How to manage your PF amount smartly?

Around 1.2 crore new individuals initiated their inaugural Provident Fund account between September 2017 and 2018. Many such members may not be aware of the implications of such accounts, or how to undertake a PF fund check. Also, individuals should know about the technique of linking two existing employee Provident Fund accounts if they decide to change their jobs.

How to merge two PF accounts?

PF fund check and merger can be facilitated through the Universal Account Number (UAN) issued to an individual, as stated in his/her salary slip.

  • Activate your UAN number by visiting the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) portal. Click on ‘Activate UAN’ and enter your name, date of birth, and mobile number. A verification code is sent to the provided number, which has to be entered for activation of the UAN specific to a salary slip.

  • Upon activation, revisit the ‘Services’ section of the EPFO portal and click on ‘One employee – one account.’

  • A form containing details regarding such a merger will be displayed. Fill the same by entering your name, UAN, registered phone number as well as current member ID.

  • A one-time password will be sent to your registered device for further usage.

  • Details of the previous PF account have to be entered in this step, to integrate 2 PF accounts successfully.

Such merger takes 3 days to take effect, after which you can undertake a PF account check. After successful merger and transfer of funds, you can check available Provident Fund balance in the following steps –

Step 1 – Login to the EPFO portal by using activated UAN and phone number.

Step 2 – Go to ‘Our services’ and click on ‘for employees.’

Step 3 – Click on the option displaying ‘Member passbook.’

The total existing balance in your Employee Provident Fund will be displayed. Monthly deposits made accrue to a substantial amount generation in the future. Additionally, high interest rates are levied on the account balance as well, ensuring substantial returns on total investment.

Nonetheless, a primary limitation of PF accounts is the rigidity of tenor. Total deposit amount remains locked in till retirement, and premature withdrawals are not permissible in normal circumstances. Only in case of prolonged unemployment for more than 2 months or to finance specific substantial expenditures will allow withdrawal of funds before retirement.

Funds withdrawn from a PF account are of substantial value and are generally reinvested in instruments facilitating high returns with flexible tenors. You can look into fixed deposits offering the best FD rates for this purpose, which provides dual benefits of high returns as well as stability of total investment. Such schemes have flexible tenors as well, ensuring the lock-in period satisfies the requisites of an individual investor.

Benefits of fixed deposits

One of the most meaningful ways to use your EPF money is to reinvest idle funds in a fixed deposit possessing the following features –

  1. No market linkage

  2. Fixed deposit investments are not in any way affected by stock market fluctuations. Returns assured (principle and interest), henceforth, is payable to investors in all circumstances. Such features of fixed deposits make it popular among risk-averse investors, as it ensures complete protection of the corpus amount.

  3. High returns

  4. Major financial institutions such as Bajaj Finance offer best FD rates of up to 8.35% p.a. Interest accrued can be reinvested in cumulative fixed deposit scheme, or withdrawn period in the case on non-cumulative policies.

  5. Flexible tenor

  6. One of the significant differences between the Employee Provident Fund and fixed deposit is the liquidity benefits extended by both. Also, tenor on your FD affects its interest rate, as higher lock-in period increases return realised, while there is no such provision if you perform PF account check.

    In case of fixed deposit investments, premature withdrawals are facilitated, subject to nominal deductions. Such withdrawal benefits come in handy if an individual comes across any unforeseen circumstances requiring substantial funds.

    Investing public Provident Fund account balance in fixed deposits is an attractive method of preserving capital as well as ensuring high returns earned on total investment. Such funds help in secure financial planning during the retirement period of individuals.