VANCOUVER, B.C. (12/8/10)--Two credit unions are the first Canadian financial institutions to launch a payment system allowing users to securely send or receive money directly between financial institution accounts on their smartphones or computer. Central 1, which provides the e-mail and mobile platforms--has partnered with British Columbia's Prospera CU and Teachers CU of Ontario to launch Interac e-Transfer. The partnership is the first step in making person-to-person payments widely available across financial institutions. "Canadians have traditionally been eager to adopt new technology and there are already 22 million wireless subscribers in Canada," said Oscar van der Meer, chief technology officer for Central 1, the central financial facility and trade association for British Columbia and Ontario credit union systems. "This is the logical evolution of mobile banking, and as more retailers and financial institutions adopt mobile payments, the potential impact for consumers is virtually limitless," he added. Seventeen percent of Canada's credit union members have access to mobile Web banking, said Central 1. In addition, 18% of members have access to e-mail money transfers and 45% to mobile SMS text banking. Roughly 70% of Canadians nationwide use a mobile phone and 34% of those are smartphones such as a BlackBerry or iPhone. Interac e-Transfer simplifies the direct transfer of funds. The feature was previously known as Interac E-mail Money Transfer and was limited to sending funds between bank accounts using e-mail. Transfer notifications can now be sent either from computer to smartphone or from smartphone to smartphone in real-time. Other transfer solutions may take several days to complete a transfer and involve a stored value account.