What is the difference between EFT and NEFT?

The banking regulator, the Reserve Bank of India has instructed banks that they should NOT use the instant funds transfer system, known as the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS), for an amount BELOW Rs.1 lakh. The new rule would come into effect from January 1,2007. For small transactions, RBI has asked banks to offer National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) which provided T+0 and T+1 settlement system (depending on the time a customer gives instruction to the bank for tranferring the fund).

The key difference between RTGS and NEFT is that while RTGS in on gross settlement basis, NEFT is on net settlement basis. Besides, RTGS facilitates online transfer, while NEFT involves four settlement cycles a day 9.30 am, 10.30 am, 12 pm and 4 pm. Thus if a customer has given instruction to its bank to transfer money through NEFT to another bank in the morning hours, money would be transferrd the same day, but if the instruction is given later during the day, money would be transferred next day.

However, RTGS facility is available in over 25000 branches, while NEFT is availabel in 9800 branches. Besides, while all commercial banks have put in place the RTGS facility, only 43 banks have purchased the software required to facilitate NEFT based transaction. RBI has instructed banks that all branches which are RTGS enabled should also provide NEFT by December 2006. Sources said that RBI also had planned to discountinue EFT-Electronic funds Transfer. This is because EFT is availabel only in 15 locations where RBI has its clearing house.

As of now, customers can access the RTGS facility only upto 3 pm and inter-bank transactions are possible upto 5 pm.