 to $500, depending on the bank.

Other Factors 

There are a few other miscellaneous factors that impact longer-than-normal Interac e-Transfers:

  • First-time transfers
  • Details surrounding the recipient’s auto deposit feature
  • Bank sends transfers individually (rather than in batches)
  • Bank’s fraud detection system

e-Transfer Status Meanings 

What do the different statuses mean when you check on your e-Transfer?

  • Invalid email address or mobile number. Your email address or mobile number is not valid or notification of the transfer wasn’t delivered to you.  
  • Security question failed. You failed to answer the security question correctly. 
  • Auto deposit failed. The e-Transfer that was set up for auto deposit failed. This could be due to your bank account either being invalid or closed. 
  • Declined. You declined the e-Transfer.
  • Expired. You didn’t collect the funds before the expiry date.
  • Deposited. You successfully answered the security question and the funds have been deposited into your account.
  • Auto deposited. Your email address or mobile number is set up for auto deposit and the funds have been deposited to your bank account.

How Long Does it Take To Send An e-Transfer?

The process of sending an Interac e-Transfer is quick and should take just a couple of minutes to do, depending on your financial institution. Once you click the “send” button, the transfer should happen right away, though it may take up to a half-hour in some cases.  

What Happens If Your e-Transfer Is Not Accepted? 

If you send an e-Transfer and the recipient does not accept it, the transfer will simply expire, after which the funds will be returned to you. Generally speaking, the recipient has up to 30 days to accept the transfer before it expires, and will typically receive a reminder email prior to the 30-day mark.

Keep in mind that your bank may charge you a return fee for an unaccepted e-Transfer, which is usually around $5.  

Lookout How To Spot And Avoid E-Transfer Scams

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e-Transfer Timeframe FAQs

Why is my e-Transfer taking so long?

There could be many reasons why an e-Transfer is taking longer than a few minutes. Perhaps the transfer is a large sum of money or maybe it is due to a poor internet connection. If an e-transfer takes longer than a day, ensure that the sender input the correct details. However, do keep in mind that sometimes long waits are experienced when you and the sender have accounts with different banks.

What happens if my recipient doesn’t accept the e-Transfer?

If the person you’re sending money to does not accept your e-Transfer, the transfer will expire and the money will be returned to you.

If I cancel an e-Transfer, how long before I get my money back?

An e-Transfer can only be cancelled if it has not already been accepted, meaning automatic e-Transfers cannot be cancelled once sent and deposited. If the recipient has not yet accepted the transfer, it can be cancelled and reversed immediately. You should receive the money back just as fast as you sent it.  

Can e-Transfers expire? 

Yes, e-Transfers typically expire after 30 days. If you do not accept the transfer within this time frame, the funds will be deposited back into the sender’s account.  

Can I track my e-Transfer?

There’s no need to track an e-Transfer if your account is set up for auto deposits, since the funds will come through instantly. However, if your account is not set up to receive funds automatically, you may be able to find out the status of the transfer on the app depending on the bank. If you’re unsure, you can always contact customer service for further assistance.

Final Thoughts

Interac e-Transfers have become very popular among consumers who have mobile or online banking set up. Whether you’re the one sending or receiving money electronically, transferring funds through an e-Transfer makes the process very simple and secure.

Rating of 5/5 based on 2 votes.

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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