IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS: Meaning and Complete Comparison

Here’s a comprehensive guide explaining the difference between IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS vs other payment modes! Take a look!

Technological advancements in the banking sector are changing the way people interact and do business on a daily basis. Today, rather than handing over cash in hand to a customer, you can simply make an NEFT or IMPS transfer. You can carry out numerous banking tasks without actually visiting a bank branch. These advancements are rapidly revamping the way individuals and businesses conduct banking activities today. In fact, businesses today use payment aggregators to send and receive payments seamlessly. 

This guide will shed light on IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS, how the three payment methods are different from the modern-day modes of payment, and the role of payment service providers (PSPs) in the banking sector.

IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS Vs Cashfree Payments

IMPS, NEFT and RTGS are three digital payment services that ideally brought about a transformation in the Indian banking system. They’ve educated the masses about new and better ways to commence banking activities while enjoying control over their finances and the comfort of their homes.

With digital payment services such as IMPS, NEFT, and RTGS, merchants can easily transfer funds electronically from one bank account to another within a matter of seconds. Let’s take a look at these different types of electronic fund transfer systems and understand the difference between the three.

1. IMPS – Immediate Payment Service aka IMPS is an online money transfer service offered by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It enables individuals and corporations to electronically transfer funds from one bank account to another. IMPS transactions take place in real-time and the service is available 24x7x365 days.

2. NEFT – National Electronic Funds Transfer aka NEFT is another mode of fund transfer. Introduced and operated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). it enables individuals and organisations to electronically transfer money from one bank account to another. It’s a centralised payment system that’s available 24x7x365 days. You can also request NEFT transfers by visiting your bank branch. 

3. RTGS – Real-Time Gross Settlement aka RTGS is another payment system that enables you to transfer funds from one account to another. However, unlike the other two modes of payment, RTGS is designed for high-value transactions only. Meaning, the transferable amount should be greater than or equal to ₹2 lakh.

Basic Line of Difference – IMPS Vs NEFT Vs RTGS

Collectively, these payment systems have eased the entire fund transfer process. Merchants no longer need to frequently visit bank branches to request fund transfers and pay transaction charges. Everything can be done via mobile and net banking services. They’re fast, convenient, and come in handy from a documentation point of view as well. 

However, each of these is quite different at a micro-level. The table below details their difference. Let’s take a look at IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS.

Basic detailsBuilt by the National Financial Switch network and managed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). Owned and operated by the Reserve Bank of India. Owned and operated by the Reserve Bank of India.
Settlement ProcessInstant money transfer into the beneficiary’s account.Works on a net and batch basis. Payments are released in batches, in a gap of a minimum of 30 minutes.Instant money transfer into the beneficiary’s account.
Service TimingsAvailable 24×7, and 365 daysAvailable 24×7, and 365 daysAvailable 24×7, and 365 days
Minimum Transfer Limit₹1₹1₹2 lakh
Maximum Transfer Limit₹5 lakh per dayNo NEFT limit set by RBI.
Charges may vary from bank to bank. 
In the case of cash transactions, the maximum limit is ₹50,000.
No RTGS limit set by RBI.
Transaction ChargesCharges vary from one bank to another.No charges for online transactions.
Charges are applicable when fund transfer is initiated at a bank branch. 
Charges vary from one bank to another.
No charges for inward and online transactions.
Charges may be applicable for outward transactions for amount:
₹2 lakh-₹5 lakh: not exceeding ₹25Above ₹5 lakh: not exceeding ₹50GST applicable
Mode of PaymentOnlineOnline & offlineOnline & offline

Things To Consider When Choosing Between IMPS, NEFT, And RTGS 

Now that we’ve established the basic difference between the IMPS, NEFT, and RTGS, let’s look at some key pointers to consider when selecting any of these channels to initiate a fund transfer. 

  • Each of these channels charges a certain transaction fee. Compare IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS charges and find the best match.  
  • Since transaction charges vary from bank to bank, find a bank that charges the least fee.
  • While calculating the total payable fee, do consider GST charges levied per transaction
  • Check the time taken by a payment system to process the fund transfer. 
  • Each payment mode has a fund transfer capping attached to them. Select the one that best matches your needs.   
  • IMPS, NEFT and RTGS are all available 24×7, and 365 days

Bulk Payment – IMPS Vs NEFT Vs RTGS

Contrary to common belief, merchants can use IMPS, NEFT, and RTGS to make bulk payments as well. 

IMPS vs NEFT - Why do you need bulk payment solutions?

A bulk payment is a kind of payment system that enables merchants to pay off numerous vendor payments in one go. For instance, remitting employee salaries, reimbursing expenses, sending pension contributions to a large list of people, and so on.

Here’s how you, as a merchant, can use bulk payment services via NEFT/RTGS/IMPS facility.

  • Register for CMS – Bulk NEFT/RTGS/IMPS facility with your authorised bank
  • Get access to the web portal
  • Upload the payment file or the bulk list
  • Verify vendor details along with the amount payable 
  • Authorise the payment file or the bulk list
  • Make payment and generate MIS

Most banks give you the leverage to do bulk payments. However, their services are outdated and bound by legacy rules. Use services rendered by PSPs like Cashfree Payments for faster, more streamlined, and convenient bulk payments. 

Modern Bulk Payment Solution: Cashfree Payment

  • Highly cost-effective
  • Fast turnaround time
  • Single file upload to make multiple payments at the same time 
  • Completely secured payment networks   
  • Streamlined finances 
  • Reverse MIS integration available with many ERPs
  • 24×7 grievance redressal
  • Intuitive dashboard to easily access necessary reports
IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS Vs Cashfree Payments

IMPS Vs NEFT Vs RTGS Vs Other Payment Modes 

Innovative transformations in the field of financial technology have introduced many more and highly sophisticated modes of payments besides the above-mentioned fund transfer systems. For instance, as a merchant, you can use e-wallets, UPI, net banking, credit cards, and debit cards to make and receive instant payments.  

Let’s dive deep to understand these new payment systems and analyse how they’re different from the primitive ones.

1. UPI 

UPI or Unified Payment Interface is a real-time payment method introduced by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI). It’s regulated by the Reserve Bank of India. The payment system facilitates inter-bank fund transfer through your mobile phone.   

The steps to use UPI are as follows:

  • Download the UPI app on your smartphone
  • Register with your mobile number and verify your account
  • Ensure you have a bank account with a UPI-member bank
  • Link your bank account(s) and create a four/six-digit UPI PIN
  • Your account is ready to send/receive money 

Common and most trusted UPI apps in India include BHIM by NPCI, Paytm, Google Pay, and Phonepe. You can use either of the platforms to receive and send money no matter if you’re a merchant or a customer.  

Accept frictionless payments using Cashfree Payments vs IMPS vs NEFT

2. E-wallets

As the name suggests, e-wallets enable you to facilitate cashless transactions anytime, anywhere using virtual wallets. Their utility is proximately similar to credit and debit cards. As a customer, you can load them with money to make payments whenever needed. 

Similarly, as a merchant, you can also accept payments in your e-wallets. Just register yourself as a merchant with one of these platforms, get your own QR code/e-wallet ID and receive payments from customers. 

Popular examples include Amazon Pay, Paytm wallet, Phonepe wallet, Mobikwik, HDFC Payzapp, Lazepay, and FreeCharge. 

3. Payment Link

Payment link is a fairly new payment receipt concept of the Fintech industry. Simply send a payment link to your customers via email, SMS, Whatsapp, or any other communication channel. Ask them to open the link and make the payment. 

Platforms like Cashfree Payments also enable merchants to generate payment links in bulk to save time and reduce the margin of errors.

Get paid with just one click using Cashfree Payments vs IMPS vs NEFT

Customers here, get the liberty to choose from a wide range of payment options such as credit/debit card, UPI, e-wallets, net banking, etc. to make payments.

Accepting money via payment links is quick, easy, and convenient for both customers and merchants. Payment collection can also be done via QR code sharing. 

4. Debit Card

A debit card is a bank-issued payment card that debits or deducts money directly from your bank account when used for making a purchase.

Debit cards are an excellent alternative to cash and a great way to make payments instantly simply via a chip & PIN. You can go contactless and even use your phone to operate your debit card to make payments. 

5. Credit Card

Credit cards are similar to debit cards with one key difference. Money is not deducted from your bank account immediately. Rather, you have the flexibility to pay the amount at a later date, usually within 30 days. Every credit card also comes with a set credit limit that can be used to make payments/purchases. 

With a credit card, you can pay online, using a chip & PIN, contactless, or through your phone.

Here is how the credit card processing system usually works. 

Credit card processing method: IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS: Meaning and Complete Comparison
Credit card settlement and fund release process

6. Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are another alternative to cash and are quite similar to debit and credit cards. The only key difference here is that you don’t need an account to have a prepaid card. Instead, just load money into the card and use it till your balance runs out. It operates much on the pay-as-you-go phenomenon.  

You can use prepaid cards to pay online, at stores, and even at other places that accept these cards.

Role Of Payment Service Providers (PSPs) In The Banking Sector 

While the core banking services such as IMPS, NEFT, and RTGS remain in the limelight, they’re not sufficient or rather have turned tedious for merchants to use. They need a more fast-paced, sought-after solution, or a third-party vendor that takes care of all their business transactions. 

Enter payment service providers (PSPs).

PSPs are complete payments and banking platforms. They help merchants easily deal with their payments and banking needs including collecting money via payment gateways, making on-demand payouts to vendors, generating invoices, and everything in between. Many also enable merchants to accept international payments and take their business to the next level. 

Related Read: Integrated Payment Systems: All You Need To Know

The top reasons why PSPs like Cashfree Payments are highly valuable for merchants rather than IMPS vs NEFT because they,

  • Handle all the necessary regulations such as PCI-DSS compliance etc. along with other legal formalities to ensure smooth transactions
  • Ensure each transaction is encrypted and processed through a layer of security to minimise the risk of fraudulent activities.
  • Handle recurring billing (subscription services) , payouts, and bulk transfers. 
  • Offer multiple payment methods & currencies enabling you to widen your customer base and go international 
  • Manage accounts and even gather insightful business information through their highly intuitive dashboards. 

The Future Of Online Payments In India

The Indian payments industry has significantly evolved in the last couple of years. Many new, robust, and sought-after payment systems, especially cashless payments, have been introduced to the Indian market  

The ongoing digital revolution is dramatically disrupting traditional banking services. The rise in Fintechs and their innovative solutions and methods to transact digitally are focusing merchants and individuals to make the shift. And why not? Initiatives and innovations like UPI, Payment links, QR codes, e-wallets, prepaid cards, etc. are easing the lives of everyone, especially the merchants. 

That’s not all. The Indian Fintech sector is constantly engaged in finding more technologically advanced means to enhance the current payment systems and innovate new ones that usher an altogether different way people pay in the coming future.

IMPS vs NEFT vs RTGS Vs Cashfree Payments

Online payment systems are also redefining the payments experience through digital payment offerings. They’re trying to build personalised connections with customers, offer the best-in-class customer experience, and even collaborate pragmatically with banks and other service providers to open up more untapped revenue streams, especially for the merchants. 

Currently, most payments solutions focus on offering real-time, low-value, high-volume, peer-to-peer payments, eCommerce, and mCommerce payment options. But, with more payment options being built by the Indian Fintech sectors, we’ll see many newer prospects take over the financial sector and make the entire ecosystem more streamlined and sought-after in the coming years.     

Frequently Asked Questions on IMPS vs NEFT VS RTGS

Which is better, IMPS or NEFT?

IMPS and NEFT are two distinct money transfer methods. Which one’s better than the other depends on your fund transfer requirement. For instance, if you wish to transfer a large sum of money to a vendor that’s, let say, about ₹2,50,000, then NEFT should be your preferred mode of payment. Meanwhile, if you have to send a comparatively smaller amount to someone instantly, then IMPS is a better-suited option. Refer to the section above on ‘Difference between IMPS, NEFT, and RTGS,’ for more information.

Is IMPS transfer free?

IMPS charges largely depend on the amount being transferred along with the respective bank’s policies. In general, IMPS charges range from ₹2.50 to ₹25 for amounts falling between ₹10,000 and ₹5 lakh. However, many eminent banks have waived off the charges enabling customers to make transfers for free.

Is Google pay NEFT or IMPS?

GooglePay is neither NEFT nor IMPS. It’s a UPI or digital wallet platform developed by Google to enable people and businesses to make inter-bank fund transfers through their mobile phones.

What’s the best way to send money, UPI, IMPS, or NEFT?

Each payment system, whether UPI, IMPS, or NEFT, has its own distinctive usage. Which one’s better than the other ideally depends on the urgency and transaction amount. For instance, if you have to transfer an amount greater than ₹1 lakh, then NEFT is a faster and more effective mode of payment. Meanwhile, if you’re out purchasing household groceries, UPI will serve the purpose.

How many times can NEFT transactions be done in a day?

You can carry out as many NEFT transactions as you can till the time you exhaust the NEFT transfer limit for the particular day set by your bank.