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Ways to Bank

Debit Card

Debit Card Features

  • Pay for purchases at point-of-sale (POS) terminals instead of using cash

  • Track your spending through your statements

  • Securely pay for purchases with chip technology and Interac® Debit contactless payments

  • Clients have access to thousands of surcharge-free ATMs in North America with THE EXCHANGE Network in Canada and the Allpoint Network in the US. Find an ATM near you.

  • Change your debit card PIN at any Alterna or ACCULINK® ATM, or nationwide at the EXCHANGE® Network ATMs*

  • Set daily spending limits on purchases, withdrawals and Interac® Debit contactless payments

Interac® Debit contactless payments

Interac® Debit contactless payments - a contactless payment feature of your Alterna Bank Debit Card. Pay for smaller purchases faster and easier. Using it is as easy as 1,2,3.

Step 1

Look for the Interac® Debit contactless payments logo on the Payment terminal

Step 2

Hold your Alterna Bank Debit Card to the payment terminal

Step 3

You will know your transaction has been completed when you see the "Approved" message

Open Transit Payment

Beginning in the spring/summer of 2021 Cities across Canada plan to modernize transit payments as part of efforts to improve mobility services broadly and make them more convenient and accessible for riders. Transit Open Payments or open payment fare systems provide the ability for riders to tap a payment card issued by their financial institution or a mobile wallet provisioned with FI-issued payment credentials at fare readers without the need to use a transit fare card or transit app in a mobile wallet. Interac is enabling the ability for a debit card or mobile wallet supported by Interac® Debit to be used for this purpose. To learn more about this exciting feature please click here.

Interac® Debit Contactless Payments

You've got questions.

We've got answers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Alterna’s debit cards have been called “Alterna Access Card” for some years. We simply carried the name over from the last version that was issued.

This new Access Card is your new debit card for accessing your accounts through ATMs or using for Interac Debit purchases. It replaces any old Alterna member or debit cards you may have, and should be activated immediately.

There are a couple of reasons why you need to start using your new Access card with chip as soon as you get it. One, chip technology is more secure against skimming and duplication than the outdated magnetic stripe cards. That said, it’s still up to you to be vigilant about protecting your PIN every time and everywhere you use your debit card, and don’t share your PIN with anyone. Two, it’s mandated by the Interac Association that Canadian financial institutions and ABMs will no longer accept magnetic stripe cards for transactions.

Simply lift or remove the card from the letter you received – the number is printed beneath it. You’ll then be able to compare it against what’s embossed on the card.

In most cases, your PIN has been transferred over to your new debit chip card. If the letter accompanying your card indicates that your PIN was sent separately, then you’ll receive your PIN in the mail. When you receive your PIN, simply call us to activate your new card.

Debit chip cards are being sent over a period of several weeks. If you haven’t received your debit chip card by October 26, please contact us or visit your local branch.

In most cases, your PIN has been transferred over to your new debit chip card, so you’ll be able to use the PIN you did previously. If the letter accompanying your card indicates that your PIN was sent separately, then you’ll receive your PIN in the mail. When you receive your PIN, simply call us to activate your new card.

For security purposes, most financial institutions no longer print names on debit cards.

Yes – the expiry date will be indicated on the card.

Debit cards with chip technology have an extra level of encryption security built in, making them more difficult to skim or duplicate. Debit chip cards work together with chip-enabled ATMs and point-of-sale terminals to validate both the card and the cardholder, providing you with increased protection against fraud. Always remember to be vigilant about protecting your PIN each and every time you use your card.

As microchip technology improves, the chips get smaller. Your new Alterna card with chip has state-of-the-art technology packed into a smaller microchip.

Chip cards will continue to have a magnetic stripe to facilitate the chip transition period, plus the magnetic stripe will allow you to conduct business in other countries that don’t currently use chip technology.

We’ve been notified that our chip cards won’t activate at Manulife ATMs, however, once the card has been activated/used at other ATMs or point-of-sale devices, they are accepted at the Manulife machines. Please activate your card by using it at any Alterna ATM, another ATM that's part of THE EXCHANGE® or Interac® networks, or use it at any point-of-sale terminal to make a purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions

You should choose to designate a specific chequing sub account to be the default account for completing Interac® Debit contactless transactions. This is especially recommended for transactions posted outside of Canada.

If no default account is selected for Interac® Debit contactless payments, the account that is debited for Interac® Debit contactless payments, will be your first available chequing account. If you do not have a chequing account then the next available savings account will be debited.

If you wish to change your default account you can call the Contact Centre or visit your branch.

Interac® Debit Contactless Payments enabled Alterna Bank Debit Cards are available to Alterna Bank customers. If you’re new to Alterna Bank, your Interac® Debit Contactless Payments enabled Debit Card will be mailed to you shortly after completing your online application. If you have an older Debit Card, you’ll need to call the Alterna Bank Contact Centre to exchange your card.

The first time that you pay for a purchase with your Alterna Bank Debit card using Interac® Debit Contactless Payments, you will be prompted to enter your PIN. This will start the start the counter at $0 for the $200 limit.

If the amount of your purchase exceeds the Interac® Debit Contactless Payments transaction limit for that particular merchant, then you’ll be prompted by the payment terminal to insert your card and enter your PIN. You’ll also be asked to insert your card and enter your PIN once your cumulative spend limit of $200 is reached.

Yes. For your protection there is a transaction limit of up to $250 per purchase made using Interac® Debit Contactless Payments. If your purchase is above this limit, you will be prompted to insert your Alterna Bank Debit Card and enter your PIN.

As an added layer of protection, there is also a cumulative spend limit of $400 for Interac® Debit Contactless Payments transactions. This is the sum of all contactless transactions made with your card since the last time you entered your PIN. When this limit is reached, you will be asked to insert your Alterna Bank Debit Card and enter your PIN. This will reset your limit so you can continue to use Interac® Debit Contactless Payments.

No. In order to make the change you need to complete 3 consecutive Point of Sale (POS) contact transactions. The contact (pinned) transactions can be completed at different terminals but must be a contact transaction (requiring PIN entry). If a contactless transaction is performed, you will not be prompted to enter your card which is why we are advising you to complete the 3 consecutive POS contact transactions.

Once the 3 consecutive POS transactions have been completed, the contactless limits on the cards will be updated.

No, new debit cards issued after December 2nd, 2020 will still need to follow the steps outlined above to increase the FLASH limit to $250.

Good news! There are no additional fees for using this convenient service.

Yes, merchants will provide receipts for Interac® Debit Contactless Payments transactions like they do for regular Interac Debit transactions.

Yes! Interac® Debit Contactless Payments uses secure chip processing to protect against skimming, counterfeiting and electronic pick-pocketing. Interac® Debit Contactless Payments also uses RF (Radio Frequency) enabled smartcard technology, which is more secure than RFID (typically used for inventory management). 

These features, along with the Interac® Debit Contactless Payments tap limits and the need to enter your PIN when the limits are reached make this a very secure solution. Additionally transactions are covered by Interac Zero Liability, which protects you against unauthorized activity on your accounts.

The great thing is you’ll have your choice! Interac® Debit Contactless Payments is a safe and convenient optional feature that can be enabled or disabled any time. You can choose to use this feature, or you can insert/swipe your card, and enter your PIN as you did before.

*Always be vigilant about protecting your PIN to prevent unauthorized activity

**Available to personal and individual business members (sole proprietors) only

Interac Flash® is a registered trademark of Interac Inc. used under license. To learn more, visit interac.ca.

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