The purpose of a provident fund is mainly providing financial security as well as stability to retired or elderly people. In most cases, people start contributing in these funds when they begin their life as an employee. The contributions are made in regular intervals, which in most cases is on a monthly basis. The main function of such a saving tool is to aid employees to be able to save an amount of their salary each. This amount may be used in certain cases such as the employee is temporarily or permanently unfit to work or even at retirement. The investments that are made by a group of people or employees are pooled in and invested by a trust.
Upto Oct 2014, each employee was entitled to a Provident Fund (PF) account number that was associated with the employer. This meant that in the case of change in work meant having to get another Provident Fund number. It involved hassles such as transfer of accounts from one number to another. Multiple account numbers created a major complication considering that a majority of employee grievances employees were pertaining the transferring of funds from one EPF account number to another. To be able to address this grievance of many salaried people. EPFO, the organization that deals with Indian EPF, launched a UAN no. that stands for Universal Account Number that can be used for a number of EPF related functions. The UAN can be used on the member's website which is http://uanmembers.epfoservices.in, All that a member needs to do is activate his or her registration to be able to use the various facilities such as UAN card download, updating of KYC information, member passbook download, listing all his member ids to UAN and even file and view their transfer claims.
Employee Provident Fund (EPF) is administered and run by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) of India. A company, organization or establishment with 20 and more employees or workers who are working in any of the 180 industries, enlisted by the EPFO are eligible for EPF and hence should register themselves for the same. As a general trend, 12% of the Basic salary, Daily Allowance, as well as the cash value of food allowances is generally contributed to their respective EPF account. EPFO is also a statutory body working as a part of the Indian Government under the Labour and Employment Ministry. It is also said to be one of the largest social security organisations globally when it comes to the number of members as well as the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
How To Check EPF Balance Through SMS
The EPF balance can be checked online on the member's website as mentioned earlier. However, what if you are in a situation where you do not have any online access and just have your phone in hand, but need to check your EPF balance desperately. The EPFO has come with the solution. It is simply an SMS that allows you to check your EPF balance on SMS.
For initial users, you would require to login to EPFO provide and provide details. As of October 2015, EPFO has also started balance-checking facility of EPF through cell phones. This means that there is no requirement of logging in to EPFO portal and provide details.
On September 18, 2015 the EPFO also launched the EPF Mobile App, SMS Based UAN Activation and also the Missed Call Service. As mentioned earlier, EPFO launched the UAN (Universal Account Number) advantage for all EPF members. To make the UAN facility more user-friendly, EPFO started SMS based balance-checking facility. Note that this feature can be only used by people who have UAN Account Number and have registered their mobile number during UAN activation. Here are the steps to check EPF balance with SMS and texting.
- Use the UAN registered mobile number, for sending the text to number 7738299899.
- The format of the message will be like EPFOHO UAN <ENG> for receiving the message in English.
- There is an option to receive texts in 10 vernacular languages (English, Hindi, Telugu, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, and Bengali).
- Once you send the message, then EPFO will send you, the member details available as well as details of the KYC, last contribution, along with the total EPF balance.
Remember that you may not receive the message in the case that your Aadhaar, PAN and bank account were digitally approved and provided by the employer. Therefore if you do not receive the SMS then contact your current employer immediately.
Process to Check EPF Balance Through SMS
Provident fund is a financial security asset which acts as a stable and a disciplined investment solution for post-retirement needs of employees. Individuals contribute towards PF throughout their employment on a periodic basis, which can either be withdrawn while quitting jobs or during important occasions such as marriages and medical emergencies. For the working class, in both private and public sector, EPF is an idyllic investment solution for retirement corpus. At present, the wage ceiling for coverage under EPFO is Rs.15,000 per month which is likely to be raised in the coming days.
Transfer of provident fund accounts was considered a herculean task by employees as it involved surplus amount of paperwork and EPFO visits. But with the launch of web enabled UAN system, the entire process has become extremely convenient, safe, and secure. Apart from the web portal, EPFO also offers mobile services including app and SMS service.
Benefits of SMS Service
SMS is generally a one-to-one communication medium which is less time consuming compared to other means of instant information delivery. In other words, it delivers the message straight into the hands of the intended user. SMS is a widely used tool for B2C communications, and at the same time it is also one of the most preferred channels of attending user requests by various organizations such as financial institutions and governmental bodies. The SMS service launched by EPFO exemplifies the same.
Due to the advancement in technology, numerous applications have been launched in the mobile market. Even then, Short Messaging Service (SMS) deserves a special place among all solutions available in the digital space. With the proliferation of mobile devices, SMS has become an integral tool for establishing quicker communications. Going in line with digital progression, EPFO offers short code SMS service to access information related to PF accounts.
The Short Messaging Service of EPFO
EPFO has been proactively engaged in providing innovative services to pensioners, employed members, and establishments. In 2014, the retirement fund body launched a valuable service to attend the instantaneous requests of members with an active UAN number—the SMS service. You may be prompted to think of the benefits of SMS over other means, especially when a broad range of web and smartphone services are offered by EPFO. There are many ways to check the employee provident fund balance including web portals and apps. However, the SMS service comes in handy where where an individual doesn’t have access to internet but still needs to check his EPF balance on priority. For example, if you want to withdraw your PF amount owing to a medical emergency, you can instantly check your balance to plan accordingly.
To subscribe to SMS service, members will have to login to the EPFO website and register with their mobile number. Registered users with an active UAN can simply send an SMS to 7738299899 in the format EPFOHO
A valid UAN number and KYC details are the only prerequisites for availing the EPFO SMS service. For requests made by registered members, the EPFO server will respond with the following information:
- Date of birth
- Last contribution made by the employee
- Total contributions
Note: By mistake, members should not provide the actual UAN number instead of typing “UAN” while sending SMS request for balance check. This will generate an error message in response.
Other Ways to Check PF Balance Instantly
EPFO has been providing user-friendly services to simplify the entire process of balance enquiry and data downloads. E-Sewa, missed call, and mobile app are the other notable solutions launched by the government to handle multiple requests from registered members. You can access the e-sewa portal by simply visiting the EPFO official website. In cases where UAN has not been generated, members can choose to register with government issued documents of proof such as Aadhaar card, Voter ID, Passport, etc. to know their PF account details.
Much like the SMS service, the missed call facility can be used at times when internet is unavailable. Members can dial 011 22901406 to receive details such as name, PF number, and date of birth. The missed call service doesn’t provide details of outstanding balance unless UAN has been linked to KYC documents.
At present, the EPF app is available only for Android phones, but it is expected to be launched for different mobile platforms soon. The app also allows pensioners to view their pension disbursement details, account balance, and much more. Employers too can view remittance slips and other important information using the mobile app.
Word of caution: Make sure that you don’t use any of the third party applications available on play store for EPF balance check. You are more likely to give away critical information pertaining to your EPF account by using such apps.
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News about EPF
Government exempts employees from mandatory PF contributions
In an attempt to increase employment in the country, the Government of India has brought a sigh of relief to those earning less than Rs.15,000 in the country. The Government of India has said that such employees do not have to make PF contributions for the first three years of employment. According to a statement from Central Provident Fund Commissioner, Dr. V P Joy, he said that employees would have to form a sort of a society with minimum strength of ten personnel and accordingly inform the EPFO that they are opting for a housing scheme and the EPFO would accordingly settle their monthly EMIs from their PF accounts to the respective society. He added by saying that the basic objective of this scheme is to make sure that humble employees with bear monthly minimum wages not exceeding Rs.15,000 is able to possess a dwelling unit at a location of his choice and irrespective of any particular size.
9th August 2017
EPFO to Eliminate Duplicate UANs
The Employee Provident Fund Organization has decided to deactivate all Universal Account Numbers (UAN) from which a PF transfer has been made to an account with a different UAN. This will be done with a view to eliminate duplicacy of UANs and avoid unnecessary confusions. EPFO plans to track PF transfers from accounts possessing different UANs and if a UAN of a PF account to which the transfer is done is different from the UAN of the source PF account, the new UAN will be eliminated. For all identified cases, the member will be notified about duplicate UANs through SMS on his/her registered number following which the member has to update his/her UAN to get further correspondence on all EPF transfers or withdrawals.
03rd October 2016
EPFO launches 3 mobile based services for subscribers
The Employee Provident Fund Organisation has launched 3 new services with the aim of making operation of provident fund accounts simpler. The first of these services is an SMS alert service that will inform subscribers of their PF details if a missed call is given on 01122901406. Once the call is made, an SMS will be sent with the PF balance but it will work only if the call is made from a number registered with the EPFO.
The second service is a short code service where an SMS can be sent to 7738299899 to get details of their EPF. The third service is a mobile application that can be used to activate the UAN accounts. The mobile application will also show the amount in the PF and details of payments made into the account every month.
7th December 2015