SPARK and
connectFirst

We’re only a few weeks away from transitioning your banking over to connectFirst, and we can’t wait!

As we get ready for the banking system upgrade, we want to make sure we’re helping you get ready for the changes coming between January 21 & 23, when you won’t be able to access your accounts or use your debit cards.
What's new Your new products


Talk to us.

We know that this can feel like a lot of information.

If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback we’re here for you. Feel free to connect with us by email or calling 1-877-582-6222.

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Upcoming key dates:


January 10-14, 2022:

- New debit cards will arrive in member mailboxes.


January 15, 2022:

- CUMIS insurance notification letter will arrive in member mailboxes


January 17, 2022:

- Interac e-Transfer send services will be unavailable.


January 19, 2022:

- Interac e-Transfer receive functionality will be unavailable.


January 20, 2022:

- Interac e-Transfer pending transactions will be cancelled.

- New debit card PIN will arrive in member mailboxes.


January 21, 2022:

- Online banking will be unavailable beginning at 5:00 PM MST.


January 22-23, 2022:

- System Upgrade Weekend.

- Members unable to access their accounts using their debit cards at ATM or point of sale.

- Online banking unavailable via desktop and mobile app.


January 24, 2022:

- Interac e-Transfer services can resume.

- New debit cards can start being used.

- connectFirst mobile app and desktop banking is now available to use and members should delete old SPARK mobile app.


Important Statement Dates
 

FAQs

All SPARK members will experience a weekend of downtime from January 22-23.

This means you'll be unable to access your account using your debit card or through online and mobile banking.

To prepare, we ask you to ensure you have cash on hand or another payment card ready to go. We'll have our trusted team on stand-by if you need any support. If you run into any challenges, you can still visit any of our branches or call our Member Connection Centre over the weekend.

If you are still experiencing an interruption to your banking on or after Jan 24, don't hesitate to reach out - we are here to support. Call our Member Connection Centre, your closest branch, or email us at gethelp@connectfirstcu.com. A team is available to help and getting you access to your banking is our priority. 
All SPARK chequing and savings products will become connectFirst chequing and savings products on January 24.

Product names will change but, features and functionality will be very similar to SPARK products. Not to worry! All SPARK members will still be entitled to a free chequing account.

We'll be reaching out to you with more exciting product news in the coming weeks, and of course, we will work with you to determine best product fit for you.

Your account numbers will change, but don't worry, we'll make sure all authorized fund transfers (AFT’s), direct deposits, cheques, etc., route through your new accounts so there will be no impact.

We can provide a new direct deposit form or order new cheques for you after January 24 if you need to add any new vendors.
Yes, we'll be providing you with a new member number. We'll reach out to you personally with information about your updated member number.
Your current SPARK debit card will work until 4:00 p.m. on January 21.

You should be receiving your new debit card by the middle of January with the PIN mailer arriving around the 20. Make sure you hang on to both your new card and PIN mailer. keep them somewhere safe, as you'll need them to access digital banking and your funds after January 24. These should not be used before the 24.

If you aren't happy with your new PIN, no worries! You can visit any branch or our ATMs to change it to the PIN of your choice.

If you haven't received your new card by January 20, please reach out to your local branch, and we'll make sure we get a new card to you as soon as possible. After January 24, you can attend any branch for support in getting either a physical or virtual card to you.
You may have been issued a 'closure' statement regarding one of your accounts. In preparation for our technical merge, some of the background work has caused 'closure' statements to be issued when they shouldn't have been.

There have been no changes to your accounts or balances. As we're now aware of the issue, we're working to prevent these statements from going to any other members where possible and we apologize for the confusion.
Any credit held with SPARK will show as closed/transferred on your credit bureau report. The existing credit will report under a separate trade line as Connect First Credit Union and will have no material impact on your credit score.

You may notice a new item added to your credit report under connectFirst Credit Union, or receive an alert from credit tracking apps that you subscribe to, notifying you that a new account has been added. This is the result of your existing credit products being transferred from SPARK to connectFirst. This is not a new credit product and the transfer process will have no material impact on your credit score.
Your declaration of trust transferred over to a connectFirst Declaration of Trust with Conentra Bank on November 1, 2021. Don't worry — there was no impact on your account or it's functions.
Yes, your scheduled RRSP contributions will continue as usual, contributions can still be made at your local branch, and new investment accounts can continue to be opened. There are no planned interruptions.
Like in previous years, tax receipts will be generated in mid-January for the 2021 year end. They will now be issued under the connectFirst Credit Union name.
One of the ways we're bringing more flexibility to our members is by giving them more control over how they make payments. The minimum payment will be interest-only for all members. We'll leave it up to you to determine when and how you want to make principal payments.

The branch teams and Member Connection Centre are here to help you set up recurring principal payments and you'll be able to make principal only payments online.

Yes, your insurance will be provided by CUMIS.

CUMIS is the current insurance provider for connectFirst Credit Union, so this change is being made to align SPARK with connectFirst's trusted providers.

You'll receive a letter by January 15 from CUMIS which will outline your premiums, provide an explanation of rates and highlight any adjustments to your current coverage.

For now the only change you'll see is an addition of the connectFirst logo to your statement.

You will receive one final statement on all of your SPARK accounts as of January 21.

After January 22, statement dates for personal memberships will move to the 17th of each month. Business members will still receive their statements at the end of the month. These dates apply for chequing and savings products, and we can work with you to combine loans, mortgages, and term deposits on your monthly statements.

For Registered products, you'll receive statements semi-annually, at the end of June and end of December. 

Common Share statements are produced annually on November 30. 

Service charges will run through your account on the statement dates, unless processed in real time (e.g. stop payment fees, wire fees, chargebacks etc.) 
SPARK Calgary will be known as connectFirst Calgary 4th and 4th and SPARK Fort Saskatchewan will be known as connectFirst Fort Saskatchewan. Both branches will continue with the same hours - Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 3 PM. New exterior signage is scheduled to be installed at both locations in early 2022.

There will also be a secondary location downtown Calgary you can access for banking services temporarily. The connectFirst Downtown Core location will be available 
To get started with the new system, you'll need to add your bill payees and set up scheduled bill payments, including CRA payments. Payees and scheduled bill payments will not transfer over to the new online banking system.
Planning is underway to understand the rollout for branded connectFirst credit cards. More information to follow.
You'll need the following to get started:
  • New connectFirst debit card
  • Valid email address
  • Cell phone number
  • Date of birth

You'll use your email address or cell number to validate your account.

All details must match those in our system in order for your online banking access to be set up.


Once you have all the details above and you know our system matches, online banking can be accessed on your desktop, laptop or tablet via our website, connectfirstcu.com.

For mobile devices, you can download the connectFirst App in advance. We recommend downloading it closer to January 22 to ensure that you're accessing the latest version of our App. The App is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. If you use an iPad you can still access online banking through our desktop browser at banking.connectfirstcu.com, however you will be unable to access your digital banking through the App.

After January 22, you are advised to delete the SPARK App from your mobile device to eliminate any confusion.

When logging into digital banking after January 23, you may be surprised to see that your transaction history did not come over. This information is not lost, it's just not possible to bring over.

The good news is that your historical statements will be linked to your new digital banking platform; however, this may take a few days post-merger. We will share more information on how you access these as we get closer to the date.

If you need statements for year-end activities, we recommend printing them prior to this weekend. We are always here with access to your historical information should you need it.
Starting on January 17 at 10 a.m., e-Transfer “send” services will be unavailable. The “receive” functionality will be unavailable starting on January 19 at 10 a.m. This break in service ensures all transactions clear our system ahead of the system upgrade.

Services and functionality will resume on January 24.

You will be need to set up a new e-Transfer profile on January 24, along with a new e-Transfer recipient list. We advise you to take screenshots or make a list of all e-Transfer recipients in advance.

Interac AutoDeposit registration will also need to be set up on January 24 when you create your e-Transfer profile.

If you’re concerned about sending and receiving payments, please reach out to the the branch you bank with and we'll work with you to create a solution.

e-Transfer limits: 

Your outgoing and incoming eTransfer limits on your personal accounts won't change.

However, if you are a signer on a business account you may see a change to your outgoing eTransfer limits. Feel free to reach out to us if you need more information.
Full access to the Member Connection Centre (MCC) will begin on January 24. If you call the MCC before then we will be able to transfer to the right team member to provide you the support you need.
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been talking about the legal amalgamation of SPARK and connectFirst Credit Union and sharing key information, impacts and enhancements with our members.

If you haven’t received any communications you can download past letters we've mailed up above in the downloadable resources section. Please also connect with us to ensure we have your up-to-date mailing address on file.



Not immediately. Your local branch team will work with you to merge these for you in the upcoming months, once we've had a conversation with you to determine how the accounts should be merged.
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