Home / Money / Calculators /  Reason to cheer: EPF goes online, finally

A few months back, a colleague sought help on his provident funds (PFs, in plural). Like many other salaried employees, he had opened a new PF account every time he changed jobs. Now, he wants to buy a house and is getting as much money together as possible. But he has no idea how much money is there in his multiple PF accounts. Many of us are in the same boat: many PF accounts (at different locations in the country) and no idea how to track them.

For a salaried employee, Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is one of the main investment vehicles for building a retirement corpus. In 2013, we saw a big leap forward by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) with the launch of Online Transfer Claim Portal (OTCP), which was introduced on 2 October. With OTCP, you can now, thankfully, transfer your EPF online. We take you through the process of online transfer and how it works.

Digitally yours

If you want to transfer your EPF account online from your previous employer to the current one, the employers should have their digital signatures registered with EPFO. This is because EPFO will need to verify claim papers online by digitally signing it off. Even if either one of the employers has registered its digital signatures, you should be able to transfer your money online.

To check whether your employers are registered, you can go to www.epfindia.com and click on the OTCP under the “for employees" section. To do this, you will first need both the older and the new account details. Fill in this information at the right place and find out whether you are eligible for the transfer or not. If you find yourself not eligible, you will have to fill the hard copy of the required forms and submit to your current office. If eligible, the process ahead is simple.

You will need to first register yourself online on the member portal, then fill the transfer form (Form 13), and submit it for attestation with the employer that has registered its digital signature. After your details are verified by your employer, EPFO will process your transfer.

Friend’s in the details

For filling the form, you will need some information such as EPF details of the previous employer, date of joining and leaving that organization, EPF details of the present employer, the date of joining and the like. You should also keep your bank account details and the Indian Financial System Code code handy. Subsequently you will need to fill up the details of the previous employer. Your employer would have given you EPF slips every year showing the yearly balance in your account, or your salary slips would have your EPF account number.

When you key in your EPF account number, the name of the previous employer and the regional provident fund office that maintains the account of this employer will appear. You will then need to fill up your date of birth, which the EPFO will cross-check with its records. In case you have the wrong date of birth, the EPFO will block you for online transfer after three attempts. You will then have to take the process offline. EPFO will, however, unblock your account after a few days. You will also have to key in the EPF account number of the current employer and mention the date of joining. It may automatically pop up if EPFO has this information ready.

Your form is now complete and ready to get verified by either of the employers. You will only be able to get your form attested by the employer whose digital signature is registered. If both are registered you could choose either for attestation, but choosing your previous employer means a faster settlement. Once the form is attested, EPFO begins the process. You will also need to take a printout, sign it and submit it with the employer you chose for attestation. This isn’t mandatory but your employer may need it for its records and may not verify your details until the form is submitted.

What it means

Mint Money recommends that you always transfer your money to your current EPF account so that you can build a decent retirement corpus to address your pension needs. This online transfer facility introduces a greater level of accountability.

With OTCP, the EPF authorities are in the loop the minute a transfer is initiated. Now EPFO acts as a mediator which puts greater accountability on employers to sign off on the form on time. You can also check the status of transfer through your member portal account.

So, if you are one of those who have multiple provident fund accounts, there may not be a better chance than this to get all of them in one place. Who knows, maybe you are richer than you think you are.

Under one roof

* Your previous employer or the current one or both should have digital signatures registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO

* Submit your account details on the EPFO website (www.epfindia.com) to check for eligibility

* If all’s well, register yourself, fill the transfer form and submit it to the employer that has a registered digital signature

* The employer will approve your application and send to EPFO for further processing

* If not eligible, you will have to make do with filling and submitting physical forms.

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