Online EPF Balance Checking through e-passbook

Gone are the days when one had to stand in queue to get access to their account details and EPF balance in their provident fund. Those dark ages have been dispelled due to the Employees Provident Fund Organisation opening up a portal that allows easy access to one’s provident fund details online. So, how does that actually work?

Employees Provident Fund

EPF or Employees Provident Fund is commonly called as provident fund by many of us. It is a pension fund that gets contributions both from you and your employer(s). The contribution is limited to 12% of the employee’s basic wages, dearness allowance and retaining allowance (if there). The total contribution from both parties thus adds up to 24%.

Earlier, in order to check the EPF balance and the funds in the PF account, one had to have a hard copy of the PF passbook that would be checked at the bank and relevant details matched up before the cashier or checker could update the EPF balance in the passbook as and when asked. Some people even had the habit of getting to check it every month. That now has become an easier way through the online porting of the EPF system. Hard copies of passbooks are no longer being issued by EPFO.

EPF balance

E-passbook and how it works

E-passbook is basically the same old passbook that was available to employees but now it has an online form. It bears a record of the employee’s PF status and transactions done as per the date on which they were carried out. It is to be noted that the facility of e-passbook will be available online to active members, not to inactive accounts or accounts with negative balance. If a PF account has been closed, online passbook will not be available.

One needs to register on the EPFO website in order to gain access to the e-passbook. If you have uploaded your Electronic Challan cum Return for the salary or wage of May 2012 or later, you would be eligible for this facility. There would be no new username or password created. One government approved ID proof and the associated phone number can be used to log in. One needs to add the EPF account number and name and then click on the ‘Get PIN’ button. A PIN will be sent by SMS to the registered mobile phone and the same can be used to download the e-passbook.

The following steps will be needed to download the e-passbook and access account details therein –

  1. Log in to the EPFO website
  2. Registration needs to be completed by providing a government ID and name
  3. The mobile number and date of birth need to be mentioned
  4. Optional miscellaneous details can be filled in
  5. ‘Get PIN’ button to be actuated
  6. PIN is received through SMS on the registered mobile number
  7. PIN needs to be updated on the link
  8. The document number and mobile number can be used to log in
  9. Download e-passbook
  10. Select the PF office State
  11. Select the PF Office
  12. Mention the company PF code and employee PF account number
  13. Mention the employee name and click on ‘Get PIN’
  14. Another PIN is received on the mobile phone
  15. The second PIN is to be updated on the provided link
  16. The updated e-passbook will be available on the same page after 3 days
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All you need to know about MUDRA Bank

India is on the verge of becoming a key economic player in the world, but despite the growth, it continues to do injustice to its ability. With over 1.2 billion people, a large chunk of whom are young and ambitious, India has tremendous potential to achieve greatness, provided we overcome the biggest hurdle, finance. With money playing a key role in creating money, a number of talented and enterprising individuals end up ditching their plans, thereby pushing the country back instead of taking it ahead. The government, on its part initiated a new scheme to ensure that finance doesn’t kill the dreams and visions of its talented people.

What is MUDRA?

Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency, or MUDRA Bank as it is commonly known is a new government scheme launched by the Prime Minister of India in 2015. This scheme aims to provide financial support to Micro, Small and Medium industries, helping them reach their goals without having finances stop them in their tracks. Given the potential for growth in the small and medium sectors, this refinance program hopes to give the best facilities for members of the society.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not a bank which offers loans to members of the society directly, rather it is just a policy which has been designed to ensure that smooth financial support is provided to those who require it. Financial support under this scheme can be availed from intermediaries, i.e., micro finance organisations, banks or non-banking financial companies who indulge in the practice of lending money directly to consumers.

Reason for MUDRA to be established

The Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana was launched with an objective of creating a healthy atmosphere for small and medium enterprises to grow and develop in the country. Given the fact that there is a 90% gap between financial requirements and actual finance in this sector, Mudra Bank aims to be the bridge between these two numbers, facilitating easy availability of loans for entrepreneurs.

Some of the other objectives of MUDRA are mentioned below.

  • Boost the growth and economy of the country by offering financial assistance
  • Ensure that a system is in place for people to utilise the credit facilities, ensuring that dreams can be realised
  • Provide guidance to members on how to utilise the financial support, helping them maximise their revenue.

Mudra Loan for Small Business

Roles and Responsibility of MUDRA

The primary role of MUDRA is to be the last mile financier for all intermediaries who provide direct financial assistance to the consumer. This includes ensuring that all banks, non-banking financial companies, societies and trusts have sufficient funds to provide loans to the needy under this scheme. Apart from this, MUDRA is also responsible for interaction with state and regional intermediaries, ensuring that the final loan provider gets sufficient funds.

Eligibility for MUDRA Loan

The MUDRA Scheme was introduced with an aim to ensure that financial assistance needs those who need it, and making strict eligibility criteria would dilute its purpose. Therefore, this scheme is perhaps the quickest and easiest ways to get finance in the country today, with the basic eligibility criteria mentioned below.

  • Individuals engaged in small or micro unit business, including manufacturers, vendors, artists, repairmen, etc.
  • There are no educational qualifications to be met to avail financial assistance.
  • Financial assistance cannot be availed by companies or corporates which are involved in heavy scale manufacturing.
  • Financial assistance can be availed by both men and women.

MUDRA Loan Interest rate

Given the fact that this is not a direct loan scheme, there is no fixed interest rate for the money borrowed. Banks and other lending institutions can charge interest as per the directives of the Reserve Bank of India, keeping in mind the purpose of this loan.

Facts about credit card EMIs

Most often we do not have time to think of an easy payment option when we are in the store trying to buy an electronic item or apparels or home accessories. But if you make the purchase through credit card, you can convert the purchase into an EMI option if it is available with your card. Though the downside of this is that you will have to pay a substantial processing fee, you can convert the amount into EMIs and ensure that you won’t be missing out on the payments.

Facts about credit card

For instance if you have made a purchase of Rs.48,000 electronic appliance and opted for an easy finance option in the year 2014, you will complete the payment of the same in the year 2016. Though you might have to pay around Rs.16,000 to Rs.20,000 initially, the rest will be converted to EMIs. But you can also choose the EMI option through your credit card and get the complete amount converted to EMI subject to a processing fee and interest fee that will be charged by your bank. Taking an EMI option on your credit card seems like a good idea but there are some factors that you must be aware of. They are as follows:

Not all credit cards allow you to convert your purchases to EMIs

The cards with a higher credit limit usually do not offer this facility. Some other banks may wait till 3-5 bills are generated and based on how you have made the payments decide to offer you the EMI facility. Check with your bank if they offer you the EMI facility first and then make a big value purchase on your credit card.

EMI facilities are offered above a certain amount spent

Some banks have a limit of Rs.3,000 to Rs.5,000 and they will not go ahead with your request if you want an EMI facility for any amount below the limit.

Check if you e-commerce website has a tie up with your bank

When you are making purchases online and if your credit card is not available in the list of the cards of EMI schemes, then you must apply for it through your bank’s website or have a word with the customer care. You can ask the bank to convert your purchase made through your credit card to EMIs.

Credit card limit will be reduced

If you avail the EMI facility, then your credit card limit will get reduced to the amount of the purchase. If for example your credit card limit is Rs.45,000 and you have made a purchase of Rs.20,000 on your card that you have converted to EMI, your available credit limit will come down to Rs.25,000 and you must be careful not to spend more than the limit. If you are dependent on your credit card a lot, then you must take this into consideration and then decide if you can manage with the reduced credit limit.

Interest rates will vary from bank to bank

If the interest rate offered by your bank is attractive, then go ahead and take the EMI facility, but if the interest charged is higher, then do not take it as it will just increase the amount you will have to pay. The interest rates offered by the banks vary. So consider this as one of the factors while you are taking a credit card. Make use of the EMI calculator to determine how much you will end up paying towards the purchase.

Be aware of the above and then take an informed decision if you want your purchase to be converted to EMI or not.

Atal Pension Yojana in State Bank of India

Atal Pension Yojana

Atal Pension Yojana is a pension scheme launched by the Government of India which is mainly targeted at the unorganised sector of the society. The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in the year 2015. In this scheme, the individual invests a fixed amount every month until they reach the age of 60 years and will be entitled to a certain amount of pension every month after that. The individual has to be a resident of India and between the ages of 18 years and 40 years in order to be eligible for the scheme.

Atal Pension Yojana

 

Key features of Atal Pension Yojana

Listed below are the key features of Atal Pension Yojana

  • It is a government backed pension scheme
  • Available only to the residents of India
  • The applicant must be between the ages of 18 and 40 years
  • The individual will start receiving the pension amount at the age of 60 years
  • Monthly premium will be debited from the investor’s account every month
  • Guaranteed minimum pension of Rs.1000 every month

 

How to open a Atal Pension Yojana with State Bank of India?

Listed below are the steps to be followed in order to open a Atal Pension Yojana with the State Bank of India.

  • The applicant can download the Atal Pension Yojana Form from the official website of State Bank of India or one can also avail a hard copy from any branch of Stae Bank of India
  • The applicant needs to fill in the accurate details in the form
  • Though it is not mandatory, it is always better to attach a copy of one’s AAdhar card along with the form if you are opting for Atal Pension Yojana.
  • The applicant needs to fill in the pension amount that they want to avail after the age of 60 years.
  • The premium to be paid can be calculated easily once the individual decides on the desired pension amount.
  • One has to provide their savings account number in the form
  • In case of absence of a savings account number, one has the option of opening it in the same branch in normal condition or under Jan Dhan Yojana.
  • Once the account number is provided, the premium for every month will be directly deducted from the account automatically given that the individual has already opted for the pension amount
  • Though this is not necessary, it is always good to enquire the bank officials as to if they need any additional documents once you submit the form to ensure you complete all the formalities.

Advantages of investing in the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Yojana

The Sukanya Samriddhi Account is a small savings scheme launched by the Indian government. Accounts can only be opened by (and for) female children, and offers among the highest rates of interest of any savings account.

Sukanya Samriddhi Account

The following are few of the advantages of the Sukanya Samriddhi Account:

  • High interest rate: The interest rate for the Sukanya Samriddhi Account in the year 2015 – 2016 was 9.2%. It was among the highest returns offered by a savings account. It’s interesting to note, however, that the rates for this account are linked to market rates, and will keep changing based on market rates.
  • Interest saving: The funds deposited in the account are totally exempted from taxes under Section 80C. Interest earned and final proceeds are also totally exempted from Income Tax.
  • Lock-in investment: The investment period is locked, and the total amount can only be withdrawn when the girl child reaches the age of 21 years. An amount of up to 50% of the value of the funds in the Sukanya Samriddhi account can be withdrawn when the girl child reaches 18 years.
  • Addresses social problems: The scheme enables the majority of backward thinking parents in this country to avoid social evils like female foeticide, avoiding educating the girl child, etc.
  • Maturity amount: The amount gathered in the Sukanya Samriddhi account at the end of the maturity period will only be paid to the girl child in whose name the account has been opened, and no one else – thus avoiding the problem of previous girl-child empowerment programs in which the parents of the children usually use the money for themselves.

 

Loan Against Property – Is it worth it?

Land and property- these two simple elements were the reason for hundreds of wars spanning continents, involving thousands of people. Today, the reasons for wars mightn’t shifted but owning property is still a desire burning in the hearts of billions.

India and its infatuation with property

Indians have always considered land crucial for their existence, with generations upon generations striving to preserve and utilize the land they own. Today, with shrinking spaces in cities and towns, owning land is harder than it ever was, pushing people to their limit to own a property. For the lucky few who manage to buy or inherit a property, a pathway to enjoy the endless possibilities of life is opened. A property not only offers safety and comfort, it also becomes a source to make money, thereby improving the overall quality of life, leading to prosperity, not just of an individual but often the entire community.

Loan against Property

A property is a huge asset, and knowing its worth can benefit owners tremendously. In a world where money rules the roost, a property is a safe and effective way to push your bank balance, even if it means it is through a loan. A number of banks offer loans against properties to fulfill your requirements, be it to open a new business, expand an existing one, sponsor the education of your child, make wedding arrangements or just take a vacation and enjoy the world. These loans can be availed against your property, i.e. by keeping it as a collateral in exchange for a certain sum of money.

Given the fact that a number of us have unused or underutilized properties, a loan against such property could help us maximize revenue out of it, providing an excellent opportunity for growth and development.

Advantages of loan against property

There are a number of advantages of a loan against property, some of which are highlighted below.

  • Faster approval – Banks and lending institutions realize the value of a property in the country and are willing to offer quicker loans to individuals in lieu of their property. Simple processing and hassle-free documentation could see you get a loan against your property in a matter of hours.
  • Higher amounts – Banks are more than happy to provide higher amounts against properties, as the collateral is a safe bet for them. It is possible to get amounts up to 80-90% of the property value, thereby providing adequate finances to live any dream a borrower might have.
  • Low interest rates – Compared to a personal loan, loans against properties attract a lower interest rate, thereby ensuring that repayment doesn’t become an additional burden. Borrowers can save almost 5% when compared to personal loans.
  • Long tenures – Loans against properties typically have long tenures, ranging from 10 to 25 years, thereby spreading out the repayment burden. This means that a borrower will have to pay lower EMIs to clear the loan.
  • Debt consolidation – A loan against property can be used as a debt consolidation tool, providing an avenue to repay existing loans.
  • Multipurpose loan – The amount availed can be used for any legitimate purpose, helping a borrower meets his/her requirement.
loan-against-property2

Apply Loan against Property Online

Disadvantages of loan against property

While it is hard to imagine any drawbacks of a loan against property, there are a few small factors which could be considered disadvantages.

  • Loan amount – A borrower is not in a position to ask for a loan amount which he/she needs, as this amount is determined by the property in question. Most banks offer loans up to a certain percentage of property value.
  • Valuation – Banks carry out independent valuation of a property and it typically tends to be lower than market rates, thereby impacting the amount one can receive.
  • Stricter norms – A borrower might have to meet stricter income regulations compared to other loans.
  • Property ownership – The bank will acquire the property in question if a borrower fails to repay the loan.

Should you take a loan against your property?

The answer to this question comes down to you – If you, as an individual are in a position to repay the loan, then a loan against property can be an excellent option. This loan has more things going its way than against it and it can be an excellent source of funds for the smart individual. So if you have an unused property and a business idea in mind, then go ahead, take a loan against this property and fulfil your vision.