AFT Enhancements

Faster, more flexible payments for financial institutions & businesses

Automated Funds Transfer (AFT), or batch payments, move roughly 1.7 billion payments in Canada every year and represent the greatest value of payments in the retail payments system. Around the world, batch payments remain a staple of most modern payments systems  because they are convenient and efficient option for important transactions like payroll, bill payments, business-to-business and business-to-consumer payments.

As part of its multi-year Modernization program, Payments Canada is enhancing AFT to enable new features like same-day payroll, expedited bill payments, faster settlement of invoices, and to help Canadians move away from paper and cheques.

As outlined in our Roadmap & High-Level Plan, the enhancements to AFT will be the first major change in the Modernization journey. 

These improvements will keep Canada up-to-speed with countries around the world, help our businesses compete on the global stage, and offer greater choice to the marketplace.

Timeline and status

Better business payments, like payroll and bill payments

  • Ability to make last minute, time-sensitive payments
  • More frequent daily exchanges, meaning faster funds availability
  • Introduction of a third daily exchange window, increasing convenience for Western Canada
  • Data-rich payments will streamline reconciliation and enable straight-through processing
  • Ability to exchange same-day AFT payments introduces new business opportunities

Changes for financial institutions

As a Direct Clearer (DCs)

  • In Fall 2018, a new, later exchange window will be added. By moving to three daily exchanges, DCs can exchange much later in the day.

  • All DCs will be required to provide funds within the same day, meaning faster processing and, ultimately, improved service offerings for customers.

As an Indirect Clearer (ICs)

  • ICs who have the capability will have the option to identify branches as Serviceability Code “0” following the implementation of the three daily exchanges in Fall 2018.
    • This will reduce processing time, and can allow for IC clients and their customers to potentially receive their funds in the same day.
  • With the move to three exchanges and, in particular, the addition of an evening exchange, some of the timing for existing daily activities could shift. ICs are encouraged to reach out to their Clearing Agents to discuss how these changes might impact the existing processes.


For more information on AFT Enhancements, check out the resources below.

Questions and comments related to the AFT Enhancements can be directed to