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IFSC, Indian Financial System Code, is an alphanumeric 11 digits unique code assigned by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to identify every bank branch in India effortlessly. The main idea behind the introduction of the IFSC code was to enable hazel-less inter-bank electronic funds transfer.

For instance, if a person has two accounts in different branches of the same bank, then in such case IFSC number will differ for each bank branch.

The format of this 11 digits alphanumeric code is as follows:

  • The first 4 characters will be letters representing the bank name;
  • The 5th character is a digit i.e., 0 which is kept constant for the future use;
  • The last 6 characters can be either number or letter representing the individual branch.

In case you do not want to use Demand Drafts or cheques, you should know IFSC number of both the transferring and the transferee bank branch to transfer funds electronically. There are thousands of bank branches spread across the country that participate in the electronic fund transfer.

The electronic fund transfer can take place via Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Immediate Payment System (IMPS). These are the safer, speedier and lesser cumbersome systems of money transfer when compared with other traditional modes of money transfer such as cheques.

Generally, banks do not update or change their IFSC codes unless there is amalgamation/merger. For instance, State Bank of India (SBI) recently changed IFSC codes of all the branches across India, after five associate banks and one other bank merged with it.

Now let us see some key features of the IFSC code:

  • Helps in identifying specific bank branch
  • Used for RTGS, NEFT & IMPS fund transfer
  • Helps in eliminating errors in the process of fund transfer

IFSC and NEFT are two inter-linked terms. Let us understand the term NEFT. NEFT or National Electronic Funds Transfer is a fund transfer system used nationwide that helps in safe transferring of money from one account to another. All the settlements of NEFT are carried out batch-wise. However, transfer of funds can only take place if the sending and receiving banks are NEFT-enabled. IFSC Code of the bank branch is a must to transfer money, along with other details such as bank branch, bank account number and account holder name etc.

Procedure to transfer money using IFSC NEFT

Step 1:First login to your net banking account using valid credentials

Note:You need to have a net banking account and in case you do not have one then you have to register for it on your bank's website.

step 2:Add the payee or beneficiary bank account details. For that you have to furnish the following payee/beneficiary details in the Add New Payee/beneficiary column:

step 3:Choose NEFT as a mode of Fund Transfer after adding the payee/beneficiary

step 4:Select the bank account from which you to transfer money from, select the beneficiary/payee to whom you want to transfer the money and enter the amount that you want to transfer. You can also add remarks but that's optional.

step 5:Click on the submit button

Timings of IFSC NEFT

Anyone can initiate IFSC NEFT money transfer at the operation hours of 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM from Monday to Saturdays except second and fourth Saturday. Further, it shall be noted that IFSC NEFT transfer takes place in hourly batches

Note: NEFT transactions cannot be carried out or credited on public and bank holidays. However, the transferor can queue their NEFT for the payee and wait, till the next operational working hour and day.

What are the advantages of using NEFT?

  • A safe, easy and quick way to transfer the money
  • No need to draw Demand Drafts or cheques to the payee or beneficiary
  • Fewer visits to the bank as you can initiate IFSC NEFT from the home or workplace at any time online
  • No fraudulent encashment
  • SMS or email confirmation of the money transfer

IFSC and RTGS are two inter-linked terms. Let us understand the term RTGS

RTGS is an acronym for Real Time Gross Settlement is a fund transfer system used countrywide that helps in quick money transfer from one account to another. In RTGS, Real Time (RT) refers to uninterrupted transferring of funds as soon as the instruction of fund transfer is received and Gross Settlement (GS) means that each fund transfer settlement is carried out individually. It shall be noted the payment is irrevocable and final as settlements of the funds occur in the books of Reserve Bank of India. However, to transfer funds via RTGS, both the sending and the receiving bank branch have to be IFSC & RTGS enabled.

Amount prescribed for IFSC RTGS

Through RTGS one can remit the minimum amount of 2 Lakhs INR, whereas, the maximum transferring limit is 10 Lakhs INR per day. However, some amount of service charge will apply to each RTGS transaction.

Prescribed time for IFSC RTGS

Generally, RTGS transactions get transferred in the real-time in simple words, the receiver gets the transferred amount as soon as the instruction is given by the sender. However, the fund gets credited in the account of the receiver within 30 minutes of receiving the fund transfer message. The funds get reversed to the sender bank within 1 hour or before the end of the operating day, whichever is earlier in case if the funds do not get remitted to the receiver's bank account.

Details required for IFSC RTGS

  • The amount which has to be remitted
  • Beneficiary's name
  • Beneficiary's account number
  • Beneficiary's bank and branch name
  • IFSC of the beneficiary's bank branch

IFSC and IMPS are two inter-linked terms. Let us understand the term IMPS

IMPS, Immediate Payment Service, an instant and a secure fund transfer system which is used across India. IMPS transactions can be initiated either online using net banking or on phone using mobile banking. As the name suggests the funds are immediate transfers to the beneficiary's bank account, unlike cheques that take some time to clear and credit to the beneficiary account.

How to Register for IMPS

Here are the steps for IMPS registration

  • Activate mobile banking services of the bank.
  • Download the mobile banking application or use the SMS facility in case if your bank has an SMS IMPS facility.
  • Create MPIN and keep your Mobile Money Identifier (MMID) ready received from the bank at the time of registration.
  • Note: Sender and the payee or beneficiary should have a valid MMID, in case of mobile banking
  • Name of the beneficiary
  • Account number of the beneficiary
  • IFSC number of the bank branch of the beneficiary
  • Normally, for an account-based transaction, the maximum limit is 2 Lakhs INR per transaction
  • For MMID based transaction the maximum limit is 5,000 INR per day

Benefits of using IMPS

  • Money can be transferred 24x7 and on all 365 days
  • Using IMPS money can be transferred in a split-second
  • IMPS is a secure and safe way of fund transferring
  • Different modes can be used for fund transfers under IMPS

Is it mandatory for the beneficiary to register for IMPS?

In the case of net banking, you just need to have an account number of the beneficiary and IFSC code. If you are using mobile banking for IMPS fund transfer, then in such a scenario you and beneficiary need to have a valid MMID*. *MMID is a unique code having seven digits that are issued by the bank at the time of registration.

NEFT, RTGS and IMPS are systems through which one can transfer funds country-wide electronically. These systems of fund transfer ensure quick, safe and secure transaction between accounts, especially when you have online or mobile phone banking facilities access. But to transact the money through these funds transfer systems you need to have IFSC of the beneficiary's bank account including name and account number of the beneficiary. NEFT and RTGS were set forth two decades back, where as IMPS was brought forward in 2010.The key differences between these fund transfer systems are listed below:

Category NEFT RTGS IMPS
Full Form National Electronic Funds Transfer Real Time Gross Settlement Immediate Payment Service
Launched by RBI(Reserve Bank of India) RBI (Reserve Bank of India) NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India)
Mode of Initiating fund transfer - Visiting bank branch or - Visiting bank branch or -Online banking facilities
-Online platform -Online platform -Mobile banking
- via ATM
Transaction Limit For transferring small value funds. No limit prescribed by RBI, each bank is free to set own limit (but 50,000 INR limit per transaction for cash payments) For transferring large value funds. The minimum value of 2 Lakhs INR but the bank is free to set its own maximum limit Rs. 50,000 per account per day for Encrypted messaging format Rs. 1000 per account per day unencrypted messaging format
Settlement of the transactions Transactions are batch-wise settled. On each weekday 12 batches are settled and on working Saturday 6 batches are settled. Transactions are settled real-time continuously. The transactions are not bundled in a batch. Transactions are settled instantly without any delay. (depending upon the bank server)
Time taken to reflect credited amount in the beneficiary account Can take up to 2 hours or a day depending upon the batch Within 30 minutes from the initiating order Instantly
Timings for transactions From July 2015 From July 2015 Available 24x7 on 365 days
Monday to Friday: 8 am-7 pm Monday to Friday: 9 am-4:30 pm
Saturday 8 am-1 pm Saturday: 9 am-2 pm
Requirements The bank branch of the beneficiary shall be NEFT enabled The bank branch of the beneficiary shall be RTGS enabled Online banking:
1.Name of the beneficiary 1.Name of the beneficiary 1. Name of the beneficiary
2. Account No. of the beneficiary 2. Account No. of the beneficiary 2. Account No. of the beneficiary
3. IFSC number of the bank branch of the beneficiary 3. IFSC number of the bank branch of the beneficiary 3. IFSC number of the bank branch of the beneficiary
Mobile banking:
1. Registered mobile number of the beneficiary and
2. Beneficiary MMID