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IFSC and MICR are two important codes used in Core banking system of India.

IFSC code

Full form of IFSC Code is Indian Financial System Code. It is an eleven digit alphanumeric code. It is allotted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to all banks and its branches. It is a unique number. This code is assigned to different banks who participate in various electronic money transfer options like NEFT (National Electronic Funds Transfer), IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) and RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement).

 IFSC code is printed on cheque leaf and bank passbook of the respective bank. List of IFSC codes for different Banks and their branches can be obtained from Reserve Bank of India’s official website. Also, it is disclosed on banks’ official website along with the address. All the banks have been advised by Reserve Bank of India to print the IFSC code on the checks issued by the banks to their customers.

Purpose of using IFSC Codes

  • This is a unique identification number for a particular bank branch.
  • It is used in electronic fund transfers. It eliminates errors during the process, thereby allows a seamless bank transfer.
  • This ensures highly secured fund transfer between Banks

The components of this alphanumeric code are:-

The first part of the IFSC code is the four alphabets. This represents the Bank. Next character is 0(zero), which is reserved for future use. The last six characters can be both number and alphabets. It is the branch code.

How to transfer money with IFSC code?

In today’s busy world electronic fund transfer is gaining popularity, due to it’s quick, easy and hassle-free manner. Thanks to the digitization of monetary transaction now we do not have wait to transfer fund. The settlement is immediate. Bank provides multiple payment options.

  • In order to do online transactions, the payer needs to complete the net banking registrations by creating a username and password.
  • Then the payer will add a beneficiary to the account. In order to add the beneficiary, he/she has to provide the bank details such as bank name, branch, account number and the IFSC code of the payee.
  • Once the payee is added as beneficiary the payer can transfer funds using NEFT, RTGS or IMPS.
  • IFSC code is a unique code. Hence fund transfer with IFSC code is highly secure and convenient. The transactions take minutes to complete from the time of initiation.

RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement)

From the name, we can understand that all transactions are processed and settled in real time basis through RTGS. Normally, RBI allows using four flow structure (V, Y, L, T) in electronic money transfer. In RTGS system, RBI decided to use Y shaped flow structure. RTGS transfer is used for high-value transactions. The minimum amount that can be transferred is Rs.2 Lakh. There is no limit to the maximum amount.  Inward transactions in RTGS are free.

Charges for outward transaction

Rs. 25-30 (Up to 2 – 5 lacs)
Rs. 50-55 (Above 5 lacs)
(Lower charges for the first half of day)

This system is maintained by the RBI and is available during working days only.

Timings on Mon – Fri: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Timings on Saturday: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm

 Banks using RTGS need to have Core banking to be able to initiate RTGS


NEFT (National Electronic Fund Transfer) brief explanation

This is an online fund transfer system supported by RBI and used by almost everyone including individual, firm and corporate. There is no minimum amount limit for NEFT. Hence it is useful for small value transactions as well.

In the NEFT process, funds are transferred on hourly batches. On weekdays, there are 11 settlements and on Saturdays, there are 5 settlements.

Timings on Mon – Fri: 8:00 am – 6:30 pm

Timings on Saturday: 8:00 am – 12:30 pm

This process is much slower than RTGS.

Maximum Charges as per RBI

Up to 10,000 – Rs. 2.5
from 10,001 – 1 lac – Rs. 5
from 1 – 2 lacs – Rs. 15
Above 2 lacs – Rs. 25

RTGS is a bit expensive than NEFT.

MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) Code

As the name suggests it is a character recognition technology which facilitates faster processing of cheques. Every bank branch is assigned with a unique MICR code. With the help of this code, RBI identifies the bank branch. MICR codes use a special ink which is sensitive to magnetic fields and thus information can be encoded in the magnetic characters. A special machine is used to read MICR code. There are a magnetic inks bar codes printed on the bottom of your bank’s cheque leaves. This is MICR code. This enhances the securities in cheque transactions.

It is a nine-digit numeric code. The components are:-

The first three digits represent the city code which indicates the city in which the bank branch is located. It is generally the first three numbers of PIN code like for Kolkata the first three numbers are going to be ’700’. The next three digits represent the bank’s identification code i.e. 200 for Deutsche Bank and the last three digits denote the bank branch code i.e. 002.

There are many similarities in IFSC and MICR. IFSC and MICR both can be used in context to financial system code. Both are the unique code and used to identify the Bank/Branch. For this reason, many people confuse between them. But there is a significant difference between these two codes.

Difference between the IFSC Code and MICR Code

  1. IFSCcode is used to facilitate electronic money transfer between banks within India, MICR is a Magnetic Ink Recognition technology. It makes cheque processing more efficient and simpler.
  2. IFSCcode is alphanumeric code. MICR is a numeric code.
  3. IFSC is an 11 character code. MICR is a 9-digit code.
  4. The first four characters in the IFSC Code indicate the name of the bank. The first three digits in the MICR Code represent the city code where the bank branch is located.
  5. IFSC is mainly used in India whereas MICR code is used worldwide for the transactions.