Contactless ways to pay — and stay safe

COVID-19 is changing the way we conduct our everyday lives — even small things like using an ATM or paying with cash. Suddenly, even going into a grocery store to stock up can feel like a monumental experience.

Many essential businesses are limiting cash transactions — and some won’t accept cash at all. This is being done, along with social distancing, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But thanks to contactless payments, you don’t have to handle cash or touch payment terminals when you’re buying supplies.

Here are a few ways you can make contactless payments without coming into close contact with others and exposing yourself to health risks:

‘Tap’ near — but don’t touch

An ACU debit card with Interac Flash® allows you to ‘tap’ near the payment terminal for basic purchases up to $50 or gas and grocery purchases up to $100 (this capability is embedded in all new ACU debit cards). Note an added security measure of this feature is a cumulative limit of $200 for consecutive tap purchases, which hash been temporarily increased to $400 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s no need to touch any part of the terminal or enter a PIN — just bring your card close to the terminal until it recognizes the card. You can also make contactless payments with your ACU Collabria Visa credit card.

Related: Is cash old school? Try these electronic payment methods instead

Mobile payment services

Another option is to set up contactless payments through Apple Pay, Google Payor Samsung Payon your smartphone or smart device. No matter which smart device you use, whether it’s an iPhone, Pixel, Galaxy, Apple Watch or other smart wearable device, you can use it to make a payment whereverInteracFlash is accepted in Canada.

Instead of tapping your debit or credit card, bring your phone close enough near the terminal and use your fingerprint or enter the passcode on your device to authorize payments. You’ll hear the beep without having to make physical contact between your device and the payment terminal. (Don’t forget to also give your devices a wipe — even when you’re on the go — with a moist cloth, paper towel or disinfectant cloth once in a while to make sure you keep everything clean.)

Each of these mobile payment and digital wallet services are available to ACU members. Just download the app for your device and follow the quick instructions to securely connect your ACU card. Get started by following the steps for:

Related: Tips and tricks for using Apple Pay

Interac e-Transfer®

If you need to send a payment or lend a friend or family member money, forgo cash or cheque and go contactless. Likewise, when requesting or receiving money, you can do so quickly and safely with e-Transfers directly from your account.

ACU is temporarily offering up to 35 free e-Transfers per month on eligible chequing and savings accounts to reduce the use of cash during COVID-19. (Members will be billed $1 immediately after each e-Transfer and then rebated up to $35 of fees paid at the end of each month). With Interac® Autodeposit, you can even set your e-Transfers to auto-receive.

Online banking

There’s no need to handle cash to do your daily banking. You can continue to check account balances, transfer money between accounts, pay your bills and deposit cheques all from the comfort of your living room couch. Online banking allows you to do most of your regular banking functions from a personal computer or mobile device connected to the Internet.

Mobile apps

There are several free mobile apps you can use to manage your finances, such as Mint for money management and FOOi to securely send and receive money with no fees. And, as you might have expected by this point, using the ACU Mobile App allows you to securely check account balances, transfer funds, pay bills, deposit cheques and make e-Transfers from Apple, Android and BlackBerry devices.

Mobile cheque deposit

If you rely on physical cheques to get paid, this might be a good time to set up direct deposit with your employer. If that’s not possible, you can still avoid going outside and using an ATM by using Deposit Anywhere™. With ACU’s Mobile App, you can make a deposit by taking a photo of the front and back of the cheque (normal hold times still apply). It’s just as secure as depositing a cheque at a branch or ATM — and it’s free to use. Just make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling a physical cheque.

Other ways to stay safe

Aside from contactless payments, it’s also important to practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently (for no less than 20 seconds) and avoid touching your face. If you’re using your smartphone, laptop or PC — especially for payments outside of your home — remember to disinfect those electronics, too.

For the foreseeable future, we’ll all be continuing to learn ways to protect ourselves and others to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While this takes some adjustment, using contactless payments is an easy, convenient and secure way to protect your family and your community.

Stay safe ACU community!


About Vawn Himmelsbach

Vawn Himmelsbach is a freelance writer and editor. She has covered technology and travel for 15 years, for media outlets such as CBCNews.ca, The Globe & Mail, Metro News, ITBusiness, PCworld Canada and Computerworld Canada. She also spent three years living abroad and working as an Asian correspondent.

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