In 2004, the Government of India introduced the National Pension System (NPS), a retirement savings scheme. This pension scheme helps working individuals to build a retirement corpus through annual deposits during their working years. Initially, this scheme was only available for government sector employees; later, it was opened to employees in every sector.
To join the NPS, individuals need a Permanent Retirement Account, and upon registration, they receive a card called the Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN) Card.
What is PRAN?
It is a unique 12-digit number assigned to individuals who have enrolled in the National Pension Scheme (NPS). The mandatory registration for a PRAN Card is applicable to both Central and State Government employees and can be completed through the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL).
There are two types of NPS accounts associated with a PRAN:
- Tier-I: A subscriber is required to contribute annually to their retirement funds in this account and are not allowed to withdraw the amount from this account before reaching retirement.
- Tier-II: It is like a savings account; it allows withdrawals but does not provide tax benefits.
Once the PRAN is allocated, NPS subscribers can choose to receive a physical PRAN Card. Since the PRAN Card acts as the unique identifier for an NPS subscriber, the allocated PRAN remains unchanged throughout the subscriber's lifetime.
How to apply for PRAN Card offline
You can visit the nearest Point-of-Presence (PoP) under NPS, these are typically your banks.
You are required to fill the PRAN Card application form, that includes the following details:
- Subscribers’ personal details
- Subscribers’ employment details
- Subscribers’ nomination details
- Details of the scheme
- Subscriber’s declaration to the Pension Regulatory Fund and Development Authority (PRFDA)
Once the PRAN application form is filled, the applicant should submit it to the relevant official.
How to apply for PRAN Card online
The entire process of opening an account can be accomplished online through the NSDL or Karvy websites, which serve as the Central Recordkeeping Agencies (CRAs) responsible for maintaining and opening NPS accounts in India. Using the online portal, you have the option to apply for PRAN using your Aadhar Card or PAN Card.
1. Apply for PRAN using PAN
- To apply through PAN, the applicant must have a bank account.
- The bank will conduct the KYC verification.
- Verify that the name and address you provide match the records at the selected bank.
- Fill in all mandatory details online.
- Upload scanned copies of PAN Card and a cancelled cheque.
- Upload the scanned signature and photograph.
- Proceed to the payment portal to pay for the National Pension System account.
- You have the option to print and courier the registration form to CRA or e-Sign it
2. Apply for PRAN using Aadhaar
- NPS KYC is facilitated through Aadhaar OTP (One Time Password) authentication.
- The Aadhaar OTP is sent to the mobile number registered in the Aadhaar database.
- Demographic details and a photo will be automatically retrieved from the Aadhaar database and filled into the online form.
- Complete all mandatory details in the online form.
- As part of the registration, upload your scanned signature (in .jpeg/.jpg format with a file size between 4kb – 12kb).
- If you want to replace the Aadhaar photo, you can upload a scanned photograph.
- Proceed to a payment gateway for payment using Debit/Credit card or internet banking for your NPS account.
Documents for online PRAN Card application
- PAN (Permanent Account Number) card
- Aadhar card
- Scanned copy of a bank passbook or cancelled cheque
- Scanned copy of your signature
- Scanned copy of a passport-sized photograph
- Scanned copy of passport (mandatory for NRI applicants)
Note: Scanned documents should be in .jpeg/.jpg format and have a file size within the range of 4kb to 12kb.
How to activate your PRAN Card
The simplest method to activate a PRAN Card is by using the "eSign" option. For applicants who have applied for a PRAN Card through their Aadhaar number, the activation process involves the following steps:
- Choose the ‘eSign’ option on the ‘eSign / Print and Courier’ page.
- An OTP will be sent to the registered mobile number.
- Enter the received OTP.
- Upon OTP verification, the applicant's PRAN Card will be activated, and they will receive a confirmation.
Steps to login to PRAN Card portal for NPS
For accessing NPS PRAN login, you can utilise the number displayed on your PRAN Card to log in to your NPS account online. The following steps outline the PRAN Card login process:
- Step 1: Visit the NPS Login Portal and select the 'Login for Existing Subscribers' option if you already possess a PRAN Card.
- Step 2: On the subsequent page, use your Permanent Retirement Account Number as printed on the PRAN Card, along with the NPS account's password, to access your NPS account.
How to print e-PRAN?
- Visit the eNPS portal and log in with your user ID and password.
- Select 'My Transaction' from the drop-down menu.
- Click 'Print PRAN Card' and a PDF will be generated with details of your e-PRAN Card, including your PRAN number, name, and address.
- You can take a printout of this PDF document.
Obtaining your PRAN (Permanent Retirement Account Number) is a straightforward process that can be done online through the NSDL website or by submitting the application form to the nearest Point of Presence. Understanding the significance of your PRAN and the associated procedures is essential for a secure and stable retirement.