By Connie Adair

Having a deal go the way of the dodo bird because of a late deposit cheque is just sad. And the running around to make sure that doesn’t happen is stressful for all involved. Halifax-based Chris Ryan and Kevin Kline figured there had to be a better way, so they came up with one: ExactDeposit – an online deposit system for real estate that will let homebuyers submit deposits entirely from a computer or mobile device, without ever needing a paper cheque.

Chris Ryan
Chris Ryan

Ryan has been a top-producing agent for more than 10 years and Kline has more than 20 years of technology and telecommunications experience.

Kevin Kline
Kevin Kline

The salesperson and the tech guy put their skills together to develop an online deposit solution for brokers, agents and their clients. The system eliminates the use of personal or certified cheques and offers an efficient and secure online payment system that takes less than 10 minutes using a smartphone, a computer or tablet in real time, Ryan says. “It’s new to everywhere.”

Once an offer is accepted, the agent emails a deposit invoice to the buyer. Using a secure portal, the client reviews the invoice then submits payment using their credit card. Clients can’t go on the system and make a payment on their own. It must be facilitated by the agent.

Deposit receipts are generated and the process is complete in less than 10 minutes, with documentation provided to the broker, agent and client.

Clients will be happy to save time and frustration. Many young buyers don’t even use cheques, Ryan says. And who isn’t happy to avoid wasting time at a bank branch getting a certified cheque?  Debit can be a problem depending on how much can be transferred out per day (having to make payments over several days can be problematic when time is of the essence).

Wire transfers still mean a trip to the bank, plus it requires brokerages to give out their banking information and many brokers prefer not to, he says. There is also no notification about when the money will appear, which means brokers have to constantly check their trust account.

ExactDeposit dashboards keep everyone – agent, broker and client – in the loop by providing status updates. The system also automatically generates FINTRAC paperwork, another time-saver for agents.

The secure ExactDeposit system is connected to a broker’s trust account and the broker has visibility into all of their agents’ files, so they can monitor upcoming deadlines.

Refunds can be made just as easily and quickly. The agent issues a termination agreement and money is returned as designated on the agreement (directly to the cardholder or by cheque).

ExactDeposit was two years in the making and the pilot program started in February. More than a dozen brokerages, representing over 500 agents and accounting for about 80 per cent of Halifax’s (city and surrounding areas) annual real estate sales activity, have already signed up to participate, Ryan says. Those offices include Royal LePage Atlantic, Re/Max Nova, Exit Realty Metro and Keller Williams Select.

It’s been a lot of legwork to create this online deposit system for real estate, with Ryan and Kline doing conference calls and training and meeting with brokerages and regulatory bodies.

They received technology and innovation grants and worked with PhDs and Masters students from Dalhousie University.

Fees for real estate professionals will start at $10 per month for unlimited usage. Buyers will pay a 2.9-per-cent fee. Feedback is that they don’t mind paying for a system that relieves stress, saves time and ensures their deal doesn’t fall through because of a late deposit payment, Ryan says. The points earned by paying by credit card also helps offset the fee, he says.


  1. How will a $ 20,000.00 deposit via credit card affect the buyers’ mortgage situation. I am telling my clients not to do any unusual purchases (car, high credit card etc) between the pre-approval and closing. This could have a higher impact on the purchase than just the cost associated with using a credit card.

  2. Addendum: If the fee is subject to HST then Ontario’s buyers would be paying a 3.27% premium for the privilege of saving an hour.

  3. Practically speaking this is impossible in most provinces. Contact your Regulator about specific changes to your business practices/disclosures if you want to utilize this specific service.

    2.9% in merchant fees on huge Deposit amounts are ridiculous and were just addressed in November 2014 by an agreement with the Federal Government and VISA/MasterCard/Etc.

    Any $5,000 purchase/deposit through VISA would have a maximum merchant fee of 1.5% which shows these guys are charging almost double what any Brokerage themselves would be required to charge after a 30 min VISA account setup. Now your Brokerage must disclose where that additional 1.4% deposit charge is going and why the Brokerage has not simply set up their own account to save their clients money.

    Grants and PHds can`t cover up a 50% cash grab that if used universally across Canada by every REALTOR on every transaction in 2014 would generate $151 Million in fees. Are REALTORS really too lazy to get a check certified for their clients……

    Imagine a paper getting hold of that one folks!

    • I can also see the vicious and totally warranted backlash promulgating the airwaves and internet when buyers aren’t told about the fee and the surprise arrives a few weeks later.

  4. I have had a number of clients ask me to pay their deposit with credit card. Nice to see there is finally an option out there.

  5. Speaking of going paperless, another alternate to how things are currently done:

    I don’t know if anyone among the readers is familiar with how big companies process large payroll accts through automatic banking.

    That already started back in the late 1950’s when, as an example, ManuLife on Bloor St. E. processed their auto deposit payroll through a bank a couple of blocks away at Bloor and Church.

    Not long after, companies began to appear who became the processing agents of such systems, including the medical invoicing world, government accts, and IT became BIG/little business – then of course, using mainframe computer rooms.

    So, enter the world of real estate: 1980 – and I saw how unnecessarily complicated the processing of deposits sometimes could be. Especially when a deposit got “tied up” for numerous reasons.

    Offices had stipulated timeframes by which deposits had to be received and physically receipted at a bank where the office trust account was.

    The deposit could not be deposited at any other branch of the specific bank, than where the office trust account was located.

    Imagine all the running around by all concerned in a transaction. And then the follow up paperwork still needed doing.

    Add travel to the mix: would be buyer provided certified ck. but sometimes he was too busy, so agents involved had to attend at buyer’s bank to get ck certified and then hand deliver to appropriate real estate listing office, often many miles away.

    And remember that banks did not have extended hours open as now.

    Add confusion to the mix: for whatever reason (such as financing didn’t get approved) the deposit needed to be returned to the buyer. Appropriate releases needed to be signed – even if the buyer elected to buy another listing at the same brokerage.

    In the meantime the buyer found a new property he wanted to offer on. But WHOOPS!!! Only a few days had passed. The brokerage wasn’t about to return his deposit so fast. Now what?

    Of course the whole process has changed substantially.

    So, ever since my beginnings, 34 years ago, a thought ran around my mind: why didn’t some arm of the business, maybe now RECO, develop a mandatory “central source depository” system wherein all active brokerages would be required to deposit ALL relative trust monies, and all the brokerages merely work with (emailed) invoices and receipts; releases where necessary, and all related closings, terminations, lawyer clarifications etc.

    No office would ever have to do bank trust acct recs per se ever again. Their accounting programs would generate reports automatically.

    There’s a money making opportunity for someone out there. And the bookkeeping real estate nightmares would vanish. It could all be set up to flow easily and properly.

    I’m surprised no one has thought of setting up. Of course the business would have to be set up by the Ministry guidelines, and monitored and audited.

    But it would take away huge risks when company’s holding deposits close down and the ensuing hornet’s nests.

    The commission trusts could automatically flow throug, negating any opportunity for holding up agent paycks. and public trust funds, often for months while final wrinkles get ironed out.

    Does anyone see the viability of this thinking? It’s not new – just has never been done relative to the real estate industry.

    Carolyne L

    • In a separate venture, it might be useful to set up a similar, yet specific, mandatory “deposit central” system for new-builds.

      Both freehold and condos, wherein the initial deposit and further deposits on property bought pre-build, (where there appears to be unlicenced salespeople doing business), both by local buyers and offshore agreements of purchase and sale, would be deposited outside the immediate control of builders and developers who have the opportunity to disappear, with trust funds.

      There’s plenty of history evidence to validate the happenings of such events, on books and in records.

      Such a system would forever remove the opportunity for a brokerage et al, to mismanage or misappropriate funds in trust accounts.

      And consider the protection for the public buying for private use, having perhaps invested their life-savings, as well as corporate investors, again both local and offshore.

      Any and all of the inclusive comments herein would help to round out the honorifics of the real estate ‘profession.’

      The percentage of mismanaged or misappropriated trust funds is likely very small in the overall assessment of such. But ‘any’ is $1.00 too many.

      This system, that could be set up in manageable suspense account style, is not an unbelievable support system but of course would require an abundance of both banking and E&O insurance, each “account” standing on its own legs.

      The system I have suggested would put a swift and permanent end to such currently increasing activity, as our attention was once again drawn to in the news recently.

      Would be interested in hearing professional feedback comments from REM readers.

      Carolyne L

  6. So if I do the math, a $20,000 deposit would cost buyer’s $580 … does seem a bit high. Guess who the buyer would want to pay that fee!

  7. yeah, like I’d pay $10 a month when I can just give my branch and account info to any buyer to deposit at any bank location for my brokerage…by the way, that costs my nothing. Good try and would love to see Shark Tank investors laugh you out on your ass

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