The majority of debt investors are aware of post office schemes, which provide higher interest rates than bank accounts. Even the initial deposit limit is minimal, and customers, particularly senior citizens, seek post office schemes to be the most appealing investment instrument. However, post office transaction limits are not well known among debt investors, and the Department of Posts (DoP), under the authority of the Ministry of Communications, has clarified regarding the same. The department has decided to release the following instructions with immediate effect, according to a circular released on January 13, 2022. According to the department "In order to secure of the hard-earned money of the depositors, better control, smooth POSB operations, prevention of money laundering activities and as a preventive measure to curb fraud, the competent authority has decided to issue the following guidelines with immediate effect:"
The linking of the account holder's mobile number has been declared MANDATORY for the establishment of any new account, as per SB Order No. 17/2017 dated 23.10.2017. In addition, all post offices would allow linking mobile numbers to PAN for financial transactions.
Any transaction (deposit/withdrawal/loan disbursement/loan repayment/closure of account (either premature or on maturity)) carried out at any CBS post office from now on would be required to verify the customer's mobile number and if necessary, updated before initiating the transaction amount of Rs. 20,000. If the transaction is more than Rs. 50,000, the PAN should be verified and, if required, updated before proceeding. Before conducting any transaction of Rs. 20,000 or more, the counter PA would go to menu CICD and check whether the mobile number and PAN have been updated in the particular account.
For the customers who have not updated their PAN/mobile number with their account, DoP has clarified that "If the mobile number/PAN is not updated/available in the account, in which transaction is to be done, mobile number and PAN should be obtained by the counter PA on the voucher (i.e., SB-103/SB 7/7A/7B/7C) from the account holder/authorized person. If the account is not KYC compliant, the KYC document shall also be obtained from the account holder/guardian as prescribed in the rules. If the account holder does not have a PAN number, Form 60/61 prescribed under Income Tax Act may be obtained."
DoP has also clarified in the circular that "In case, mobile number of a depositor is required to be changed, a separate written application may be obtained from such depositor. On verification of the signature of the depositor, the mobile number shall be updated by invoking the CMRC menu by the counter PA and verified by the supervisor. This application should be attached with the Account Opening Form (AOF) and KYC document of the respective account." The transaction should be conducted 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 shall additionally get the account holder's mobile number for transactions over Rs. 20,000 and PAN number for transactions over Rs. 50,000, which must be recorded on the acknowledgment.
According to the instructions highlighted under Rule 6(b) of Government Savings Promotion General Rules 2018 "if an individual does not submit the Permanent Account Number at the time of opening an account, he shall submit the same to the Accounts Office within a period of six months from the date of the opening of the account and if a depositor who has already opened an account prior to the date of this notification and has not already submitted his Permanent Account Number to the Accounts Office, he shall do so within a period of six months from the date of this notification and in the event of the failure of the depositor to submit the Permanent Account Number within the specified period of six months, his account shall cease to be operational till the time he submits the Permanent Account Number to the Accounts Office".
According to the Ministry of Finance, Post Office Savings Bank (POSB)-related fraud cases are steadily increasing, and customers should link their mobile phone number and PAN to their accounts to tackle the menace. For accounts that are updated with wrong credentials, the DoP has clarified that "At any time during visit/inspection, data analysing, public complaints, etc, if it is noticed that incorrect/wrong mobile number/PAN was updated or mobile number/PAN was not updated by the counter PA/Supervisor concerned as prescribed above, stern action should be taken against the erring official by the disciplinary authority concerned."