Sign a PAP or MCC, even better do an NEFT or RTGS, but then you will need to know the IFSC.” Does this sentence make sense to you? Banking has become easier today than ever before, but banking jargons may still flummox you.
If you haven’t encountered them already, you are bound to do so at some point soon. In fact, knowing them may make some of your banking tasks much simpler.
We spoke to six major banks in the country to simplify six common terms for you.
MICR: Magnetic ink char acter recognition
What is it: MICR code (pronounced my-ker) is a nine-digit number printed on banking instruments such as a cheque or a demand draft using a special type of ink made of magnetic material. The first three digits denote the city. The fourth to sixth digits denote the bank, while the last three digits denote the branch number. The code is read by a machine, minimizing the chances of error in clearing of cheques, thereby making funds transfer faster. For example, in the MICR code 400240019, 400 denotes Mumbai, 240 denotes HDFC Bank Ltd and 019 denotes the Colaba branch of the bank.
You will find the number on the right of the cheque number at the bottom of the cheque leaf.
When do you need it: MICR code allows money to drop directly into your bank account for payments such as salaries and dividends. Your tax refund will come to you faster if you remember to mention this on the refund form. Refunds of unwanted money in initial public offers, too, drop back if you put down your code on the application form.
RTGS: Real time gross settlement
What is it: It’s a fund transfer mechanism that enables money to move from one bank to another on a real time and gross basis. Simply put, real time means the transaction is settled instantly without any waiting period and gross means that it is not bunched with any other transaction.
You can transfer a minimum of Rs1 lakh through RTGS; there is no upper ceiling though. The bank will charge you Rs25-Rs50 for an outward RTGS transaction, inward transactions are free. RTGS is the fastest inter-bank money transfer facility available through secure banking channels in India. But not all branches in India are RTGS enabled. Visit the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) website for a list of branches where you will get this facility.
When do you need it: This facility would be handy during an emergency, when you need to transfer funds quickly, imagine an ill child studying in another city or a parent in an emergency situation and needing money at once. You would be able to use this facility if you use Internet banking as a channel.
It is mostly used by high networth individuals and businessmen, who have at least Rs1 lakh to be transferred business associates or clients.
NEFT: National electronic funds transfer
What is it: NEFT enables funds transfer from one bank to another but works a bit differently than RTGS since the settlement takes place in batches rather than individually, making NEFT slower than RTGS.
The transfer is not direct and RBI acts as the service provider to transfer the money from one account to another. You can transfer any amount through NEFT, even a rupee.
You won’t have to pay any fee for inward transfer of funds, but for outward transactions the charges can be from Rs5-Rs25 depending on the amount transferred.
When do you need it: You can use this facility if you want to transfer funds online in a day or two.
NEFT can make life easier for those who need to send money to their parents or children living in another city. It cuts the trouble of issuing a cheque or draft and posting it.
NEFT, too, can be done only through Internet banking. Visit RBI website for a list of branches where you will get this facility.
IFSC: India financial system code
What is it: An 11-digit alphanumeric (letters and numbers) code that helps identify bank branches. The first four numbers represent the bank’s code (alphabetic), the fifth number is a control character (0), and the next six numbers denote a bank branch. For example, the IFSC for HDFC Bank Ltd’s Colaba branch in Mumbai reads as HDFC0000085. This code is mentioned on your cheque. Different banks mention it at different places on the cheque.
When do you need it: When sending money through RTGS or NEFT, you need to know the IFSC of the receiving branch.
CVV: Card verification value
What is it: CVV is an anti-fraud security feature that helps verify that you are in possession of your credit card and making the transaction. CVV is usually a three-digit number printed on the signature panel at the back of your credit card.
When do you need it: You need this number when shopping online or over the phone. You need to be careful with this number as it can make you a victim of fraud. It’s best to remember this number and blacken it off from your card.
PAP: Payable at par or MCC: Multi-city cheques
What is it: PAP or MCC cheques can be encashed anywhere in India, irrespective of the city they were issued in. They are treated as local clearing cheques across the country. The amount is credited in the account the same day and there are no inter-city collection charges associated with a normal cheques being encashed in another city.
A cheque issued at a branch in Chennai, can be encashed at a branch in Dibrugarh as if it were a local cheque.
There would be a notation on the top or the bottom of a cheque indicating its status as as PAP or MCC cheque.
When do you need it: By issuing a PAP or MCC cheque, you can save demand draft or cheque clearing costs.
Usually, these cheques are issued by companies to disburse dividends or redemption amounts.