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Open Banking Delayed. Real-Time-Rail Explained.

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

Payments Canada made the decision to push back the launch of the new Real-Time-Rail (RTR) payment system to an undefined date, slowing down the rollout of open banking in Canada. The original launch of RTR in Canada was set for 2022 and subsequently pushed to mid 2023 until being postponed indefinitely last week.

According to BetaKit, more than 54 countries globally already use a similar system. Payments Canada has been working on modernizing its system since 2015, consulting with more than 100 organizations within the payments ecosystem but has not committed to the rollout of the RTR.

What is Real-Time-Rail (RTR)

Once released, Real-Time Rail is set to become a national payments processing system that will enable fast, data-rich payments — giving governments and businesses of all sizes the ability to move meaningful sums of money instantly and with certainty.

Leveraging the technology behind the Interac e-Transfer service, the RTR will provide Canadian businesses with new digital payment tools to simplify bill payments, invoicing and money transfers. The Real-Time-Rail system is designed to eliminate manual reconciliation by enabling data-rich payments, such as including an invoice directly in a payment.

Features of the RTR for businesses

Automated Invoicing and Payment A large corporate would fully automate its invoicing processes from the disbursement of invoices, to the release of finances, to reconciliation against invoices.

Expedited Business Payments

A business seeking to expedite important payments prior to the end of business day would be able to finalize a transaction within 60 seconds

Paying Multiple Supplier Invoices A small business owner could pay multiple invoices to suppliers using a single electronic payment, including information from each invoice in the same payment message. This would eliminate the need to send and reconcile multiple payments.


A corporation would be able to distribute compensation, payroll, bonuses, and expense reimbursements to its employees and contractors faster, giving it more flexibility around how it manages payment cycles.

Data-Rich Payments A small business could pay its employees, including information from the employees’ pay stubs with the payment.

Real-Time Sales Tax Tracking

A business owner could make sales and purchases, including sales tax information in the payment, making tax remittance more accurate and less prone to manual error.

Real-Time Payment Upon Confirmation of Delivery A retailer would make a real-time payment to their supplier upon successful delivery of fragile or perishable goods, avoiding the need to make a prepayment and deal with refunds in the case of broken or perished goods.

Control Over Payments Funds would be available faster and would enable a small business to shorten their ordering and payment cycles, improving productivity and cash management. For example, a small business could get paid immediately for goods sold on their website.

Save Cost on Real-Time Payments A small business could make a relatively small, urgent payment to a supplier without having to worry about high wire transfer fees or transaction limits.

Improved Cash Management A small business owner could better manage their cash flow due to increased payment processing speed and predictability.

Potential for Innovation Fintechs and innovators could develop creative new real-time payments products and services.

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