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PF account access online – a model to follow?

May 26, 2011

With a 9.5 percent interest rate and attached tax benefits, provident fund (PF) is perhaps one of the most favoured investment avenues for salaried individuals.

If you have been working for a few years, you would have accumulated a decent balance by now. But can you instantly access your latest PF balance, accumulated interest and check whether your employer has been making regular contributions or not?

This will be possible soon for around 47 million subscribers of the employee provident fund organisation (EPFO), when they will be able to access their PF accounts online.

The move is bound to make the system transparent, and perhaps encourage people to actively invest in provident fund to achieve their long-term goals.

With the Direct Tax Code coming into effect from April 2012, PF would likely continue its dominance as a favoured investment and tax saving vehicle, as tax benefits on other schemes like ELSS funds cease.

Having access to your PF account 24×7 will encourage today’s tech-savvy young professionals to consider this investment option more seriously.

Though this is a welcome first step, addition of more online services (like nomination change and transfer of PF balances online) in coming years would further help investors.

But should other government organisations take a cue from what the EPFO is planning? Online account access to postal schemes like the 8 percent monthly income scheme (MIS) and the 9 percent senior citizen scheme will make tracking easier, especially for senior citizens, and increase their popularity.

Though some might still prefer to get their records updated from the post office manually or wait for their PF slips to verify entries, such value-added services will only encourage people to invest in these schemes.


Should it not have been done years before? Indian banking industry is almost fully computerised. How will the clerks and babu at EPFO earn their bribes now? Should EPFO exist to offer a guaranteed return long-term savings plan?

The writer should think and not cheerlead.

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