The public provident fund (PPF) is one of the most popular long-term savings-cum-investment schemes offered by the Central Government. It is a safe and tax-free investment option that comes with a lock-in period of 15 years. You may invest a minimum amount is INR 500 per year with the maximum capped at INR 1.50 lakhs per annum. You may also avail of a loan against your PPF account balance.
A PPF account can be opened with a nationalized bank or the local post office (PO). Private banks also allow you to open a PPF account. You may open one by submitting the application form to any of these financial institutions.
Why is it important to check the PPF balance?
Although you invest every year, you may not regularly do a PPF balance check often. However, it is important to periodically check the balance for the following reasons:
- You can keep track of the annual interest earned.
- It allows you to know the corpus you will accumulate over the investment horizon.
- After the fifth year, you can partially withdraw a certain amount from your account, and checking the balance periodically helps you know how much you can take out.
- You can avail of a loan against the balance in your PPF account.
Different ways to check the PPF balance
You can do a PPF account balance check either offline or online. Here is how you can do it offline.
At the bank
Visit the closest branch and check your PPF account status. The bank provides you with a passbook at the time of account opening, which comprises information like the PPF account number, branch details, transaction history, and account balance. You may update the passbook by visiting the branch at regular intervals. Most banks now offer automated facilities at kiosks that operate around the clock, allowing you to update the passbook at your convenience.
At the post office
If you are in a rural location, you may not have easy access to a bank. In such cases, you can opt for a PPF account at your nearest PO. When you open the account, you will be given a passbook comprising the aforementioned information like the account number, transaction history, and account balance. To know the balance, you need to visit the post office and update the passbook.
You can also check the PPF balance online if you open it with a bank. To do so, you need to link the bank account with your PPF account. Additionally, you should have access to activated Internet banking. Here is how to check the PPF balance online.
- Log in to your Internet banking with your user ID and password
- Check the PPF account status and balance
- You can also transfer funds from your bank account to the PPF account, download the statement, set up standing instructions, and submit a loan application online
The facility depends on your bank’s portal and varies from one institution to another.
Other methods to check your PPF account balance
Mobile app YONO
This application gives you access to the mobile banking facility and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or the App Store. You will receive an mPIN, which can be used to log into the app and the username is the same as your Internet banking ID. When you log in the first time, use the mPIN and one-time password (OTP) to change the password. You can then check the PPF balance under the ‘My Deposits’ section.
To do a PPF balance check via SMS, you need to give a missed call to 9223766666. You may also type ‘BAL’ and send a message on the same number to know the balance.
What are the options available on maturity?
Knowing the PPF balance helps you to plan for future finances. Here are the options that are available on maturity.
- Withdraw the entire accumulated corpus along with the interest earnings.
- Extend the account without investing any more funds; you may withdraw any amount from the balance once a year.
- Extend the account with additional investments; you need to submit Form H to the bank and withdrawal of up to 60% of the balance is available.
The extension (with or without additional investments) can be done for five years.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
How does a PPF account work?
It is a tax-free investment option offered by the Government of India with a 15-year lock-in period. At the end of five years, you can partially withdraw from the accumulated funds. On maturity, you can either withdraw the full amount or extend your account for an additional period of five years.
How many times can one deposit money into their PPF account?
As per the regulatory guidelines, two deposits per month are allowed. However, the total number of deposits during a year cannot exceed 12 times.
How is the interest calculated?
The Government of India declares the applicable rate of interest every quarter.
Is it possible to open a joint PPF account?
No, joint PPF accounts are not available as every individual can have only one account.
Can a minor have a PPF account?
Yes, legal guardians or parents can open a PPF account on behalf of the minor by submitting the necessary documents.
How to build a significant corpus in the PPF account?
You must invest regularly to build a large corpus. Additionally, putting in money at the beginning of the financial year helps you earn more interest, thereby increasing the PPF account balance.
Why is the PPF account balance less?
Some reasons for a low account balance are as follows:
- Rate of interest changes every quarter.
- Any amount deposited after the 5th of the month earns interest only in the next month.
- Interest calculation is done on 31st March, which is at the end of the financial year.
- There are some deductions made against a loan taken on your PPF balance.
Can the account be closed before maturity?
No, the PPF account cannot be closed before 15 years; however, partial withdrawal at the end of five years is available.
Are there any charges for not making payments towards the PPF account?
Yes, a fine of Rs.50 is levied if you do not make a minimum contribution of Rs.500 every financial year.
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