National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is a nation-wide payment system facilitating one-to-one funds transfer. Under this Scheme, individuals, firms and corporates can electronically transfer funds from any bank branch to any individual, firm or corporate having an account with any other bank branch in the country participating in the Scheme.
Individuals, firms or corporates maintaining accounts with a bank branch can transfer funds using NEFT. Even such individuals who do not have a bank account (walk-in customers) can also deposit cash at the NEFT-enabled branches with instructions to transfer funds using NEFT. However, such cash remittances will be restricted to a maximum of Rs.50,000/- per transaction. Such customers have to furnish full details including complete address, telephone number, etc. NEFT, thus, facilitates originators or remitters to initiate funds transfer transactions even without having a bank account.
Presently, NEFT operates in hourly batches – there are eleven settlements from 9 am to 7 pm on week days (Monday through Friday) and five settlements from 9 am to 1 pm on Saturdays.
How Does the NEFT System Operates?
Step-1 : An individual / firm / corporate intending to originate transfer of funds through NEFT has to fill an application form providing details of the beneficiary (like name of the beneficiary, name of the bank branch where the beneficiary has an account, IFSC of the beneficiary bank branch, account type and account number) and the amount to be remitted. The application form will be available at the originating bank branch. The remitter authorizes his/her bank branch to debit his account and remit the specified amount to the beneficiary. Customers enjoying net banking facility offered by their bankers can also initiate the funds transfer request online. Some banks offer the NEFT facility even through the ATMs. Walk-in customers will, however, have to give their contact details (complete address and telephone number, etc.) to the branch. This will help the branch to refund the money to the customer in case credit could not be afforded to the beneficiary’s bank account or the transaction is rejected / returned for any reason.
Step-2 : The originating bank branch prepares a message and sends the message to its pooling centre (also called the NEFT Service Centre).
Step-3 : The pooling centre forwards the message to the NEFT Clearing Centre (operated by National Clearing Cell, Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai) to be included for the next available batch.
Step-4 : The Clearing Centre sorts the funds transfer transactions destination bank-wise and prepares accounting entries to receive funds from the originating banks (debit) and give the funds to the destination banks(credit). Thereafter, bank-wise remittance messages are forwarded to the destination banks through their pooling centre (NEFT Service Centre).
Charges for NEFT transactions
The structure of charges that can be levied on the customer for NEFT is given below:
a) Inward transactions at destination bank branches (for credit to beneficiary accounts)
– Free, no charges to be levied from beneficiaries
b) Outward transactions at originating bank branches (charges for the remitter)
– For transactions up to Rs 1 lakh – not exceeding Rs 5 (+ Service Tax)
– For transactions above Rs 1 lakh and up to Rs 2 lakhs – not exceeding Rs 15 (+ Service Tax)
– For transactions above Rs 2 lakhs – not exceeding Rs 25 (+ Service Tax)
c) Charges applicable for transferring funds from India to Nepal using the NEFT system (under the Indo-Nepal Remittance Facility Scheme) is available on the website of RBI at http://rbi.org.in/scripts/FAQView.aspx?Id=67
With effect from 1st July 2011, originating banks are required to pay a nominal charge of 25 paise each per transaction to the clearing house as well as destination bank as service charge. However, these charges cannot be passed on to the customers by the banks.
Step-5 : The destination banks receive the inward remittance messages from the Clearing Centre and pass on the credit to the beneficiary customers’ accounts.
NEFT can be used to transfer funds from or to NRE and NRO accounts in the country. This, however, is subject to the adherence of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 2000 (FEMA) and Wire Transfer Guidelines.