Four out of five people fear they don’t have enough savings to last through retirement. A PPF account is a reliable way to help you save. The PPF scheme can give you tax benefits now while boosting your retirement savings.
Opening a PPF account is easier than you think. You can open a PPF account in the post office, at a bank branch, or online.
Learn more here about the benefits of PPF and how to open a PPF account.
Why Open a PPF Account?
PPF full form is Public Provident Fund. A PPF account has many advantages as a retirement investment. The PPF scheme offers a combination of safety, returns, and tax savings.
The National Savings Institute in the Finance Ministry first offered the PPF in 1968. The goal of the scheme was to promote small investments and savings among average Indians.
One of the main benefits of a PPF account is stability. A PPF account isn’t linked to the market. The government backs PPF, so you have guaranteed returns.
A PPF account is a good choice for investors who prefer low-risk investments.
A PPF account brings youseveral tax benefits. It falls under the Exempt-Exempt-Exempt (EEE) tax category. You get a tax deduction on the money you invest, the interest that accrues, and the maturity amount.
You can get up to Rs 1.5 lakh deduction on the money you invest each fiscal year under section 80C of the Income Tax Act of 1961.
Loan Against Investment
You can get a loan against your PPF investment amount. You can take this loan at any time between the third year of your account activation and the sixth year. The maximum loan tenure is three years.
You can borrow up to a maximum of 25% of the total amount in the PPF account. If you fully repay the loan, you can take a second one before the sixth year.
PPF has a competitive interest rate. The Finance Ministry sets this rate every year.
The PPF interest rate of 7.1% is compounded annually. The calculation is based on the lowest amount in the account between the end of the fifth day and the end of every month. Interest credits to your account at the end of each fiscal year on March 31.
Necessary Documents to Open a PPF Account in Person
To open a PPF account in person at a bank or post office, you’ll need several documents. You’ll need some of these documents to verify an online account as well.
First, you need proof of identity. You can use documents such as:
- Driving license
- Permanent Account Number (PAN) card
- Aadhaar card
You’ll also need proof of your residential address. Proof of address can come from documents including:
- Aadhaar card
- Ration card
- Telephone bill
- Electricity bill
In addition to these documents, you’ll need two passport-size photographs. You’ll also need a pay-in-slip or a signed cheque.
To open a PPF account, you can bring all of these documents to a post office or bank branch. The representative will ask you to fill out an application form. You’ll complete the form and submit it with your other documents.
Finally, you’ll need to fill out a nomination form. This form nominates someone to receive the funds in the PPF account in the unfortunate event of your death.
Did You Know :
PPF account cannot be seized at the time of debt or other liability by any court or order unlike other financial instruments.
Opening a PPF Account in a Post Office
In the past, the only way to open a PPF account in a post office was in person. The Department of Posts recently made an online application available.
When you log in to the post office internet banking platform, the function to open a PPF account is available under “General Services.” Then you can click on “Service Requests” followed by “New Requests.”
You’ll see the option to open a PPF account.
You can choose the amount you want to deposit into the PPF account and the savings account you want to draw from. You’ll need to accept the terms and conditions and then enter your transaction password.
After you submit the application, you can view or download your deposit receipt with your PPF login.
Opening a PPF Account with a Bank
Most banks that can open PPF accounts give you the option of opening your account in person or online. Some banks don’t offer the full application process online, though. You must bring your documents into a bank branch to finish setting up your account.
The banks with authorisation to open PPF accounts include:
- Allahabad Bank
- Axis Bank
- Bank of Baroda
- Bank of India
- Bank of Maharashtra
- Canara Bank
- Central Bank of India
- Corporation Bank
- Dena Bank
- HDFC Bank
- ICICI Bank
- IDBI Bank
- Indian Bank
- Indian Overseas Bank
- Oriental Bank of Commerce
- Punjab National Bank
- State Bank of India and its subsidiaries
- Union Bank of India
- United Bank of India
- Vijaya Bank
The application process is straightforward. You can start using your PPF account as soon as the bank or post office verifies your application.
Opening a PPF Account Online
To open a PPF account online, you need to activate netbanking with your bank. You also need a savings account with the bank.
The savings account must belinked to your Aadhaar number. Your mobile phone must also be linked to the Aadhaar. This lets the bank send you a code to verify your identity.
Steps to Open a PPF Account Online
After you log into your online banking account, you can select the option to “open a new PPF account.” You may have the choice of a self-account or minor account. Choose the option that fits your situation.
Then, you’ll need to enter and verify information such as your PAN, banking details, and nominee information.
You can usually specify the amount that you want to deposit into your PPF account in the financial year. You may be able to set up automatic payments at specific intervals from your savings account into your PPF account.
Finally, you’ll receive a verification code to your registered mobile number. Enter this number to confirm your identity. The bank may then ask you to come into a branch with a printout of your application and the required documentation.
Who Can Open a PPF Account?
The PPF scheme is open to all resident Indian citizens. This makes it different than an EPF account, which is only open to salaried individuals.
One exception is that Hindu Undivided Families aren’t eligible for PPF accounts.
Non-resident Indians aren’t eligible to open a PPF account, either. If they already have a PPF account in their name, the account remains active until its maturity date. A non-resident can’t extend the PPF account.
Opening a PPF Account for a Minor
You can open a PPF account for a minor if you are the child’s parent or legal guardian. There is no minimum age for a minor PPF account. The parent or guardian will operate the account until the child reaches the age of 18.
If the money invested in the minor’s account comes from the parent or guardian’s income, it’s eligible for the same tax advantages as a regular PPF account.
To open an account for a minor, you’ll need documents proving the guardian’s identity and residential address. You’ll need proof of the child’s age, such as a birth certificate or Aadhaar card. The process to open a PPF account for a minor is otherwise the same as for a standard PPF account.
When a minor turns 18, you’ll need to submit an application to change their status to an adult. Then they can manage the PPF account on their own.
Conditions of a PPF Account
A PPF account has several important conditions to keep in mind. This will help you get the most from your account.
PPF Withdrawal Rules
A PPF account has a minimum tenure of 15 years. You can withdraw the full amount after 15 years. If you aren’t ready to withdraw the money after 15 years, you can choose to extend the term in blocks of 5 years.
You can make partial withdrawals from your PPF account after 6 years. You can withdraw up to half of the balance.
Investment Minimum and Maximum
PPF accounts have an investment minimum and maximum. You must invest at least Rs 500 a year. You can make the deposits in a lump sum or in up to 12 instalments a year.
You can make deposits by cash, cheque, demand draft, or online. Rs 1.5 lakh is the most you can invest in a single year.
Deposits and Interest Calculation
The interest on the balance in your PPF account is calculated based on the lowest account balance between the end of the fifth day and the end of every month. For this reason, you’ll accumulate more interest if you deposit into the account before the end of the fifth day of the month. The interest calculation will include your new deposit.
Take Advantage of the Benefits of PPF
PPF is a program with many benefits for your retirement savings. You get secure returns with low risk. You also get tax benefits on the money you deposit.
The process to open a PPF account is simple and rapid. You can open an account in a post office or bank branch. You also have the option of opening an account online.
Start gathering your documents today to open an account and start benefiting from the PPF scheme. For more practical information like this, check out the other articles inour investment section.
Frequently Asked Questions
You need to avail an application form from the nearest post office or sub-post office from your region. Full the form and submit it along with your KYC documents and one photograph.
Yes, almost all reputed banks in India allow you to open a PPF account with them.
Yes. In India, everyone can open a PPF account whether employed, self-employed, unemployed or retired.
Your account will be deactivated if you miss the minimum annual deposit requirement.
The best time to invest in PPF is between 1st and 5th of any month. However, it is preferred to open a PPF account in the month of April.