IFSC or Indian Financial System Code, is a unique serial number assigned by the Reserve Bank of India to specific branches belonging to various banks in India. Banks in India have to register for the Electronic Funds Transfer system, with the RBI monitoring all the fund transfers happening between the banks. As a pre-requirement for banks participating in this system, they need to have net banking enabled and also provide the bank identification characters to their customers.
Decoding the IFSC code
IFSC code is an 11 digit code, consisting of a combination of alphanumeric characters. The code can be broken down into three sections as per the example shown below –
HDFC Bank Thippasandra Branch Bangalore IFSC Code– HDFC0000832
HDFC – The first four digits represent the bank to which the particular branch belongs to.In this case it is a Bangalore Thippasandra branch of HDFC.
0 – The zero in the middle is marked as a control character and kept for future use.
000832 – The last six digits are generally numbers which are unique to every HDFC branch across the country. These numbers are not repeated anywhere in India.
Where is an IFSC code used?
Funds transfers done via net banking use the NEFT and the RTGS platforms in India. The account holder’s bank must be a participant in these RBI regulated fund transfer systems for a customer to enjoy full benefits. Online transfers are not limited to individuals but corporate firms and businesses can also enjoy the advantage of using net banking. NEFT has no limit on fund transfers and the beneficiary receives the funds within 24 to 48 hours of the transfer. RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement) is one of the fastest mode of transfer, with a cap on the minimum amount being Rs 1, 00,000. The funds are transferred within 2 hours of initiation. For both modes of transfers, an IFSC code should be mandatorily used. Only on entering a particular branch IFSC code does a customer actually complete his transaction during intra-bank transfers within India. An IFSC code is not valid for international fund transfers. Another electronic fund transfer platform IMPS, is also used in India, which requires MICR codes for fund transfers.
How do you find an IFSC code?
The Reserve Bank of India lists out the banks that have taken part in the Electronic Funds Transfer system on its official website for the benefit of Indian customers. The IFSC codes, branch addresses, branch locations and NEFT status of different banks can be found on third party finance websites and also on the specific bank websites. Most of the Indian Banks print the IFSC code of a particular branch and associated MICR code on cheque leaves provided to customers. Any customer can easily get an IFSC code from the customer care help desk of a particular bank for performing online transactions. This set of unique identification numbers are constantly changed by RBI and a bank customer should keep track of these modifications to make transfers without any hassles. A bank account holder should also remember that using the wrong IFSC code might hinder his transactions online.