Meaning of Customer Identification File/Form (CIF)
Customer Identification File, or CIF number in general, is an electronic, 11 digit number that contains all the personal information of the customers of the bank. It is also otherwise called Customer Information File. It holds the loan, KYC, identity proof and DEMAT details across all accounts maintained by the consumer with the bank.
Understanding Customer Identification File
Customer Identification File serves the purpose of holding all required details of the customer across various accounts and services of the bank in one safe place. It is electronic and non-transferable, and unique to every customer. The personal information held usually contains the KYC (Know Your Customer) details, bank information like loan and transaction specifics and summary among other statistics, like identity details such as birthday, age etc. joint to any bank account.
It helps reduce confusion, fraud or mistakes pertaining to providing the customers efficient service and reception. When either the bank or the account holder needs the information about the account, only each of them can access it and easily. It is thus maintained with utmost secrecy. Sometimes, it is also used as a marketing tool to offer new products and schemes and guides to the customer.
Highlights of Customer Identification File
CIF is sharable with only select people i.e. the bank and the account holder and nominees.
CIF can be used by the account holders to collect information from online portals, passbooks, customer care of banks and bank managers if needed.
CIF number contains personal and sensitive information since it holds trails of One Time Passwords, PAN details, identity documents and account details of more than one account with the bank.
Banks are also able to access the number by decoding the 11 digits in order to have insight of the account information of any customer. This becomes important when sanctioning loans and verifying transactions.