Difference Between CDSL and NSDL: Understanding the Two Main Depositories in India

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With the advent of technology, opening a demat account and trading in the stock market has become easier. But who ensures the protection of your demat account? It is the depositories that hold your securities, like stocks, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs, etc, in electronic form. CDSL and NSDL are two depositaries in India. However, they are not the same. They have some differences in their features, operations, and market share. In this blog, we will understand the difference between CDSL and NSDL.

First, let’s grasp what these depositaries do before we jump to the difference between CDSL and NSDL.

What is a Depository?

A depository is a place where securities like stocks, bonds, and mutual fund units are held in electronic form. 

It’s like a digital safe for investors’ assets.

How Many Depositories are there in India?

In India, there are two main depositories: the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) and the Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL). 

These depositories play a crucial role in facilitating electronic trading and holding securities for investors in India.

What is NSDL?

NSDL, short for National Securities Depository Limited, is one of the two main depositories in India. 

It acts as a digital repository for various financial securities, making it easier for investors to buy, sell, and hold these assets.

What is CDSL?

CDSL, or Central Depository Services Limited, is the other major depository in India. Like NSDL, it holds securities electronically and helps transfer them among investors.

NSDL and CDSL both play vital roles in the Indian financial market. They ensure smooth electronic trading and securities holding.

What is DP- Depository Participant?

A Depository Participant (DP) is like a bridge between investors and the depository. They help investors open and maintain accounts to hold securities in electronic form.

Exploring the Difference Between CDSL and NSDL
Exploring the Difference Between CDSL and NSDL

Exploring the Difference Between CDSL and NSDL

Full FormCentral Depository Services LimitedNational Securities Depository Limited
Year of establishment19991996
Demat Account FormatDemat accounts held with CDSL have 16 numeric digits in themNSDL demat accounts have two alphanumeric digits- ‘IN’ and 14 numeric digits.
Number of Investor Accounts (as of Jan 31st, 2024)
Number of Depository Participants (as of Jan 31st, 2024)582283

Difference Between CDSL and NSDL


  • Full form: Central Depository Services Limited
  • Year of establishment: 1999
  • Primary stock exchange: Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)
  • Promoters: BSE Ltd., along with other banks and financial institutions
  • Demat Account Format: 16 numeric digits


  • Full form: National Securities Depository Limited
  • Year of establishment: 1996
  • Primary stock exchange: National Stock Exchange (NSE)
  • Promoters: IDBI Bank Ltd., Unit Trust of India, and NSE Ltd., along with other banks and financial institutions
  • Demat Account Format: Two alphanumeric digits ‘IN’ and 14 numeric digits

Benefits of CDSL and NSDL

In the depository system, securities are owned and transferred through electronic book entries. 

This eliminates the risks of handling paper certificates, benefiting investors in several ways. For example,

  • Elimination of bad deliveries
  • Immediate transfer and registration of securities
  • Faster disbursement of non-cash corporate benefits
  • Reduction in paper handling
  • Periodic status reports
  • Simplified procedures for change of address and transmission of demat shares
  • Simplified selling of securities on behalf of a minor
  • Ease in portfolio monitoring

These benefits make investing and managing securities easier, safer, and more efficient for investors using CDSL and NSDL services.

Services Offered by CDSL and NSDL

CDSL and NSDL offer essential services for managing securities electronically

  • Account Maintenance: Records and updates investors’ demat accounts.
  • Dematerialisation: Converts physical securities into electronic form.
  • Rematerialisation: Converts electronic securities back into physical form.
  • Market Transfer: Facilitates safe transfer of securities ownership through stock exchanges.
  • Off-Market Transfer: Enables direct transfer of securities outside of stock exchanges.
  • Pledge: Allows using securities as collateral for loans or credit facilities.
  • Margin Pledge: Enables using securities as collateral for margin trading.
  • Nomination: Facilitates appointing nominees for inheriting securities.
  • These services simplify electronic securities management and transactions for investors.

Conclusion: CDSL vs NSDL

Choosing between CDSL and NSDL depends on investor preferences and needs. Both provide reliable services in India’s securities market. 

Investors should evaluate their DP’s reputation and the required stock market trading services. You must understand your trading preference with the associated stock exchange (NSE or BSE). 

Remember that user satisfaction is the top thing to keep in mind when making a choice.

FAQs| Difference Between CDSL and NSDL

What are the functions of NSDL?

CDSL, or Central Depository Services Limited, keeps securities in electronic form safe for investors. It helps with easy trading, transferring, and settling of securities. Also, it offers services like managing accounts and providing statements.

What are the functions of CDSL?

NSDL, or National Securities Depository Limited, does similar work to CDSL. It lets investors hold and trade securities electronically. Additionally, it manages demat accounts and provides participant services.

Can I transfer CDSL to NSDL?

Yes, you can transfer shares from CDSL to NSDL. You can do it digitally with CDSL Easiest, but it requires a digital signature. Alternatively, you can do it offline in a physical form.

Who controls NSDL and CDSL?

Both NSDL and CDSL are regulated by SEBI, the market regulator in India. They also have their own boards of directors with representatives from various organisations.

How do I know if I have NSDL or CDSL?

You can find out if you have NSDL or CDSL by checking your demat account number. NSDL numbers start with “IN” followed by 14 digits, while CDSL numbers start with 16 digits.

Source- nsdl.co.in cdslindia.com


Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.