Public Provident Fund or commonly known as PPF is one of the best savings schemes offered by the Government of India. Every Indian citizen can open a PPF account either in a post office or any bank branch. One can invest from Rs.500 to Rs.1.5 lakh per year in his account with up to 12 deposits in a year. A PPF account comes with a 15 year lock-in period along with a partial withdrawal/premature closure facility after 6 and 5 years respectively. Loan against PPF is also available along with tax benefits under section 80C of the Income Tax Act. With interest rates as high as 8% per annum, one can expect to have guaranteed and good returns on the invested amount.
What is PPF?
Stands for Public Provident Fund, PPF is a long-term investment scheme offered by the Government of India. It is available at an attractive interest rate hence one can expect to have good returns on the amount invested. Every Indian citizen can open a PPF account either in a post office or bank branch. An individual can start investing with Rs.500 and goes up to Rs.1.5 lakh in a financial year. And, a maximum number of 12 deposits are allowed in a year. However, a PPF account has a clause of 15 year lock-in period which means an individual is not supposed to withdraw the money before the said tenure.
However, premature closure of the account is allowed after 5 years on medical & educational grounds. And, partial withdrawal is also allowed after 6 years with certain charges being levied. A loan is also given against PPF and under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, an individual can also enjoy tax benefits.
Eligibility For PPF
- Any individual of age 18 or above and a resident of India can only open a PPF account.
- An individual can only open one PF Account under his/her name.
- Additionally, parents/guardians can also open PPF accounts for their minor children.
- NRIs and Hindu Undivided Families(HUFs) are not eligible to open PPF accounts.
- However, a resident Indian who has become an NRI after opening a PPF account can continue the account till maturity.
- Opening of joint accounts and multiple accounts are not allowed.
Documents for PPF
- PPF Account Opening Form (Form A) can be obtained from a post office, bank branch or can be downloaded online
- ID proof
- Address proof
- Photograph of the account holder
- Nomination form
PPF at a Glance:
|On What Grounds
|After 15 Years
|After 6 Years
|Premature Account Closure
|After 5 Years
How to Open a PPF Account?
You can open a PPF Account online as many banks provide the same provision. To open the account, you must follow the following steps:
PPF Login and Registration Process
Step 1: You must have an account with the bank you are going to open your PPF account with
Step 2: Log in to the net banking
Step 3: Click in the option that allows you to ‘Open a PPF Account’
Step 4: Choose the relevant option between a ‘self account’ and a ‘minor account’
Step 5: Enter the required information such as nominee details, bank details, etc.
Step 6: Verify details like your Permanent Account Number (PAN), etc. that is shown on the screen
Step 7: After verifying the details, enter the amount that you wish to deposit in your PPF account
Step 8: You will be asked to set up standing instructions that enable the bank to deduct the amount at fixed intervals or in a lump sum
Step 9: After you make your choice, you will receive an OTP on your registered mobile number
Step 10: Once this verification is done, your PPF account gets opened. You are advised to save the account number that is displayed on the screen for future reference
Step 11: Certain banks may even ask you to submit the hard copy of the details entered along with the reference number and submit it to the respective bank with your KYC details
Note: Different banks have a different process for PPF Account opening. However, the general steps remain the same.
Online PPF Calculator
Don’t know how to calculate PPF returns? Use a smart and versatile tool known as PPF Calculator. Yes, it is widely used to calculate returns on your invested amount. Take a look at the features of the calculator below as it helps to:
- Calculate the return that you will get on your investment
- Plan your investments, and invest towards in a desired financial goal
- Helps you to know withdrawal limits
An individual can easily withdraw his money online. He can either choose to withdraw the amount after maturity or opt for partial withdrawal. However, one can also go for premature account closure and withdraw the accumulated amount.
Maturity: Individuals can close the PPF account only after the completion of the 15 years. Once the 15 years is completed, the account holder can withdraw the entire amount that has been saved in the account as well as the interest that has been generated.
Partial Withdrawal: In the case of partial withdrawal, the fund is available after the completion of 6 years of opening the account. An account holder can withdraw only 50% of the total money here.
Premature Withdrawal/Closure: After the completion of 5 years, an account can choose to pre close his account. He can withdraw the entire PPF money.
Note: However, an account holder is allowed to make withdrawals only once a year.
PPF Interest Rate
The current interest rate is 8% per annum. However, different banks offer different rates to individuals. Thus, it would be advisable to check and compare the rates before opening your PF account.
PPF Maturity Tenure
PPF account’s maturity tenure is 15 years which means it comes with a lock-in period clause. However, an individual can opt for partial withdrawal and premature closure after 6 and 5 years respectively. Moreover, at maturity, one can also extend his PPF Account indefinitely in blocks of 5 years at a time.
Minimum and Maximum Contribution
The minimum annual contribution to a PPF Account is Rs.500 while the maximum is Rs.1.5 lakh. There can be a maximum of 12 contributions in a year. However, the maximum limit applies to contributions made by a person for himself and for a minor child, both.
PPF Tax Benefits
Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, the interest earned during the PPF tenure is exempted from the tax liability. The PPF Deposit of up to Rs.1.5 lakh is liable to the exemption and the amount to be received on maturity is also tax-free.
Both bank and post office PPF account holders can transfer their accounts from one bank to another, or from one post office branch to another or bank. Here is how you can do it.
Transferring within the same bank branch or post office
If you want to transfer within the same bank or post office, then the process is quite simple. You have to visit your existing branch and submit an application to change the branch.
Note: The process can take one to seven days depending on the bank or post office branch.
Transferring from post office to bank and vice versa
Step 1: Visit your existing bank/post office branch along with your PPF passbook.
Step 2: You will be required to submit a transfer application request. On the application form, you will be required to mention the full address of the post office/bank’s branch where you wish to transfer your PPF account.
Step 3: Upon receiving your PPF transfer application request, the existing branch will start the process. Collect the receipt of the transfer request. The existing branch will send the following documents to the new branch:
a) Certified copy of the account
b) Original Account opening application form
c) Nomination form
d) Specimen of your signatures
e) A cheque or demand draft of the outstanding balance
f) Existing PPF passbook
Step 4: Once the new bank /post office branch receives your documents from the old branch, the branch officials will intimate you about the receipt of your documents.
Step 5: At the new branch, you will be required to submit the fresh account opening form, change of nomination form, if any and original passbook.
Step 6: Carry your photographs, PAN card, address proof such as Aadhaar card, voter’s ID as your bank might ask you to undergo the know-your-customer (KYC) process again.
Note: The transfer process can take up to one month.
Loan Against PPF
Account-holders have the option of taking a Personal loan against his/her investments made in the account at competitive interest rates. Loan against a Public Provident Fund account can be availed between the third and sixth financial year of opening the account. An amount of only 25% of the investments made at the end of the second financial year preceding the year in which the loan was applied for can be availed. The interest on the loan is fixed at 2% more than the interest earned on the balance in the PPF account, implying that the changes in the interest on PPF account affect the interest on loan against PPF account as well. It must be noted that once the interest rate is set for a loan, there is no change in the interest rate till the duration of the loan ends.
However, if the account holder fails to repay the loan within 36 months, the applicable interest rate will rise to 6% more than the interest earned. And, if the borrower manages to repay the principal amount within the loan tenure but fails to repay a part of the interest amount, then the remaining amount will be deducted from the Public Provident Fund Account balance of the individual. Also, a borrower cannot apply for a second loan unless and until he has not repaid his first loan entirely.
How to Check PPF Account Balance Online
You can easily check your PPF account balance online. However, there are a few steps that you need to follow.
Step 1: Before you begin, ensure that your net banking with your bank account is active
Step 2: Log in to your PPF account using your internet banking credentials
Step 3: Once you log in, your current PPF account balance will be displayed on the screen
- Logging in to your PPF account using internet banking allows you to transfer funds to your PPF account online.
- Set up standing instructions for your PPF account.
- Download your PPF account statement
- Submit your PPF loan application, etc.
How to Know Your PPF Withdrawal Status
You can check the claim status of your PPF online via net banking. You just need to follow a few simple steps online.
Step 1: Log into your account and begin the claim process.
Step 2: It must be kept in mind that the claim status can only be checked on only once you’ve logged into your account and started the claim process.
Step 3: Some banks only accept PPF deposits online, in this case, the PPF withdrawal claim can only be checked online.
Step 4: If the PPF account has been created in a post office, the claim status can be checked by a simple process of inquiring from the same post office.
Features and Benefits of PPF Account
- Long Term Investment Option
- Tax Exemptions
- Partial Withdrawal
- Premature Closure/Withdrawal
- Loan Against a PPF Account
- Maximum Deposit of up to Rs.1.5 lakh
- Guaranteed Returns
- Attractive Interest Rates
- Lock-in Period of 15 Years
Forms Required as per PPF Schemes
Form A: For Opening Public Provident Account
Form B: To make a deposit into the account OR to repay the loan taken
Form C:For obtaining partial withdrawals
Form D: Request a loan against PPF Account
Form E: For Nominee request
Form F: To make any changes in the information related to PPF account
Form G:To claim the funds on the account by a legal heir or nominee
Form H:To extend the time-period of the account after its maturity
Things to Keep in Mind
If you want to transfer your PPF account requires you to undergo the KYC process again along with filing up of fresh forms, the transfer of account will be considered as a continuing account. Therefore, all benefits such as premature withdrawal, loan facility will not be affected.
Due to the transfer process, a new PPF passbook will be issued to you and your outstanding balance will be shown as a credit of balance transfer. It is advisable to take a photocopy of the old passbook for record of old transactions.
How to Extend your Existing PPF Account
Soon after your PPF account matures, you can opt to extend the account without fresh deposits or with fresh deposits. Both the processes are different and have their own terms and conditions. However, for better clarity, you can get in touch with your respective bank.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Who can open a PPF Account?
A.Any Indian citizen above 18 years of age can open a PPF Account.
Q.What is the current rate of interest on PPF?
A.Currently, the banks are offering an interest rate of 8% per annum.
Q.What are the tax benefits under my PPF Account?
A.Under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, an amount of Rs.1.5 lakh is exempted from the tax liability.
Q.Do I need to mention a nominee while opening a PF Account?
A.Yes, a PF account holder needs to mention a nominee, who is eligible to reap the benefits in case of uncertainty happens with primary account holder.
Q. Can I invest more than Rs.1.5 lakh in my PPF Account?
A.Yes, you can invest more than Rs.1.5 lakh in your PPF Account in a financial year but no interest or tax benefit will be earned on the excess amount. Because as per Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, total tax deduction per financial year is Rs.1.5 lakh only.
Q.Can I have two PPFs accounts?
A.No, a person only has one PPF Account. However, a family is eligible to have multiple PPF Accounts.
Q.Can I withdraw my PPF amount before maturity?
A.Though a PPF scheme comes with a 15 year lock-in period but partial and premature withdrawal is also allowed.
Q.What is the minimum amount required to open a PPF Account?
A.The minimum amount to open a PPF Account is Rs.500.