What Is an EFT Credit in Canada?

EFT is an electronic funds transfer.
Image Credit: Lyndon Stratford/iStock/GettyImages

If you see something on your bank account that says "EFT credit Canada," then you most likely have received money through an electronic funds transfer from the Canadian government or Canada Revenue Agency. This can range from unemployment and child credit payments to special benefits programs the government created in response to the pandemic. However, another organization or business could have also deposited money into your account for another reason. Thinking about recent transactions and applications and understanding current benefits programs can help you narrow down the source of the money.

Pandemic-Related Canadian EFT Credits

Some of the EFT credits from the Canadian government relate to newer benefits in response to COVID-19. They may also temporarily increase the money you receive in ongoing benefits programs. Some of these credits include:

  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit payment: Canada has started offering the CERB program to give $500 weekly payments to both regular workers and the self-employed if they've been impacted by COVID-19. If you apply and get approved, this program gives you as many as 16 weeks of benefits that you can see reflected as EFT credits on your bank account.
  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit payment: If COVID-19 has impacted your ability to find employment as a student or recent graduate, then you might see $1,250 or $2,000 payments every four weeks in your bank account. You will have needed to apply for the CESB program and not be able to partake in the regular unemployment or CERB programs.
  • Supplementary credit for Good and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax: If you got a sudden EFT credit of $400 or $600 in early April 2020, then you could have received the government's supplemental GST/HST credit in response to the pandemic. This usually goes to those with low incomes, and you should have received normal GST/HST credits previously too.

Other Ongoing Canadian EFT Credits

Other Canada EFT credits deal with ongoing regional or national credit and benefits programs that you may have applied for or automatically qualify for based on your tax situation. Some common examples of these EFT credits include:

  • Canada Child Benefit payment: If you have children under 18 for which you're responsible, you can get ongoing monthly benefits payments based on your income, marital status and children. You'll find that your CCB credit looks larger than usual in May 2020 due to the $300 extra benefit offered due to COVID-19.
  • GST/HST credit: Canada offers you some quarterly financial help on the goods and services taxes you pay if you meet the income guidelines. This quarterly EFT credit can include additional funds from related programs in your territory or province too.
  • Regular unemployment payments: If you've applied for regular unemployment benefits in Canada outside the pandemic program, then you can receive EFT credits from the government for anywhere between 14 and 45 weeks based on your location. The amount you'll see in your account depends on factors like your past earnings and the unemployment rate in your area.
  • Retirement payments: Monthly EFT credits can come from retirement programs for which you qualify. For example, these might be payments for Old Age Security benefits or a government pension plan.
  • Regional credits: You can also see other government EFT credits in Canada based on your region. For example, you could have received the Ontario Trillium Benefit that relates to energy, sales tax and property tax credits.

Figuring Out Non-Government EFT Credits

If the EFT credit didn't come from the Canadian government, consider whether any company or another organization might owe you a refund. Usually, these transactions will show up with the name of the associated business or organization, but you can contact your bank for more information on the source of such a transaction. You can then reach out to the company that sent the payment for more clarification.

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