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Introduction

PRAN, or Permanent Retirement Account Number, is a unique 12-digit account number allotted to you against your NPS Account. NPS, or the National Pension Scheme, was introduced in 2004, specifically for government employees to manage their pension funds. It was later made open to the general public in 2009, so that they too can avail the benefits of a government backed pension scheme.

The National Pension System (NPS) is a mutual fixed benefit pension plan in India. National Pension System, like PPF and EPF is an EEE (Exempt-Exempt-Exempt) instrument in India where the entire corpus doesn’t attract income taxes at maturity. This means the entire pension withdrawal amount is tax-free.

NPS began with the decision of the Government of India to end the defined benefit pension for all its workers who joined after 1 April 2004. Although the scheme was originally planned for government employees only, it was opened to all Indian citizens between the ages of 18 and 65 in 2009, and for OCI card holders and PIOs in October 2019. It is managed and governed by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

Individuals can make annual contributions into the National Pension Scheme in a profitable manner that will yield market-linked returns. Such returns will aggregate in a substantial corpus that people would use to finance their post-retirement life. In order to subscribe to NPS, individuals must have a Permanent Retirement Account to which they are assigned a Permanent Retirement Account Number card or a PRAN card.

PRAN number is allotted to an investor when they open an account with NPS. Opening an account is very simple. One can do it offline at their nearest PoP centre, or conveniently from their home, on the NPS CRA website. This PRAN number is unique to an individual as it is generated based on your KYC documents. This PRAN number helps you to operate your NPS account from anywhere in India.

Customers have the option to apply and get a physical PRAN card, if they need. Though a physical PRAN card is not required, once can apply for it online on the NSDL website. The card will include your profile details along with the PRAN number. It can come in handy if you can’t remember your PRAN number and want to access it instantly.

What is PoP? How to apply for a PRAN Card at a PoP?

PFRDA has named agencies known as Points of Presence (POPs) to take the customer relationships to all Indians who want to open an NPS account. POP is the first link between the subscriber and the NPS framework. Point of Presence (POP) shall execute the functions relating to the identification of subscribers, the authentication of Know Your Customer (KYC) undertaking, the collection of payments and directives from subscribers and the transfer of the same to designated NPS intermediaries.

The approved branches of POP for NPS services are referred to as POP-SP (Points of Presence-Service Provider). To find the nearest POP-SP, you can go to the "Find your nearest POP-SP" section under "Important Links" on the homepage of the NPSCRA website.

So basically, PoP is usually a bank near you. You can find out the nearest PoP from the website and visit them to open an NPS account. Here are the steps to be followed:

  • Request for a Subscriber Registration Form (CSRF) to open an NPS account. This form is also available on the NPSCRA website for download.
  • Duly fill the form with correct details; photograph, signature, mandatory details, scheme preference details, etc.,
  • You will be required to submit your KYC documents for authentication relating to your identity proof and proof of address
  • You are expected to make your first donation (minimum of Rs 500) to any POP-SP at the time of registration. To do this you will need to send an NCIS (Instruction Slip) detailing the specifics of the payment made to your PRAN account.
  • PoP-SP shall issue you a receipt number at the time of submission of the PRAN application. You can monitor the status of your PRAN application by entering your receipt number on the NPSCRA website.
  • Once your application has been processed, your NPS account shall be activated and your PRAN number shall be generated.
  • If you have chosen to receive a physical copy of your PRAN card, it shall be sent to your communication address along with your account documents.

What are the documents I need to submit along with my NPS application form at the PoP?

As mentioned earlier, you will need to submit your KYC documents along with your NPS application form;

  • Duly filled Subscriber Registration Form (CSRF)
  • Passport size photograph
  • KYC Documents
  • Aadhaar card
  • PAN card

How to apply for a PRAN Card through the NPS website?

You can use the e-NPS option to open an NPS account online. In this method, you have the option to verify your account using Aadhaar OTP method or by sending a signed physical copy of the forms to the NSDL Office. Users can use the method that is most suitable to them.

Here are the steps to create an NPS Account online: 

  • You ought to have a 'Permanent Account Number' (PAN)
  • Bank/Demat/Folio transaction specifics of the empanelled bank/non-bank account for KYC verification of registration of subscribers through eNPS.
  • Your KYC check will be conducted by the bank/non-bank POP chosen by you while you registered.
  • The name and address given during registration and the POP records for KYC authentication should match. If the specifics do not match, the application could be denied. In the case of rejection of KYC by the preferred POP, applicants are requested to contact the POP
  • You then fill up all the mandatory information on the form online. 
  • You have to upload the scanned copy of the PAN card and a cancelled check in *.jpeg/*.jpg/*.png format with a file size of 4KB-2MB
  • You also have to upload the scanned copy of your official signature and PAN Card
  • The next step is making the initial minimum payment 
  • You will be taken to a payment gateway where you can make payment using your debit card or NetBanking details
  • Once the transaction is completed, your account creation is successful, you will receive your PRAN number and other account details by mail and email.

How to apply for a physical copy of your PRAN Card?

Your PRAN number is sufficient to carry out all NPS related transactions. However, if you feel the need to have a physical copy of your PRAN card, you can apply for one on the NPS website.

It is essential to be in possession of this PRAN card as it is linked to one’s NPS account. Furthermore, it is one of the essential documents required for submission, when one makes a claim from their NPS account post-retirement.

  • Applicants can choose to have a printed PRAN card couriered to them under their account login on the NPS website.
  • Once you login to your NPS account, go to ‘Demographic changes’ and choose ‘Print PRAN Card’ option
  • Your PRAN card will be displayed on the screen. You can download it on your computer and use it electronically.
  • If you want a physical copy, click on ‘Print PRAN Card’
  • Once you confirm your address details, a physical copy of the card shall be sent to you by post.

How to track the status of PRAN Card dispatch?

Once you have submitted the request for a PRAN card, it will take at least 20 days for you to receive the card. In case there is a delay and you want to track the status, you can do so on your NPS login.

  • Once you login, go to the ‘Demographic Changes’ tab and select ‘View IPIN/TPIN/Reprint PRAN Request Status’ button
  • You will be taken to a page where you enter the request acknowledgement number and the date range of your request
  • The request status is displayed on the page

How to use your PRAN and contribute funds to your NPS Account?

NPS allows you to make contributions from the comfort of your home. You can use the NPSCRA website and deposit funds to your NPS account. You will need your PRAN number to login to your account and do this. Here are the simple steps to follow and contribute to your NPS account:

  • Open the eNPS website
  • Click on National Pension System
  • Then choose Contribution NAV T+2
  • You will be required to enter your PRAN & your Date of Birth
  • You have to choose the option between NPS CRA or NPS Swavalamban based on your account type
  • Then you enter the captcha code. 
  • An OTP will be sent to your mobile number or email address, as per your choice, to validate your PRAN
  • Once you validate the account, you should enter the amount you want to contribute and continue on to the next step
  • Here, you will be taken to the payment gateway where you can pay using your debit card or internet banking credentials

E-Signing your NPS Account Creation Form

Once you have created the NPS account online, you have to validate or authenticate the same before it becomes fully operational. There are 2 ways to do it; online using Aadhaar OTP or by sending a physical copy of the signed form to the NPS Mumbai office address.

E-Signing NPS Account Creation Form using Aadhaar OTP

  • Once you have filled the application form and completed payment for the minimum initial payment, a PRAN number is generated.
  • You can then go to the ‘eSign’ option under the ‘eSign/Print & Courier’ page
  • An OTP for authentication is sent to the mobile linked to your Aadhaar number
  • Enter this OTP in the given fields and your Registration form will be successfully e-signed.
  • If you choose to eSign your document, you need not send the physical copy of form to CRA
  • There is a service charge plus applicable taxes of Rs.25.90 (including UIDAI charge of Rs. 20) for e-signing your registration form.

Validating the form by Print & Courier option

  • You can use this option if you are unable to receive the Aadhaar based OTP on your mobile phone.
  • Select 'Print & Courier' option under the eSign / Print & Courier page
  • You just have to take a printout of the form, paste your photograph and sign (please make sure that you don’t sign across the photograph)
  • Affix your signature on the relevant fields
  • Make sure that the photograph is not to be stapled or clipped to the form
  • The form should be forwarded to CRA within 30 days from the date of the assignment of PRAN to the following address, otherwise the PRAN will be temporarily frozen.

How can a subscriber verify the status of their PRAN application?

Once the PRAN is created, an email intimation as well as an SMS alert will be sent to the registered email ID and the Subscriber's mobile phone. NSDL-CRA also alerts the Subscriber of the dispatch information as soon as the Subscriber's PRAN kit is dispatched.

Subscriber can verify the status of his/her PRAN application by entering the 17-digit receipt number issued by POP-SP or by the acknowledgment number assigned by CRA-FC at the time of submission of the application form at their POP-SP.

Subscribers can also verify the status of their PRAN application by clicking the tabs below under the "Important Links" section on the homepage of the NSDL website.

  • PRAN Application Status (through Ac. ID) – (acknowledgement number allotted by CRA-FC)
  • Status of registration and contribution – (receipt number given by the POP-SP)
  • Status of the PRAN card tracking (NPS Regular) – (to know the PRAN card dispatch status)

Types of Accounts under NPS

In order to pay to the Tier I and Tier II accounts, the Subscriber must deposit the contribution sum along with the properly filled NCIS (NPS Contribution Instruction Slip) to either POP-SP or, alternatively, can visit the eNPS website to make a contribution to the NPS. All 3 methods require you to know your PRAN number. The three methods to add to the NPS are as follows:

  • Fill in the contribution slip and send it to any POP-SP. To find the nearest POP-SP, please visit the "Find your nearest POP-SP" section under "Important Links" on the NPS website.
  • Visit the website of eNPS. Enter your PRAN & DOB to create an OTP transaction to your smartphone online via Net Banking/Debit Card/Credit Card.
  • Install the NPS Smartphone App and contribute at any time and everywhere on the go. The app is available for both Android & iOS users.

How to contribute to your NPS account using the NSDL website?

You can contribute to your NPS account through the NSDL website too. Here are the steps to do it.

  • Visit the NSDL website
  • Click on the login button
  • Login with your PRAN and password
  • Once you have logged in, on the top menu bar, you have the option ‘Contribute Online’
  • This option will take you to the payment page where you enter your PRAN and Date of Birth to validate the account
  • An OTP will be sent to your mobile number or email address, as per your choice, to validate your PRAN
  • Once you validate the account, you should enter the amount you want to contribute and continue on to the next step
  • Here, you will be taken to the payment gateway where you can pay using your debit card or internet banking credentials

PRAN Card FAQs

1. How to update my profile details using PRAN number?

If you have changed addresses or your mobile number, you can update it on your NPS account online. You have to login to your NPS account to do it. Here are the steps:

  • Login to your NPS Account through the CRA-NSDL webpage
  • You have to enter your PRAN and password to access your account
  • Upon logging in, go to your profile section
  • You can update details like your mobile number and email address on this page
  • You might be sent an OTP to validate your request

2. How to track the status of PRAN Card dispatch?

Once you have submitted the request for a PRAN card, it will take at least 20 days for you to receive the card. In case there is a delay and you want to track the status, you can do so on your NPS login.

  • Once you login, go to the ‘Demographic Changes’ tab and select ‘View IPIN/TPIN/Reprint PRAN Request Status’ button
  • You will be taken to a page where you enter the request acknowledgement number and the date range of your request
  • The request status is displayed on the page

3. Am I allowed to open multiple NPS accounts?

No, the opening of multiple NPS accounts for an individual is not authorised under the NPS. However, a person can have one account in the NPS and another account in the Atal Pension Yojna.

4. Do I need a physical copy of my PRAN card?

It is not necessary to have a physical copy of your PRAN card. Your PRAN number is sufficient to carry out all NPS related transactions. However, if you feel the need to have a physical copy of your PRAN card, you can apply for one on the NPS website.

5. What are PRAN and PRAN kits?

Once the Subscriber completed their registration, a PRAN card is sent to the Subscriber which has information like the Subscriber's name, the Father's name, their photograph, the Signature/ThumbPrint and the Subscriber's date of birth. This card validates the authenticity of the details in the CRA system. A PRAN kit containing PRAN card, Subscriber particulars (referred to as Subscriber Master List) and an information booklet is also sent to the registered address of the Subscriber. The Subscriber Master List contains all details submitted by the Subscriber in the application and captured in the CRA framework. In addition, the ePRAN card is also available under the NPS login of the subscriber.

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