I understand trepidation for using new technologies, but e-Transfers are very handy and have been around for a long time.
Interac, a Canadian interbank network that serves as the Canadian debit card system, has been around since 1984. They launched additional services, including e-Transfers, back in 1996.
The best description of e-Transfer comes straight from Interac’s FAQ: Interac e-Transfer is a fast, secure and convenient way to send money to anyone in Canada from within the security of your online banking service. It uses email or text messaging for fast notification to the recipient that a transfer has been sent, while the participating financial institutions transfer the funds using established and secure banking procedures.
All you need is a bank account with online access, an email address, and the email address or mobile phone number of the person you are sending money to. You initiate the e-Transfer either from your bank’s website, or from your bank’s app. If the recipient has enabled auto-deposit, it may automatically be deposited for them; otherwise, you may need to share a security question/answer for the deposit to be completed.
If prompted to create a security question/answer, make it a good one: something sufficiently long and complex so that 99% of people couldn’t guess it, and something the recipient either knows, or you can tell them with a method other than email/text.
e-Transfers are handy for sending money to businesses, friends, and family. The transfer limits are high (typically, it’s your client card’s daily access limit), the fees are low (or free), and the process is very fast and secure. When sending money to a business, you should probably ask what email address to send it to; but for person-to-person transfers, it’s pretty safe to assume you can send it to their regular email address or mobile number. If you accidentally send an e-Transfer to a landline, or the recipient gets the security answer wrong too many times, you may be informed that the transfer notification could not be delivered. It’s easy to cancel or redo e-Transfers in case of unforeseen issues.
And yes, it is very safe and secure.