Difference between UPI, RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT: Charges & Limit

What is the difference between IMPS, NEFT, RTGS & UPI? Which is better IMPS or NEFT? RTGS or NEFT? What are the transaction limits & charges? Find all the answers to your questions about UPI, RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT below

by Vrushali.S Updated: 04 Jan, 2024, 19:42 IST
8 21049

For most of our day-to-day transactions, the UPI payment method is sufficient. But there are times when you need to use other high-value funds transfer methods such as RTGS, NEFT, or IMPS. It’s important that you know the difference between UPI, RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT transfers so that you can decide which works the best for you as all of these transfer methods have different transaction limits, fees, processing times, and steps to follow. Apart from the difference between them, we have also mentioned how you can file a complaint in RBI in case of delayed RTGS, IMPS, or NEFT transactions.

Difference between UPI, RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT Transfers





Difference between UPI, IMPS, RTGS, NEFT

Features comparison

UPI

RTGS

IMPS

NEFT

Definition

UPI is an instant real-time payments system that instantly transfers funds between two banks

RTGS is a money transfer process of initiating, clearing, and settling payments in real-time

IMPS is an electronic funds transfer system that allows inter and intra-bank transfers

NEFT is an electronic one-to-one funds transfer system monitored by the government

Full Form

Unified Payments Interface

Real-time Gross Settlement

Immediate Payments Service

National Electronic Funds Transfer

Minimum Transfer Limit

No minimum limit

₹2 Lakh

₹1

No minimum limit

Maximum Transfer Limit per day

₹1 Lakh

No upper limits

₹5 Lakhs (5 Lakhs per transaction)

No upper limits (₹50,000 per transaction)

Time Taken to Get the Funds Credited

Instant

Real-time

(within 30 Minutes)

Real-time

Up to 12 hours (usually within 2 hours)

Service Availability

Online + Offline (using UPI Lite)

Online + Offline

Online

Online + Offline

Security

Safe & Secure for small tranx

Safe, backed by RBI

Safe, don’t require beneficiary’s bank details.

Safe, monitored by the government

Service Fee

Free of Cost (currently)

No RTGS charges for online transactions

For offline:

₹2L to 5L tranx: up to ₹25

₹5L & above tranx: ₹25 to ₹50

₹2.5 to ₹25 (varies bank to bank)

No charges on online NEFT transactions

Offline NEFT transactions are charged between ₹2.5 to ₹50

GST charges

No charges (currently)

No GST charges for online RTGS tranx

GST of 18% (of bank charges) is charged for offline RTGS tranx

GST charges are levied

GST charges are applicable

Is the service accessible on bank holidays and off-working hours

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Is the transfer refundable?

Yes (within 48 hours)

Yes (within 2 hours - may vary up to 48 hours from bank to bank)

Yes (within 48 hours)

Yes (within 24 to 48 hours)


Important Note: Different Banks may have different transaction limits on RTGS and NEFT. For example, in SBI, the maximum RTGS transfer limit currently is 10 Lakhs per day. Whereas in HDFC bank, there’s no maximum RTGS transfer limit applicable in the branch, and for net banking, the maximum RTGS transfer limit depends on the customer’s TPT limit (Third-Party Transfer Limit) and is capped at 50 Lakhs.

Did you know?

The SBI bank in the year 2022 passed a press release announcing that the bank would not levy any charges on IMPS transactions up to 5 Lakhs. To avail of this facility, customers need to use the SBI Anywhere Personal application.





1. UPI Payments Transfer:

UPI is a free, instant, and real-time payment system that is generally used to perform quick payments to merchants and banks. You can do online UPI payments using UPI apps as well as offline UPI payments using UPI Lite. UPI was first launched in 2016 by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and is also known as a better version of the IMPS payments facility. While the UPI payments service is free of any charges for us consumers, banks do bear hundreds of crores of cost each year. 


Difference between UPI vs RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT:

The major difference between UPI and other payment methods like RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT is that UPI is used for smaller transactions (below 1 Lakh) and the service is free of charge unlike other payment processes

  • Fees & Charges: UPI payments service is free and does not have any transaction fee or charges

  • Transaction time: UPI transactions are a preferred method of payment as they are instant and real-time

  • Maximum Limit per day: The maximum transaction limit per day for UPI is 1 Lakh

  • How to do UPI payment: There are several third-party UPI apps available to use such as Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, Amazon Pay, etc and almost all banks have UPI-enabled applications.


Did you know?

In September 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched UPI Lite, to pioneer the offline payments market. Using UPI Lite, you can now do offline transactions up to ₹2000 without having an active internet connection.




2. RTGS Transfer:

Real-time Gross Settlement is a funds transfer process generally used to transfer higher amounts. It is a safe and secure way of transferring money as the settlement takes place in real time. An RTGS transaction is free of charge when done online and is initiated, cleared, and settled in real-time, usually within 30 minutes, making it one of the best, free, and fastest ways to transfer high amounts of funds instantly. It does not have any upper limits on the maximum amount that the remitter can send. Earlier RTGS transactions could not be processed 24/7 or on bank holidays but thanks to the statement released in 2020 by RBI, RTGS transactions can now be done anytime and any day.


Difference between RTGS vs UPI, IMPS, and NEFT:

The major difference between RTGS and other payment methods like UPI, IMPS, and NEFT is that RTGS transfers work in real-time settlement and have a minimum transaction limit of 2 Lakhs. Also, RTGS is a faster service than NEFT.

  • Fees & Charges: RTGS online transfers do not have any levied charges by the government. However, charges maybe be applied by the banks. Also, charges are applicable on RTGS transfers done through bank branches.

  • Transaction time: RTGS transactions are one of the fastest methods to transfer high-value funds as the transfers work in real-time and the settlement of the transaction is also done in real-time, in under 30 minutes.

  • Maximum Limit per day: There is no maximum transaction limit per day for RTGS transfers set by the RBI. Though it may differ from bank to bank.

  • RTGS payment process steps: For doing RTGS online payment, log in to your internet banking account and find an option that says “funds transfer.” Click on it and complete the transaction by adding the required beneficiary details. The steps for offline RTGS payments include visiting your nearest bank branch and filling out the fund's transfer form.


Did you know?

As per RBI FAQs on RTGS delay penalty, if an RTGS transaction is delayed & not refunded within the stipulated time, the original customer is entitled to receive a penalty charge from the bank at the current repo rate + 2%. The same is also true for NEFT transactions as of now, March 2023.






3. IMPS Transfer:

IMPS (Immediate Payments Service) was first launched by NPCI in 2010 and is one of the most-used fund transfer methods in India. For doing an IMPS funds transfer, you do not need the beneficiary’s bank account details as a simple 7-digit MMID code is used to do an IMPS transfer. This 7-digit MMID code is allotted by the bank. After UPI, an IMPS transaction would probably be the fastest way to transfer funds up to 5 Lakhs. An IMPS funds transfer is better suited if you are looking to transfer amounts up to 5 Lakhs instantly or in an emergency. After UPI, IMPS is probably the 2nd most economical way to transfer funds.


Difference between IMPS vs UPI, RTGS, and NEFT:

The major difference between IMPS and other transfer methods like RTGS, NEFT, or UPI is that IMPS transfers are instant and support intra-bank transactions too. Intra-bank transactions allow you to transfer funds to beneficiaries of the same bank as yours.

  • Fees & Charges: Online IMPS transactions do not levy any charges for select banks in India such as SBI and IDFC First Bank. Otherwise, the IMPS transfer fees can range anywhere from ₹2.5 to ₹25 + GST charges depending on the fund value and bank.

  • Transaction time: IMPS transfers are instant and are usually processed in a few minutes (usually within 30 minutes)

  • Maximum Limit per day: The per day transaction limit of IMPS is 5 Lakhs (may vary from bank to bank)

  • IMPS transfer process: IMPS transfers can only be done online via digital net banking. To do an IMPS transfer, log in to your net banking account and select IMPS as your transfer method. Then, add the beneficiary’s MMID code and your MPIN to complete the transaction.


Did you know?

Earlier, the maximum IMPS transaction limit was 2 Lakhs but RBI increased the limit to 5 Lakhs in year 2021 after witnessing a large demand from the general public for doing IMPS transfers.





4. NEFT Transfer:

NEFT transfers or National Electronic Funds Transfers is an RBI-governed funds transfer method, available online and offline. NEFT payments were first introduced in 2005 and they are extremely safe and secure methods of transferring small amounts of money. Even though NEFT transfers do not have an upper limit, they are generally limited to ₹50K per transaction limit for new beneficiaries. NEFT unlike IMPS does not have fees or charges on online transfers. However, one of the biggest disadvantages of NEFT transfer is that the money does not get credited to the beneficiary instantly as an NEFT transaction takes place in batches. Hence, you should probably avoid doing NEFT transfers if you need to transfer high-value funds instantly.

Difference between NEFT vs UPI, RTGS, and IMPS:

The major difference between NEFT and other funds transfer methods like IMPS, UPI, RTGS is that NEFT usually takes the longest to credit the funds in the beneficiary’s account as the transaction takes place in batches. Also, NEFT transactions are free of charge when done online unlike IMPS.

  • Fees & Charges: Free of charge for online NEFT transactions, and up to ₹50 charges on offline NEFT transfers
  • Transaction time: NEFT transfers generally get processed in under 2 hours. In some cases, it may take up to 12 hours too.
  • Maximum Limit per day: There is no maximum limit per day for NEFT transactions. However, banks may have a transaction limit.
  • NEFT transfer process steps: To do Online NEFT, log in to your net banking account and select “NEFT transfer” as your payment method. Next, add the details of the beneficiary and complete the transaction. For offline NEFT transfers, you’d need to visit your nearest bank branch and fill out the NEFT transfer form.


Did you know?

NEFT transactions previously could only be processed between 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM. In 2020, RBI allowed NEFT transactions to be processed 24/7. Whether it's Sunday or a bank holiday, you can now do NEFT transfers 24/7 365 days.




Which is cheaper? UPI, RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT

UPI is probably the best money transfer method to transfer small amounts of funds. But, if you wish to do high-value business transactions or want to send money abroad, or any other high-value funds above 1 Lakh, you are left with transfer methods like RTGS, IMPS, and NEFT. All of these transfer methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, fee and charges, transaction time, and transaction limits. So, which of the IMPS, RTGS, or NEFT funds transfer methods is the cheapest? Let’s understand this with the table below.

RTGS vs IMPS vs NEFT: Which one is cheaper and when?

Features comparison

UPI

RTGS

IMPS

NEFT

Below 2 Lakhs

Applicable till 1 Lakh amount (free of charge)

Not Applicable

₹2.5 to ₹15 + GST charges

NEFT Online transactions are free of charges

2 Lakhs to 5 Lakhs

Not Applicable

Online RTGS transactions are free of cost

₹2.5 to ₹15 + GST charges

₹25 to ₹30 + GST charges if applicable

5 Lakhs & above

Not Applicable

maximum ₹50 + GST charges

Not applicable

₹25 to ₹50 + GST charges if applicable (₹50K per transaction limit may apply to new beneficiaries)

As you can see, an NEFT transfer is better if you wish to send a small amount of money below 2 to 5 Lakhs and if you do not mind waiting for up to 12 hours to get your money credited to the beneficiary. If you want to transfer immediate funds below 5 Lakhs, then IMPS is probably your best bet since IMPS transactions are generally processed in under 30 minutes. So, what about RTGS? When should one use RTGS funds transfer? RTGS transfers are generally more suitable for high-value funds over 5 Lakhs as it is a safe, secure, and real-time fund transfer method with no upper limits.



Note that inward transactions (credit transactions) are free of cost for IMPS and NEFT. Whereas, outward transactions (debit transactions) are levied charges.

So, this was all about sharing the difference between UPI, IMPS, RTGS, and NEFT transactions, what these transfer methods mean, the transaction limit for each of these, fees and charges, and which one is cheaper RTGS, NEFT, or IMPS.



Here are more discussion threads on IMPS, RTGS, and NEFT transfer methods that you may find helpful:



How to file a complaint in RBI for failed/delayed RTGS, IMPS or NEFT transfers?

If there’s a delayed transaction, you should first reach out to the bank and try to solve the dispute with them. As per RBI’s answer to the same question, If your disputed transaction is not resolved within 30 days, then you can file a complaint online on https://cms.rbi.org.in/ or on the dedicated email of RBI here [email protected] in the following format - RBI's Complaint Format

Or you may also call on the toll-free number of RBI at 14448 between 9:30 AM to 5:15 PM to seek assistance related to your grievance.


Review Expert
Vrushali Sawant is an experienced content writer with a love for knowledge & extensive research. She writes product recommendations & reviews, buying guides, trending news & offers. When not working, you'd find her reading about the cosmos & universe.
8 Comments  |  
7 Dimers
  • Sort By
Helpful Helpful
Link Copied
Nice, Good to know plus1🏻 blush
Helpful Helpful
Link Copied

UPI was actually started by four banks (ICICI, hdfc not sure about other two maybe axis and sbi) which was based on IMPS, goverment liked the idea and implemented it for all banks. It was supposed to be called BharatPe but then they decided BHIM.

Critic Critic
Link Copied
@abhishek012
Pro Entertainer Pro Entertainer
Link Copied

Why my sbi is only allowing 30k upi limit only?

Analyst Analyst
Link Copied

Can't transfer more than Account Balance
[ grinP.S]

View 2 more replies
Deal Captain Deal Captain
Link Copied
Nice post plus1
replyuser
Click here to reply
Reply