Most bond investors are familiar with post office programs, which offer higher interest rates than bank accounts. Even the initial deposit limit is minimal and customers, especially senior citizens, seek postal systems as the most attractive investment instrument. However, the transaction limits of post offices are not well known to debt investors, and the Department of Posts (DoP), under the authority of the Ministry of Communications, has clarified this. The department has decided to issue the following instructions with immediate effect, according to a circular issued on January 13, 2022. According to the department “In order to secure depositors’ hard-earned money, better control, smooth POSB operations, prevention of money laundering and as a preventive measure to combat fraud, the competent authority has decided to publish the following guidelines with immediate effect:
The association of the account holder’s mobile phone number has been declared MANDATORY for the creation of any new account, in accordance with SB Order No. 17/2017 of 23.10.2017. In addition, all post offices would allow mobile numbers to be linked to the PAN for financial transactions.
Any transaction (deposit/withdrawal/loan disbursement/loan repayment/account closure (premature or on maturity)) done at any CBS post office will now need to verify the customer’s mobile phone number and, if necessary, updated before initiating the transaction amount of Rs. 20,000. If the transaction is above Rs. 50,000, the PAN should be checked and if necessary updated before proceeding. Before making any transaction of Rs. 20,000 or more, the PA meter would go to the CICD menu and check if the mobile number and PAN have been updated in the particular account.
For customers who have not updated their PAN/mobile number with their account, the DoP clarified that “if the mobile/PAN number is not updated/available in the account, in which the transaction must be made, the mobile number and PAN must be obtained by the PA counter on the voucher (i.e. SB-103/SB 7/7A/7B/7C) of the account holder/ authorized person.If the account is not KYC compliant, the KYC document must also be obtained from the account holder/guardian as prescribed in the rules.If the account holder does not have a PAN number, the form 60/61 prescribed under the Income Tax Act can be obtained.
The DoP also clarified in the circular that “In the event that a filer’s mobile phone number needs to be changed, a separate written request may be obtained from that filer. Upon verification of the filer’s signature, the cell phone number mobile phone should be updated by invoking CMRC menu by PA meter and verified by supervisor.This request should be attached to the Account Opening Form (AOF) and KYC document of the respective account.The transaction should be completed according to the required protocol after updating the mobile number and PAN in Finacle for the particular account.
Non-CBS (Core Banking Solution) post offices will additionally obtain the account holder’s mobile phone number for transactions above Rs. 20,000 and PAN number for transactions above Rs. 50,000, which must be entered on acknowledgment.
According to the instructions underlined in Rule 6(b) of the Government Savings Promotion General Rules 2018 “if a person does not submit the permanent account number at the time of opening an account, he shall submit it to the office of accounts within six months from the date of opening the account and if a depositor who has already opened an account before the date of this notification and has not yet communicated his permanent account number to the accounting, he must do so within six months from the date of such notification and in case of failure of the depositor to submit the permanent account number within the specified period of six months, his account will cease to be operational until ‘when he submits the permanent account number to the Accounts Office’.
According to the Ministry of Finance, fraud cases related to the Postal Savings Bank (POSB) are steadily increasing, and customers need to link their mobile phone number and PAN to their accounts to combat the threat. For accounts that are updated with incorrect credentials, the DoP clarified that “at any time during the visit/inspection, data analysis, public complaints, etc., it is found that an incorrect/erroneous mobile/PAN number has been updated or a mobile/PAN number has not been updated by the concerned AP/supervisor meter as prescribed above, Severe measures must be taken against the official at fault by the disciplinary authority concerned.”
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Article first published: Tuesday, January 18, 2022, 11:24 a.m. [IST]