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ECS is an electronic mode of payment / receipt for transactions that are repetitive and periodic in nature. ECS is used by institutions for making bulk payment of amounts towards distribution of dividend, interest, salary, pension, etc., or for bulk collection of amounts towards telephone / electricity / water dues, cess / tax collections, loan instalment repayments, periodic investments in mutual funds, insurance premium etc. Essentially, ECS facilitates bulk transfer of monies from one bank account to many bank accounts or vice versa. ECS includes transactions processed under National Automated Clearing House (NACH) operated by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

Primarily, there are two variants of ECS – ECS Credit and ECS Debit.

ECS Credit is used by an institution for affording credit to a large number of beneficiaries (for instance, employees, investors etc.) having accounts with bank branches at various locations within the jurisdiction of a ECS Centre by raising a single debit to the bank account of the user institution. ECS Credit enables payment of amounts towards distribution of dividend, interest, salary, pension, etc., of the user institution.

ECS Debit is used by an institution for raising debits to a large number of accounts (for instance, consumers of utility services, borrowers, investors in mutual funds etc.) maintained with bank branches at various locations within the jurisdiction of a ECS Centre for single credit to the bank account of the user institution. ECS Debit is useful for payment of telephone / electricity / water bills, cess / tax collections, loan installment repayments, periodic investments in mutual funds, insurance premium etc., that are periodic or repetitive in nature and payable to the user institution by large number of customers etc.

Advantages of the ECS Credit Scheme to the beneficiary

 ECS Credit offers many advantages to the beneficiary –

  • The beneficiary need not visit his / her bank for depositing the paper instruments which he would have otherwise received had he not opted for ECS Credit.
  • The beneficiary need not be apprehensive of loss / theft of physical instruments or the likelihood of fraudulent encashment thereof.
  • Cost effective.
  • The beneficiary receives the funds right on the due date.

Who can initiate a ECS Debit transaction?

ECS Debit transaction can be initiated by any institution (called ECS Debit User) which has to receive / collect amounts towards telephone / electricity / water dues, cess / tax collections, loan installment repayments, periodic investments in mutual funds, insurance premium etc. It is a Scheme under which an account holder with a bank branch can authorise an ECS User to recover an amount at a prescribed frequency by raising a debit to his / her bank account.

The User institution has to first register with an ECS Centre. The User institution has to also obtain the authorization (mandate) from its customers for debiting their account along with their bank account particulars prior to participation in the ECS Debit scheme. The mandate has to be duly verified by the beneficiary’s bank. A copy of the mandate should be available on record with the destination bank where the customer has a bank account.

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