NEW DELHI : You do not have to look at your watch or calendar while transferring money online from today as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has allowed National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) facility available for 24 hours a day and 365 days a year. So far, you could transfer money only in between 8 am and 6:30 pm and on those days when banks were open.
NEFT transfers have now been divided into half-hourly batches with the settlement of the first batch starting after 12:30 am (after midnight) and the last batch ending at midnight. This NEFT timing cycle will function round-the-clock.
Since the settlement of the last NEFT payment batch ends at midnight, you might not be able to make a transaction after 11:30 pm till the beginning of the next batch at 12:30 am the next day.
The RBI has decided to make NEFT money transfer facility available not just for 24 hours a day but also on all days of the year, including holidays. So far, NEFT facility was not available on banking holidays and people had to wait for the bank branches to open even for online money transfers.
So far, NEFT transactions were settled in between 8 am to 7 pm. On first and third Saturdays, the settlement happened from 8 am to 1 pm.
RBI’s move will promote digital transactions in India. So far, IMPS facility allowed 24×7 fund transfers online but it had a limit of ₹2 lakh.
NEFT transactions done after banking hours will be automated using ‘Straight Through Processing (STP)’ modes by the banks. The existing rule of crediting the beneficiary’s account or returning the transaction (within 2 hours of settlement of the respective batch) to originating bank will continue, RBI said. Banks are supposed to send confirmation messages for all NEFT credits.
The RBI has asked banks to ensure availability of all necessary infrastructural requirements at their end for providing seamless NEFT 24×7 facility to their customers.
Most banks like the State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank do not charge anything for online NEFT transfers. In July, the RBI had waived off all charges on fund transfer through NEFT and RTGS and had also asked banks to pass on the benefits to customers. The RBI has also proposed to mandate banks to make all online NEFT transactions free for savings bank account customers from January 2020.
There is no minimum limit for NEFT transfer but it is generally used for fund transfers of up to ₹2 lakh. For high-value transactions, RTGS is used. The maximum NEFT limits vary from bank to bank and also depend on the customer category. For example, ICICI Bank allows NEFT transfers up to ₹10 lakh for most customers but for others, it may allow NEFT transactions up to ₹25 lakh. HDFC Bank, too, has a ₹25 lakh limit for online NEFT transactions.
SBI has a ₹10 lakh limit for retail customers.