From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : NEFT, RTGS, IMPS
Mains level : Promoting digital transactions in India
- The RBI has proposed to examine the possibility of extending availability of National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) round-the-clock on all the seven days of the week — 24×7 basis — to facilitate beyond the banking hour fund transfer.
- Besides, the central bank will also examine the possibility of extending the timings for Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transactions.
What are NEFT and RTGS?
- NEFT is an electronic funds transfer system maintained by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- Started in November 2005, the setup was established and maintained by Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT).
- NEFT enables bank customers in India to transfer funds between any two NEFT-enabled bank accounts on a one-to-one basis. It is done via electronic messages.
- Unlike Real-time gross settlement (RTGS), fund transfers through the NEFT system do not occur in real-time basis.
- RTGS are specialist funds transfer systems where the transfer of money or securities takes place from one bank to any other bank on a “real time” and on a “gross” basis.
- Settlement in “real time” means a payment transaction is not subjected to any waiting period, with transactions being settled as soon as they are processed.
- “Gross settlement” means the transaction is settled on one-to-one basis without bundling or netting with any other transaction.
- “Settlement” means that once processed, payments are final and irrevocable.
What are the current limits?
- Customers can transfer anywhere between Rs 1 and Rs 25 lakh via NEFT (for HDFC Bank; varies from bank to bank) through net banking in a day.
- Through RTGS, they can transfer between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 25 lakh through net banking in a day.
- However, as of now, these online transactions are not available on Sundays, on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month and on bank holidays.
- On working days, NEFT is available between 8 am and 7 pm (varies from bank to bank) except on working Saturdays (8 am and 1 pm) and hence they restrict customers’ ability to carry out such transactions.
- Online RTGS transactions are available for lesser hours. It can be done till 4 pm (varies from bank to bank).
Current options available
- Customers can currently transfer money through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) round the clock but the maximum amount allowed is Rs 2 lakh.
- If RBI makes NEFT 24×7, it will not only ease the fund transfer for customers round the clock but will also take some load-off the bank branches for executing such transactions.