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Privacy & Security


Our Privacy Policy

Meridian is dedicated to protecting your privacy and your personal, business and financial information.  We carefully follow privacy policies and security practices in everything we do, to support our commitment to you.

Our Privacy Principles describe how we collect and use client information, how it may be shared and with whom, our security practices and your choices. We will not collect, use or disclose your personal information without your consent, except where required by law or sell your personal information to third parties.

Contact Our Privacy Officer

Meridian Contact Centre, Toll-Free 
1-866-592-2226 (request the “Privacy Officer”)
Fax 905-988-1521

Mail
Meridian, Attention: Privacy Officer
3280 Bloor Street West
Centre Tower, Suite 2700
Toronto, ON, M8X 2X3 

Email: privacyofficer@meridiancu.ca
Online Comment Card: www.meridiancu.ca/giveusyourfeedback

  • Our Privacy Principles
    We are committed to protecting your privacy and your right to control the collection, use and disclosure of your personal information. 
     
    • Accountability: We have designated a Privacy Officer who is responsible for overall privacy governance and all employees are accountable for compliance to these principles.
    • What information we collect:  Before or at the time we ask you for personal information, we will identify the purposes for which it will be used or disclosed.  We may ask for information about your identity, transactions, your application, financial behaviour, or other details particular to the product or service.
    • Your consent, your choice: You are always in control of your personal information. We require your knowledge and consent for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information.  The collection of personal information is limited to only the purposes we’ve identified to you.  We will only use or disclose your personal information with your consent (or as required by law). And we will only retain your information as long as necessary to fulfill identified purposes.
    • Keeping your information accurate:  We do our best to ensure the information we have about you is accurate and complete.  As we make decisions based on the information we have, we encourage you to help us keep your information current.
    • Keeping your information safe:   We will protect your personal information with appropriate security safeguards whether online, in-branch, on the phone or in person. 
    • Being open: We will make specific, understandable information readily available to you about our personal information policies and practices. You are entitled to question the Meridian Privacy Officer about our compliance with any of these principles.
    • Your right to access your personal information:  When you require it, we will give you access to the existence, use, and disclosure of your information. You are entitled to question its accuracy, completeness, and its uses. We obtain personal information about you to establish and verify your identity, better understand your needs, assess your suitability and eligibility for products and services, recommend other products and services, to provide on-going service, detect fraud to both you and the credit for collection purposes or compliance with legal requirements. We keep this information only for as long as it is needed for the purposes described above, even if you cease to be a Member.
    • When we request personal information from you, we explain why we need it. For example, when you open an account we need , your name and address in order to provide you with regular account statements. When you apply for credit-related products, we need information about your financial situation in order to make sound credit-granting decisions, both for you and for us. If you open an interest-bearing account or an RRSP or other registered product,  by law and for income tax reporting purposes we’re required to ask for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) by law.
    • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) is optional. We ask for your Social Insurance Number for income tax reporting required by law, and administrative purposes, such as ensuring:
      • an accurate match between your personal information and your credit bureau information when applying for products and services
      • the accuracy and integrity of your personal information by using your SIN as a unique identifier for you

    Giving us your Social Insurance Number is voluntary. If you provide your SIN, we will take this as your express consent to use it for the purposes described above. If you choose not to give us your SIN, this by itself will not prevent you from getting credit; however, it may prevent us from providing products where your SIN is required by law (e.g., interest-bearing accounts or registered investments).
     
    • Credit Bureaus: When you apply for credit-related products and services, we get your written consent to obtain credit reports about you. Once we have granted you credit, we are required by the terms of contractual agreements with the credit bureaus to supply regular, current information on the status of loans or credit in order to maintain accuracy, completeness and integrity of information. We do not disclose more than is required, nor for periods longer than required.
    • You can give or withdraw your consent. We need to get your express or implied consent before obtaining or using information about you, or disclosing this information to anyone else except when required by law. When you ask us to provide a product or service, we’ll take this as your consent to collect and use the information necessary to deliver you that product or service. You can withdraw consent whenever you want, unless legal requirements prevent this. However, this may impede our ability to offer you products and services. .  To opt-out of solicitation, please contact us at 1-866-592-2226, visit your local branch  or email the Privacy Office below.


    Meridian Contact Centre, Toll-Free 
    1-866-592-2226 (request the “Privacy Officer”)
    Fax 905-988-1521

    Mail
    Meridian, Attention: Privacy Officer
    3280 Bloor Street West
    Centre Tower, Suite 2700
    Toronto, ON, M8X 2X3 

    Email: privacyofficer@meridiancu.ca
    Online Comment Card: www.meridiancu.ca/giveusyourfeedback

  • Your Online Privacy

    Meridian offers you a variety of ways to bank and interact with us online. Our digital channels offer you control and convenience as well as access to our digital services

    Digital banking provides convenient access to information and the ability to perform transactions from home, work or other locations. It is important to be aware that when you communicate via the Internet, other people and software can also communicate with your computer. An inadequately protected computer can be accessed by an unknown party or a virus in a very short period of time.

    What we are doing to protect your security

    Meridian Online Banking offers you the best security currently available in a commercial environment so that your personal and financial information is protected while in transit between your computer and our server. This is done through the use of industry standard security techniques:

    • In addition to encrypted passwords, Meridian’s Online Banking services offer enhanced security features, including the use of challenge questions, to help you identify that you are accessing Meridian’s Online Banking site (and not a fraudulent site masked to appear as the legitimate online banking site). You will be asked to answer one of your personal challenge questions if you sign in to Meridian’s Online Banking or Mobile Banking App from a computer or mobile device that you have not previously registered as ‘trusted’.
    • Encryption ensures that information cannot be read in transit or changed by scrambling the data using a complex mathematical formula. Some browsers can create a more secure channel than others, owing to the 'strength' of their encryption. Meridian uses the strongest channel available - referred to as 128-bit SSL (Secure Socket Layer). If you have a browser that only supports 'weaker' encryption such as 40-bit or 56-bit SSL, you will need to upgrade your browser before using our site. The longer and more complex the 'key' is, the stronger the encryption. The 40 and 128 refer to the length of the key. Since 128 is longer, than 40, it is more secure.
    • Use of robust and multi-layered security of servers and applications, multiple layers of internal and external firewalls which protect Meridian’s online environments.
    • Regular reviews of our security practices and technology updates as well as regular reviews to ensure our security and privacy policies and standards reflect our industry leading position.
    • Access to our databases is strictly managed and systems are in place to ensure security is not breached, including the physical security of our computer hardware and communications.
    • Automatic session terminations - To help you protect your information, if there has been no activity for 15 minutes, you will be prompted that your session will be terminated and have the option to continue with your session, if not replied to within 5 minutes; your online banking session will end automatically.


    What you need to do to protect your computer and password

    Protecting your password and answers to your secondary challenge questions.
    Just as you play a vital role in ensuring the security of your home and your possessions, you too share in the responsibility for ensuring that your personal information is adequately protected. In order for us to ensure that only you are accessing your accounts, we need a unique way of knowing that it's you. Just as the key to your home protects unwanted entry, the online banking 'key' - your password and your secondary challenge questions - ensures that only you can access your accounts.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that your 'key' to Meridian Online Banking is protected. Please observe the following security practices:

    • Select a password that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess.
    • Select your security questions that only you know the answer to.
    • Select your security image and phrase that is easy to remember and meaningful.
    • Do not select a part of your PIN (your ABM 'key') or another password.
    • Keep your password and secondary challenge answers confidential - do not share.
    • Do not write your password down or store it in a file on your computer.
    • Never disclose your password to anyone for any reason. Ensure no one watches you type in your password.
    • Change your password regularly. We suggest every 90-120 days.
    • Members are reminded that any password that has been in use prior to March 2012 will be required to follow new requirements the next time their password is reset.


    Protecting your computer

    • Never leave your computer unattended while using banking services.
    • Always exit the Meridian Online Banking using the logout button and close your browser if you step away from your computer. Your browser may retain information you entered in the login screen and elsewhere until you exit the browser.
    • Prevention of Browser Caching (storing of pages) is enabled by default when using Meridian Online Banking. This prevents secure pages and page information from being stored on your personal computer. It is also a beneficial security feature if you are accessing the site from a shared computer, such as at a friend's house or through a publicly-accessible computer, such as at a library or airport.
    • Secure or erase files stored on your computer by your browser so others cannot read them. Most browsers store information in non-protected (unencrypted) files in the browser's cache to improve performance. These files remain there until erased. They can be erased using standard computer utilities or by using your browser feature to "empty" the cache.
    • Disable automatic password-save features in the browsers and software you use to access the Internet.
    • Install and use a quality anti-virus program. As new viruses are created each and every day, be sure to update your anti-virus program often. It is recommended you update anti-virus definitions automatically. Scan all download files, programs, disks and attachments and only accept files and programs from a trusted source.
    • Install and configure a personal firewall on your computer to ensure others cannot access your computer through the Internet.
    • Install new security patches as soon as your operating system and Internet browser manufacturers make them available.


    Protecting your information when using a public computer

    You should be extra vigilant when using publicly available computers. Even if you adopt the tips above to protect your information, you need to bear in mind that even benign programs, like popular desktop search programs, can pose a security risk. Certain programs, such as Google Desktop, cache items that you have viewed so an unwelcome third party can easily search and find those pages again later.
    To ensure a safe and secure Internet session, only visit reputable sites. If you visit any questionable web site before Meridian Online Banking, we recommend you close your browser and restart it before proceeding to Meridian Online Banking.


    Fraud: Recognize it. Report it. Stop it.

    Electronic identity theft can occur when you respond to a fraudulent email that asks for your personal banking information (This is called Phishing). Armed with this information, a person may be able to access your accounts or establish credit, pay for items or borrow money using your name. For this reason, Meridian uses different methods to help you confirm the Meridian Online Banking site is legitimate and secure. These include the selection of a unique personal image, challenge questions and answers and a unique personal code.


    Safety precautions for online banking

    We will never ask you for your personal passwords, personal information numbers or login information in an email.
    If you receive such an email:
    • Do not click on any links contained in the email or reply to it;
    • Immediately report receiving the email to Meridian at 1-866-592-2226 or your branch
    • Delete the email once reported.
    • Check the address of any webpages that ask you to enter personal account information. In the toolbar at the top of the page any legitimate banking web site will begin with 'https' to indicate that the page is secure.
    • Look for the padlock found in the lower right corner of your screen. If the webpage is legitimate, by clicking on the padlock, you can view the security certificate details for the site. A fraudulent site will not have these details.
    • Type in our web address yourself to ensure you are transacting with our server.
    • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.


    By working together, we can defend potential online information security threats.  Contact Meridian at 1-866-592-2226 immediately if you suspect someone has gained knowledge of your password or if you suspect any loss, theft or unauthorized use of your account.

  • 100% Security Guarantee

    We use world-class encryption security

    Security that’s the equal of any financial institution in Canada. But the true test is this.

    We’re so confident in our online security that any unauthorized transactions will be reimbursed completely. 100%. Guaranteed.

    Of course, in order to take advantage of a guarantee like that, you need to do your part as well. Mostly common-sense things, like the following:

    • Keep your password and security questions confidential

    • Don’t store your password and Member Number together

    • Contact Meridian immediately if you’ve noticed suspicious activity, and make sure that you comply with terms set forth in your account agreements

    • Always log out of your Online Banking session and make sure you’re using up-to-date anti-virus software

     
    If you take care of those things, we’ve got your back the rest of the way.

    If you’d like more information on agreements, please view the Electronic Services Agreement, or you can refer to your Personal Membership Agreement.

  • Email and Text Message Fraud - Phishing

    Phishing

    Phishing is a scheme that uses fraudulent email, web pages and text messages to gather personal, financial and sensitive information for the purpose of identity theft. Most commonly, users receive spam email (mass email messaging), text messages and pop-up windows that appear to come from legitimate businesses. People have been tricked by these deceptive solicitations into sharing passwords, social insurance, credit card and bank account numbers.

    How phishing works

    Phishing emails and text messages are sent to many recipients and appear to come from legitimate businesses, sometimes even duplicating legitimate logos and text. Within a phishing email, you may be requested to click on a link that takes you to a fraudulent site or pop-up window where you are asked to submit personal and financial information. A phishing text message may request that you send personal information back to the sender through text message or call a phone number.

    In order to increase the chances of a response, messages may imply a sense of urgency or an immediate risk to bank accounts or credit cards if you fail to answer. Special offers and prizes may also be promoted as incentives.

    Phishers can access your accounts using your passwords and other information to withdraw money or make purchases. Personal information can also be used by phishers to open new bank or credit card accounts in your name.

    Have a concern about email or text message fraud? Email us at:  OnlineBankingSecurity@meridiancu.ca.

  • Browser Requirements

    Security starts with your web browser

    You can protect yourself online by using an up-to-date browser with the most recent security updates. To ensure the security of Meridian Online Banking, we support the following browsers that use 128-bit encryption. Select one of the links below if you need to update your browser to the latest versions of:

    Microsoft Internet Explorer

    Mozilla Firefox

    Apple Safari

    Google Chrome

    • Supported operating systems include Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.
    • Our website is responsive and accessible on mobile or tablet.
    • You should have JavaScript enabled on your browser to use Meridian web properties. We use JavaScript to make our websites easier to use.
    • The Meridian Mobile Pay app is supported on the Android platform. 
  • Debit and Credit Card Fraud

    Debit Card Fraud

    Debit Card Fraud occurs when the information contained on your debit card is stolen and used to obtain funds from your account without your authorization. Card reading devices are used to obtain the electronic data from the magnetic stripe on your card, and hidden cameras or false PIN pads are used to obtain your personal access code.  Please protect your PIN.

    How chip technology is different

    Chip technology uses an embedded microchip to encrypt information, making it more difficult for unauthorized users to copy or access the data on the card. The move to chip-enabled card technology is the latest innovation in an evolving card payment environment. Chip technology is tested, proven and in wide use around the world, and chip-enabled cards are the new global standard for enhanced safety and security.

    Fraud and Debit Card safety

    Protecting members from potential losses as a result of financial crime is very important to Meridian. We communicate and work with law enforcement agencies, the INTERAC Association, the Canadian Bankers Association and other financial institutions on an ongoing basis to protect our clients from financial fraud. But, despite our best efforts to prevent fraud, it does occur.

    What Meridian is doing to ensure debit card safety

    While INTERAC shared services are among the most secure in the world, debit card fraud can still occur. As a member of the INTERAC Association, Meridian is committed to helping protect our clients from debit card fraud.  We are also on THE EXCHANGE network, which places a high priority on security as well as being the only surcharge free ATM network in Canada.

    We continue to make a significant investment in security, and training experts who are constantly monitoring suspicious incidents as they relate to debit cards. We are often able to deactivate debit cards before fraudulent use.

    Credit Card Fraud

    Meridian helps to protect you from unauthorized use of your credit card. We communicate and work with law enforcement agencies, MasterCard, INTERAC, THE EXCHANGE NETWORK, Credit Reporting Agencies and other financial institutions on an ongoing basis to protect you from credit card fraud. Please remember you still need to take precautions to reduce your risk of becoming a fraud victim.

    Types of credit card fraud

    • Counterfeit: duplicating legitimate credit cards which are then used for fraudulent activities
    • Card Not Present: unauthorized usage of credit card information for fraudulent activities over the internet, phone or mail
    • Lost/Stolen: unauthorized usage of a credit card as a result of it being lost or stolen
    • Identity Theft: obtaining personal or financial information of another person for the purpose of assuming that person's name to engage in fraudulent activities


    What Meridian is doing to ensure credit card safety

    While a Meridian credit card is generally a secure payment method, credit card fraud can still occur. As a MasterCard member, Meridian is committed to helping protect our members from credit card fraud.

    In many cases, Meridian is able to proactively identify unusual transactions that could indicate fraudulent activities on a credit card. For instance, we may request a merchant to call us for verification that it is you, the legitimate cardholder, conducting the transaction.

    Protect yourself

    Here are some precautions you can take to safeguard yourself and avoid becoming a victim of card fraud:

    • Shield your PIN from onlookers when conducting transactions
    • Never let your debit or credit card out of your sight
    • Take your card and transaction record with you once your transaction is completed
    • Check your billing accounts to verify all transactions are correct. If entries do not match transaction activity, please call Meridian at 1-866-592-2226. If your debit card is lost, stolen or retained by a bank machine, notify a Meridian branch or call Meridian at 1-866-592-2226
    • Never disclose your PIN to anyone or you could be liable for losses. You are the only person who should know it
    • Memorize your PIN. If you suspect that someone knows your PIN, change it immediately or notify a Meridian branch or call Meridian at 1-866-592-2226
    • You could be liable for losses if you create your PIN or Password by using easily guessed numbers such as your telephone number, date of birth, address or social insurance number
    • Sign your credit or debit card on the signature panel immediately
    • Never give credit card or personal information over the phone, unless you have initiated the call and you have verified you are dealing with a reputable merchant
    • Report lost or stolen credit cards to Meridian immediately at 1-866-592-2226
    • If you receive a message from Meridian regarding a potential fraud situation, contact us immediately


    Have a question or concern about debit or credit card fraud? Email us at allfraud@meridiancu.ca

  • Identity Fraud and Theft

    Identity fraud is the stealing of personal information and then using it illegally

    If you think you are a victim of identity fraud and are a member, call Meridian immediately at 1-866-592-2226

    Thieves might get documents from your trash, steal your purse or wallet, gather information that you have posted on the Internet, change your address with creditors and apply for new loans or credit cards in your name. You may not be aware of this until months or years have passed.

    Protect your personal information: Do not give account or card number information to anyone, whether in person, over the phone or online, unless you are confident to do so. Do not carry your Social Insurance Number card in your wallet unless it is necessary.

    Memorize your passwords and bank machine Personal Identification Number (PIN): Don't write down your bank machine Personal Identification Number (PIN) or your online banking password. If you must write these down, keep them in a safe place and do not carry them in your wallet or purse. Never give this information to anyone, even a Meridian employee. Our employees will never ask members for this information, so be suspicious of anyone asking for it

    Keep your Personal Verification Question (PVQ) answers confidential: Do not share your Personal Verification Question (PVQ) answers with anyone, and do not disclose them in any e-mails. Giving your PVQ answers to another person or company places your finances and privacy at risk. Meridian will never request this information.

    Report thefts and losses immediately: If your wallet or purse is lost or stolen, call Meridian at 1-866-592-2226 to block your accounts and cards from use. Shred or tear up junk mail and statements: If you don't want mail offers, tear them up or shred them. Identity fraud often occurs by thieves going through trash for this. As well, tear up or shred any personal information such as receipts that show your card numbers or bank statements.

    Review your account statements: Report suspicious transactions immediately to Meridian at 1-866-592-2226Review your credit report: At least once each year, contact a credit bureau to check the accuracy of your credit report.

    Protect your Personal Identification Number (PIN): When entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at a bank machine or debit terminal, position yourself to block others from observing you enter your PIN. Stay alert.

    Protect your credit cards: Sign credit cards as soon as you receive them. Cancel inactive cards and don't lend your credit cards.

    Practice safe computing: Installing up-to

    How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft: Identity thieves are criminals that will learn and use your personal information to access your financial accounts. Checking your accounts regularly and using the following tips will help keep your banking experience as secure as possible.

    Updating anti-virus/spyware software and a firewall on your computer will help keep your Meridian Online Banking safe.


    Have a question or concern about fraud? Email us at allfraud@meridiancu.ca

  • Other Financial Crime

    Cheque Fraud

    Cheque fraud is the most common financial crime and account for billions of payments each year, making them a prime target. Counterfeit cheques are not written or authorized by legitimate account holder. Forged cheques are not signed by account holder while an altered cheque has been intercepted and the payee and/or the amount have been altered.
    Try to focus on electronic payments such as wire payments, direct deposit and pre-authorized payments, it’s harder work for the criminals. Keep any cheques in a secure location, this is common item thieves will look for during a burglary. Destroy unused cheques right away and review  statements as soon as you get them. When laser-printing cheques, use cheque paper with the permanent toner to permanently bond ink.

    Moving Money for Strangers

    Criminals want you to do their banking. If they earn your trust, they'll use your account to cash phony cheques, collect money from other accounts, and move stolen money offshore. They use a variety of schemes to convince you that they're legitimate. Some will even give you money to earn your trust. By accepting and re-directing electronic deposits (such as wire transfers), you could be participating in a money-laundering scheme if those deposits were proceeds of a fraud or other criminal activity. The stories vary, but the results are the same: fraud and financial loss.

    Think about these common criminal activities:

    You win the lottery
    • A criminal tells you you've won a lottery, but taxes need to be paid first. If you're unable to pay the fee on your own, you may be offered financing from someone else (who is involved in the scheme). You receive a cheque to cover the taxes and then wire the money to cover the taxes. Afterward, you learn that the original cheque was fraudulent and that you're responsible for the losses.
    Oops, I overpayed
    • The criminal buys something from you and overpays for the item. After you refund the difference, you learn that the original payment was fraudulent and the charges have been reversed.
    Earn money From home
    • A job offer involves receiving funds into your bank account and then transferring a portion of the collected funds on to another account. After transferring the funds, you learn the original transaction has been reversed.
    The man from the ‘government’
    • A criminal tells you they are a government official from another country, and that they need your help getting funds out of the country. You receive monies and then forward them. Like the above cases, the original deposit is fraudulent and you're liable for the amount forwarded.
    Your phony inheritance
    • A relative you never met has left you money in their will. But you need to pay service fees before receiving the funds. Like the other examples above, this scam can leave you on the hook for significant financial losses.


    Minimize the risk

    • Never conduct financial transactions on behalf of strangers
    • Be wary of any offer that sounds too good to refuse
    • Cheques and other deposits can be reversed long after funds have cleared
    • Never wire funds until the legitimacy of the cheque or electronic deposit is confirmed
    • If you suspect a cheque may be fraudulent, we recommend that you have the cheque certified at the issuing bank (the bank which appears on the cheque)


    If you suspect fraud is happening to you, contact Meridian at 1-866-592-2226 immediately.

    Beware of Requests to Change a Supplier's Banking and/or Mailing Details

    A fraudster may contact a business and say that the supplier's address and banking information have changed. They request that all future payments for this supplier be sent to this new bank account and/or mailing address. This is what it looks like:

    • A false fax designed to look like a legitimate fax from the actual supplier
    • An e-mail from a fake e-mail account, claiming to originate from the actual supplier
    • They call an individual in Accounts Payable with the request, and follow up with a false fax or e-mail, as described above

    It is prudent for all businesses to be aware of such scams and consider implementing protective measures. Always make a return call to a trusted contact person at the supplier to validate if this request is legitimate Remember: Do not advise the individual making the request that the validation call will be made; do not use any new telephone number(s) provided by the individual making the request

    Avoiding Internet Stock Fraud

    Although the Internet is an excellent tool for investors to easily and inexpensively conduct research on companies of interest, it is also an efficient means of spreading fraudulent investment opportunities and artificially inflating the price of thinly traded securities.

    Information that appears on a computer is not necessarily true. Messages from experienced fraudsters often look very professional and may appear to be legitimate investment opportunities. You should never make an investment based solely on the content of an online newsletter, bulletin board or mass e-mail.

    Securities regulations and the Internet

    In Canada, among other countries, securities can be distributed to the public only after the regulators have vetted the company's prospectus. The failure of companies, dealers or advisors to comply with regulations should be a red flag that alerts you to a potential scam.  You can check a person's registration by contacting your securities regulator.
    Some simple precautions can keep you from becoming a victim of Internet investment fraud:

    Don't believe everything you read

    • Think critically about the information you get online, exercise healthy skepticism and remember there is no such thing as inside information - if it's true, it's illegal to divulge for trading purposes - if it's false, it has no value beyond hype.


    Telephone Fraud

    The telephone has long been used by criminals to make calls and pretend to be someone else.  Now, with advances in technology it is possible for these criminals to make fraudulent calls and have the call display show a legitimate bank or credit card contact information.
    If you receive an unsolicited telephone call from someone claiming to be from a bank or credit card company, here are some quick tips to help determine if the call is legitimate:

    • Meridian will ask a limited number of basic questions at the start of the call to verify your identity. If you feel the questions are too personal or the call is making you uncomfortable, we recommend that you end the call and call us using the number on the back of your credit or debit card
    • Meridian will not ask you to disclose your PIN or passwords to an agent on the telephone.  We will never ask you to withdraw money or perform any financial transaction to help in a fraud or internal investigation of any kind


    When Meridian will call you

    We call about unusual activity on your account or in response to a request you initiated and may also call about new products and services.

  • Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
    The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is a new international standard  for the automatic exchange of financial account information between tax administrations to better fight tax evasion and improve tax compliance. Financial institutions (FIs) including Meridian have new obligations that will facilitate the automatic exchange of tax information between countries. Canadian FIs are required to implement CRS legislation effective July 1, 2017. At a high level, the CRS calls on FIs to perform the following activities:
     
    • Identify Members whose “reportable accounts” and/or transactions fall under the purview of the regime and obtain additional KYC information, e.g., foreign Tax Information Number (TIN);
     
    • Annually report to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the financial accounts held by non-resident individuals and entities, or certain entities controlled by non-resident individuals. The CRA will share the financial account information with other countries tax administrations that it has an agreement with.
  • CRS FAQs
    Note: The information below is provided only as an overview for information purposes; it is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice. Please consult an advisor if you require such advice.
    1. What is the Common Reporting Standard?
    The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is a new international standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information between tax administrations to use in fighting tax evasion and to promote voluntary compliance with tax laws. Canada and close to a hundred other countries are committed to its implementation.
    1. When will the Common Reporting Standard take effect?
    CRS legislation will take effect on July 1, 2017. As of that date, Canadian financial institutions are required to have procedures in place to identify accounts held by non-residents and to report the required information to the CRA.
    1. How will the Common Reporting Standard affect Canadian financial institutions?
    The implementation of the CRS in Canada will result in Canadian financial institutions having to report to the CRA the financial accounts they maintain for non-residents of Canada and certain entities controlled by non-residents of Canada. 
    1. Do all Canadian financial institutions have to comply with the Common Reporting Standard?
    Yes, all Canadian financial institutions are required to comply with CRS.
    1. What are reportable accounts?
    Types of accounts that are in-scope for reporting include deposit, investment, custodial accounts and other financial accounts that have cash value and/or make income payments to account holders.
    1. How will Members be determined if they have “reportable accounts”?
    We expect the vast majority of our Members will not be reportable.
    We will begin asking all new personal Members (individuals) to self-certify as to their tax residencies, i.e., where they are required to file tax returns. If the information we have on file for you indicates that reporting may be required for your accounts, we will also ask you to complete a self-certification. We will then review the information you provide to determine whether or not your accounts are reportable.
    We will begin asking all business Members (non-personal) to self-certify as to their tax residencies, and the tax jurisdictions of their controlling persons for certain investment and trust entities. If the entity information you provided before CRS implementation indicates that reporting may be required for the entity accounts, we will also ask you to complete a self-certification. We will then review the information you provide to determine whether or not the entity’s accounts are reportable.
    1. What types of information will be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency?
    Canadian financial institutions are required to report the following information on non-resident account holders to the Canada Revenue Agency:
    • identifying information for the account holder (name and address)
    • taxpayer identification numbers
    • date of birth
    • account number
    • account balance or value at end of the year
    • certain amounts paid or credited to the account
    1. If an account is a reportable account, , what is reported?
    The information we will report to the local tax authority includes the following:
    • Name and address
    • Tax Information Number (TIN)
    • Certain circumstances, the date of birth
    • Account balance, account numbers, and certain amounts paid or credited to the account;
    • Payments the reportable account earned over the year including dividends, interest, gross proceeds and other income
    1. Would the implementation of the Common Reporting Standard cause the account information of Canadian residents to be shared with other jurisdictions?
    The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is designed to help jurisdictions maintain the integrity of their tax systems by making it more difficult for their residents to conceal investments through foreign financial institutions. As such, the implementation of the CRS in Canada would cause reporting by Canadian financial institutions only in respect of non-residents of Canada.
    1. Does the Common Reporting Standard propose to change any of the required reporting to the U.S under the terms of the Canada-U.S. Intergovernmental Agreement (FATCA)?
    No, they do not. There will be no changes to FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act).
    1. When financial data is shared with another jurisdiction, must it stay confidential?
    Yes, it is required to stay confidential. The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) requires financial data to be exchanged under the strict confidentiality provisions of the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters or a relevant tax treaty.
    1. What should a Member do if they have not fully complied with Canadian tax laws?
    The Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP) promotes compliance with Canada's tax laws by encouraging taxpayers to voluntarily come forward and correct previous omissions in their dealings with the Canada Revenue Agency. Taxpayers who make a valid disclosure have to pay any taxes or charges owing, plus interest. However, there will be no penalty or prosecution brought against them.
    1. Under the legislative proposals, is it anticipated that account holders will be able to know whether their financial institution has reported their account to the Canada Revenue Agency?
    It is not proposed that financial institutions automatically notify their account holders about reporting to the Canada Revenue Agency in connection with the Common Reporting Standard. However, financial institutions will be expected, upon request, to inform account holders whether their personal information has been reported.
    1. Where can I go for more information?
    Additional information regarding CRS and how it may affect you can be found on the CRA website www.cra-arc.gc.ca or by phone 1-800-267-6999.
    A full list of CRS compliant countries and detailed information may also be found at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) website www.OECD.org
     
  • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)
    In March 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was signed into U.S. law. The purpose of the Act is to identify people who may evade US taxes by holding accounts outside of the United States.  FATCA came into effect beginning July 1, 2014.  All financial institutions, including Meridian, will need to be FATCA compliant.
     
    • The first stage for Meridian will be to update how we open new Memberships (including business accounts) to identify Reportable Accounts of US persons and US Entities, effective July 1st.
    • The second stage involves the identification and reporting of certain pre-existing Reportable US accounts opened before July 1, 2014. 

    This reporting will be made available to the Canada Revenue Agency as confirmed by the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that was finalized between Canada and the IRS on February 5, 2014. It is important for financial institutions to comply with FATCA, or they will face a variety of penalties. In addition, countries that pass regulations supporting FATCA will enforce those regulations through their own regulatory agencies information. If you have any questions or concerns about FATCA and how it may affect you, Contact Meridian at 1-866-592-2226 or speak to a professional tax advisor.
  • FATCA FAQs

    What is FATCA?

    In March 2010, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was signed into U.S. law. The purpose of the Act is to identify people who may evade US taxes by holding accounts outside of the United States.   On February 5, 2014, the Canadian government announced that it had entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the U.S. government under the existing Canada-U.S. Tax treaty.  This agreement clarified that all reportable information under FATCA regulations will be reported directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  The CRA will then exchange this information with the IRS through existing provisions and safeguards of the Canada-U.S. Tax Convention.  This complies with Canada’s privacy laws. 
     

    What are “reportable accounts”?

    “Reportable accounts” are personal and non-personal accounts held by:
    • ​one or more U.S. persons; or
    • certain entities in which one or more U.S. persons hold a substantial ownership or controlling interest; or
    • U.S. Corporations.
    ​Many additional limitations apply, further reducing the number of accounts that will qualify as “reportable.” We expect that FATCA will not have any impact on most of our Members. All obligations will be set by Canadian Law, not U.S. Law, in an effort to minimize impact to our Members.
    In cases where a Member may be impacted, Meridian will assist the Member to ensure that their situation is handled appropriately.
    Note: If you want help in determining if you are a U.S. person or how FATCA will affect your accounts, we recommend that you speak with a professional tax advisor.


    What is a “U.S. person”?

    If you want help in determining if you are a U.S. person for the purposes of FATCA, we suggest that you speak with a professional tax advisor.  In general, attributes that generally cause an individual or business to be classified as a U.S. person include:
    • ​U.S. citizenship; (anyone born in the U.S. and who has not renounced their U.S. Citizenship)
    • being a lawful resident of the U.S. (permanent resident); and/or
    • U.S. corporation, estate, or trust.
    Will FATCA have an impact on my accounts?
    That will depend on whether or not your accounts are determined to be “reportable”. We expect FATCA will not have any impact on most of our Members. 
    How will you determine if I have “reportable accounts”?
    Personal Accounts
    For most of our personal banking Members, information we have on file will allow us to determine that no reporting is required.
    If the information you have provided indicates that reporting may be required for your accounts, we will ask you to provide additional information — possibly in the form of new documentation regarding your U.S. tax status. We will then review the information you provide against the applicable requirements to determine whether or not your accounts are reportable.
    Non-personal Accounts
    For most of our Business Banking Members, the documentation we have on file will allow us to determine that no reporting is required.
    If your business is an entity for which we are required to obtain additional documentation, we will ask you to provide that documentation. We will then review the new documentation against the applicable regulations to determine if your accounts are reportable.


    What type of information will be reported to the U.S. via the CRA?

    The following information will be reported:
    • Identifying information about the account holder (name and address)
    • Account number
    • Account balance or value at the end of the year
    • Certain amounts paid or credited to the account
    • TIN (tax identification number)
     

    Can you give me advice on how to respond to questions and requests related to FATCA?

    Tax law is a highly specialized field. While we can provide general information on FATCA and related local regulations, we are prohibited from providing tax advice. If you want advice on how to respond to questions and requests related to FATCA, we recommend that you speak with a professional tax advisor.
     

    How will FATCA affect me if I am a “U.S. person”?

    If you are a U.S. person, we may be required to ask you to provide your TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification) In addition, we may be required to report your account to the CRA on an annual basis.  This should have no impact to you if you are already meeting your existing U.S. tax filing obligations, but we encourage you to review this with a professional tax advisor.
     

    When does FATCA take effect?

    FATCA will come into effect in stages beginning July 1, 2014. On that day, financial institutions must begin to:
    • Use new account opening procedures to identify U.S. person(s) at the time of opening an account. 
    • Review existing accounts to identify those that may be subject to reporting, where information associated with your account suggests that you may be a U.S. person.  
    You might be asked to provide certain evidence to support a claim that you are not a U.S. person.
     

    Are all banks complying?

    The Agreement generally applies to all types of financial institutions.  There are some exemptions depending on the total assets held by the financial institution.
     

    Don’t you need my consent to share my information?

    Meridian is committed to keeping our Members’ personal information accurate, confidential, secure, and private.  Our response to FATCA will be held to our standard of strict compliance with privacy rules, and our approach will follow our commitment to Member privacy and service. 
    In cases where a Member may be impacted, Meridian will assist the Member to ensure that their situation is handled appropriately.
     

    What happens if I refuse to answer FATCA-related questions or complete FATCA-related forms?

    If you choose not to meet requests necessary in determining your U.S. tax status, your account may be treated as reportable and certain information may be reported to the CRA.  
     

    Does FATCA apply only to personal bank accounts?

    No, FATCA applies to many other types of financial accounts, including certain business accounts, insurance contracts, and investment or brokerage accounts.
    I have an account in U.S. dollars. Does this mean my accounts will be reported to the IRS?
    No, the currency of an account has no impact on whether or not it is treated as a “reportable account”.


    How are joint accounts handled under FATCA? 

    If at least one of the joint owners qualifies as a U.S. person, any required reporting would treat the U.S. person as the owner of the entire account. If more than one of the joint owners are U.S. persons, any required reporting would treat each U.S. person as the owner of the entire account.
     

    I am a Canadian resident, but I spend part of the year in the U.S.  How am I impacted by FATCA?

    If you are a Canadian resident who spends part of the year in the U.S., (snowbird or attending school), you may be identified as potentially being an U.S. person account holder because of information associated with your account, such as a U.S. address or telephone number.  You may be requested to provide documents showing that you are not a U.S. resident or U.S. citizen.
  • Codes of Conduct and Public Commitments
    As a credit union, Meridian is committed to protecting our Members. Meridian is committed to the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.
  • Compliments & Concerns
    Meridian is for Members who enjoy doing their banking with people who are dedicated to making your daily banking experience easy, smart and savvy. We’re in your neighbourhood to deliver on the difference of local banking. In fact, we’re among the leaders of North American banks for customer service. We pride ourselves on delivering genuinely caring, proactive personalized advice and services.  We’d like to hear from you.  Whether you have a problem you would like addressed, words of praise, encouragement or suggestions on how we can improve, we encourage you to contact us.
     
    Please be sure to provide the name(s) of the staff involved so we can be certain to give proper recognition. Thank you!
     
    By Mail: Meridian
    Attention: Member Relations Officer 
    75 Corporate Park Drive
St. Catharines, Ontario  L2S 3W3
    Phone: 905-988-4042 ext 2062
    Fax: 905-988-1521
    Email: yourfeedbackmatters@meridiancu.ca
    Contact Us