Difference Between NEFT, RTGS & IMPS

With the help of online fund transfer methods or digital payment systems like NEFT, RTGS and IMPS, now bank account holders can send and receive money from anywhere anytime. They don’t have to visit the bank or wait for days to receive money. These digital payment systems in India have made fund transfer from one bank account to another much easier and faster. Today, almost all banks and companies are adopting these payment modes to make their job easier and convenient. Let us discuss the features and differences between these three online fund transfer methods in detail. 


Methods to Transfer Fund Online

There are various methods of transferring money online in India, such as UPI, digital wallets, etc. However, three most commonly used methods of online fund transfer are NEFT, RTGS, and IMPS. NEFT and RTGS were introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and IMPS was introduced by NPCI or National Payments Corporation of India. 

NEFT: NEFT full form is National Electronic Funds Transfer. It is an online payment system that enables one-to-one fund transfer. You can electronically transfer money from your bank account to the bank account of another person with NEFT. NEFT based fund transfers do not happen in real-time. Fund transfer through NEFT settles in 23 half-hourly batches and that is the main RTGS and NEFT difference.

RTGS: RTGS full form is Real-Time Gross Settlement. It is another online payment system wherein the money is credited to the beneficiary’s account in real-time. The main difference between NEFT and RTGS is that RTGS is primarily meant for transactions of large value that require immediate clearing.

Immediate Mobile Payment Services (IMPS): The IMPS full form is an instant real-time inter-bank fund transfer system. It is managed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). Unlike NEFT and RTGS, IMPS is available 24x7 throughout the year including bank holidays.

Comparison between NEFT, RTGS and IMPS

Full FormNEFT stands for National Electronic Funds TransferIMPS stands for Immediate Mobile Payment ServicesRTGS stands for Real-Time Gross Settlement
Settlement TimeHalf hourly batchesReal-time Real-time
Minimum Transfer LimitRs. 1Rs. 1Rs. 2 Lakhs
Maximum Transfer LimitRs. 1Rs. 2 LakhsNo limit
Service Timings24×7 365 days24×7 365 days24×7 365 days
Transaction ChargesNil for inward transactions done for credit to beneficiary accounts at destination bank branchesDecided by the individual member banks & PPIs. 

Nil for inward & online transactions

For outward transactions: Up to Rs. 25 for Rs. 2 Lakhs to Rs. 5 Lakhs and up to Rs. 50 for above Rs. 5 Lakhs. GST is also applicable

Payment OptionsOnline & offlineOnlineOnline & offline

Things to Know Before Fund Transfer

  • The Reserve Bank of India has waived the processing charges for RTGS transactions. 
  • Inward transactions : It is free, that is, no charge has to be imposed.
  • There will be charges for outward transactions. Up to Rs. 24.5 for transactions between Rs. 2 to 5 Lakhs and up to Rs. 49.5 for transactions above Rs. 5 Lakhs.
  • Customers have to provide some information to the bank for initiating an IMPS, NEFT or RTGS remittance. This includes the amount to be remitted, and name, account number and bank branch with IFSC code of the beneficiary, and so on.
  • if there is a mismatch between the IFSC code and account number, the system will not accept the entry.
  • After adding a beneficiary, there is a cooling period of 30 minutes within which you cannot transact.
  • During the 30 minutes cooling period, some banks send text notifications to customers on their registered mobile numbers for confirming the account number of the beneficiary being added. Reconfirmation of the account number can be done by customers again at this stage.
  • As per RBI, the responsibility to provide correct information in the payment instructions rests with the remitter or originator.

Difference Between NEFT, RTGS & IMPS FAQs

What are the NEFT timings?


From the year 2020, NEFT transactions can be done 24*7. This step was taken to promote digital transactions and global integration of financial markets.

What is the NEFT transfer limit?


You can transfer as low as Rs. 1 through NEFT meaning National Electronic Funds Transfer. The maximum NEFT transfer limit depends on the bank. For example, SBI allows up to Rs. 10 Lakhs per day through NEFT, HDFC and ICICI allows Rs. 25 Lakhs per day, and so on. 

Are NEFT transactions chargeable?


No, RBI has removed all the applicable charges from 1 January 2021 on online NEFT transactions.

What are RTGS timings?


The RTGS timings are very convenient. RTGS system is available on a 24x7 basis on all 365 days in a year. With this flexible RTGS transfer time, the money is transferred to the beneficiary account in real time.

What is the RTGS transfer limit?


RTGS transfers or  transactions have no amount cap. The RTGS limit varies from bank to bank. For example, RTGS minimum amount limit for HDFC is Rs. 2 Lakhs and maximum Rs. 25 Lakhs, ICICI and SBI allows Rs. 2 Lakhs to Rs. 10 Lakhs, and so on.

Are RTGS transactions chargeable?


No charges are levied for RTGS transactions for online transfers. For RTGS meaning Real-Time Gross Settlement, transactions completed at a bank branch, Rs. 15 plus GST is levied.

What are NEFT and RTGS charges?


There are nil charges for NEFT. For RTGS payment, the charges vary from nil (for online transfers) to Rs. 15 + GST (transaction is completed at a bank branch).

What is the minimum amount for an IMPS transfer?


You can transfer minimum Rs. 1 to maximum up to Rs. 2 Lakhs through IMPS.

Are there any extra charges for an IMPS transfer?


Under IMPS, there are no service charges on transactions up to Rs. 1,000. For transactions from Rs. 1,001 to Rs. 10,000, Rs. 2 + GST will be charged; for transactions of Rs. 10,001 to Rs. 1 Lakh, Rs. 4 + GST is charged; and for amount above Rs. 1 Lakh up to Rs. 2 Lakhs, charges of Rs. 12 + GST are applied.

Which mode of payment between NEFT or RTGS is faster?


The faster form of payment between NEFT vs RTGS depends on the urgency and the amount of transaction. For a transaction above Rs. 2 Lakhs, RTGS is a faster and more effective payment mode. However, for lower amount transactions, NEFT is more efficient.

Is RTGS mode of payment safe?


Yes, as RTGS is maintained by the RBI, it is a risk-free method of funds. Transactions are carried out on a real-time basis through RTGS and there is no room for delay.

How many times can NEFT transactions be done in a day?


Presently, NEFT operates in half hourly batches. So, there are 48 half-hourly batches every day. The system is available on a 24 x 7 basis on all days of the year, including holidays.