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NEFT Service Will Be Unavailable On May 23, Plan Financial Transactions Accordingly: RBI

The popular online fund transfer system, National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT), will not be available on May 23, 2021. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that NEFT services would be down for 14 hours due to pending upgrades.

NEFT will undergo a technical upgrade that will enhance its overall performance and resilience. The upgrade is scheduled to take place after business hours on May 22, 2021. “Accordingly, NEFT service will not be available from 00:01 hrs to 14:00 hrs on Sunday, May 23, 2021,” RBI tweeted.

NEFT is a nation-wide centralised payment system that is owned and operated by the RBI. Initially available from 8 AM to 7 PM on all working days, the RBI made it available on a 24×7 basis from December 16, 2019. Since then, it has become the preferred mode of transfers for the public, given its availability round the clock.

The RBI asked banks to inform their customers accordingly about the scheduled downtime. The central bank also added that the Real-Time Gross Settlement (RGTS) system will remain functional throughout this period. The planned upgrade for NEFT comes after RGTS received similar technical upgrades on April 18, 2021.

Just last month, the RBI revealed its plan to expand RTGS and NEFT facilities to non-bank payment systems gradually – the ultimate objective being the increased participation of non-bank firms in payment systems.
The scheduled down-time may affect financial transactions as most people prefer NEFT due to its simplicity as well as its near-real-time fund transfers in a secure manner, a pan-India coverage and the fact that it is charge-free for all savings bank customers.

In order to smoothen the whole process, the RBI also mentioned that all NEFT members would receive continuous updates through the NEFT system broadcasts and inform them when the system was operational again. The Central Bank directed banks to notify their clients to plan any payment operations accordingly.

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