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Difference between NSDL and CDSL

3 Mins 01 May 2023 0 COMMENT

The advent of technology has made it easier to trade in the stock market. From physical trading pits to mobile app-based trading, the market ecosystem has evolved enormously. You no longer need to visit the stockbroker in person to make a trade. The physical share certificates are also done away with. Today shares are held in a dematerialised form, securely in your Demat Account. And your Demat Account is secured by a Depository. Let us understand what is a depository and the services offered by a depository.

What is a Depository?

A depository is an institution that securely holds shares and other financial securities on behalf of investors in a dematerialised format or an electronic form. Investors need to open a demat account with a Depository Participant (DP), who acts as a link between an investor and a Depository.

Demat accounts store all your financial securities in an electronic form. These demat accounts are managed by the depositories. When you purchase shares, they get credited to your demat account. When you sell them, your demat account gets debited.

DPs are agents of the depository. It could be a bank, a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), or a stockbroking firm. You open a Demat Account with any DP you prefer. Generally, you must consider services and associated costs to choose a suitable DP. It is also advisable to open a Trading Account with the same DP. This facilitates the seamless execution of trades.

When you raise a trade request through your DP it gets forwarded to the concerned depository, and then the trade is executed. A depository streamlines the entire trading process.

There are two depositories in India – National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL) and Central Depository Services India Ltd. (CDSL). Let us check out the significance and key difference between CDSL and NSDL.

What is the significance of NSDL and CDSL?

National Securities Depository Ltd. (NSDL) was established in 1996. Headquartered in Mumbai, NSDL is the oldest and largest depository in India. It was the first depository to provide online trading services in India. Given this, it has played a pivotal role in shaping the modern Indian financial markets.

Central Depository Services India Ltd. (CDSL) was established in 1999. It is the second largest Depository in India, that’s headquartered in Mumbai. Similar to NSDL, it provides online trading services.

Both NDSL and CDSL are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). Both depositories are responsible for the safekeeping of various financial securities like stocks, bonds, debentures, commercial papers and mutual funds. They keep a track of stock ownership, facilitate the trading of securities in the market and also offer clearing and settlement services,

The following are the most popular services offered by these two Depositories:

  • Maintenance of Demat Accounts
  • Dematerialisation and Rematerialisation of shares
  • Executing transfer of shares
  • Trade settlements
  • Managing collateral provision

Besides regulating smooth transactions, the depositories strengthen and streamline the process of transferring the benefits to the shareholders’ accounts. The companies issue certain benefits to shareholders such as dividends and bonus shares. Depositories help in the automatic transfer of such benefits to the demat accounts of respective shareholders.

Moreover, investors can use their shares held in demat accounts as collateral against a loan. Both depositories, NSDL and CDSL provide a collateral account that holds the pledged securities till the loan is repaid.

Now, these are only some of the service offerings of depositories. You can learn more about the depository services offered by visiting their respective websites.

NSDL and CDSL difference

Following are the key differences between NSDL and CDSL to make note of:

Point of difference



Operating market

NSDL primarily operates in the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

CDSL primarily operates in the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Year of establishment

NSDL was established in 1996.

CDSL was established in 1999.

Demat Account number format

NSDL issues a 16-digit alpha-numeric number beginning with IN.

CDSL issues a 16-digit Demat Account number. It does not have any alphabet.


NSDL is promoted by NSE, IDBI Bank Ltd. and Unit Trust of India.

CDSL is only promoted by BSE.

Number of Demat accounts*

3.07 crore

7.96 crore

Depository Participants*



*As on January 31, 2023

A depository participant can choose to be registered with both depositories as well.

NSDL vs CDSL: Which is better?

There is no straight answer to who is a better depository between NSDL and CDSL. The decision of choosing a depository lies with your DP. For various reasons, it may choose to hold your Demat Account with either of the two depositories. Both depositories offer similar services and provide seamless transactions in the market.

Disclaimer: ICICI Securities Ltd. (I-Sec). Registered office of I-Sec is at ICICI Securities Ltd. - ICICI Venture House, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai - 400 025, India, Tel No : 022 - 6807 7100. I-Sec is a Member of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (Member Code :07730), BSE Ltd (Member Code :103) and Member of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (Member Code: 56250) and having SEBI registration no. INZ000183631. Name of the Compliance officer (broking): Ms. Mamta Shetty, Contact number: 022-40701022, E-mail address: complianceofficer@icicisecurities.com. Investments in securities markets are subject to market risks, read all the related documents carefully before investing. The contents herein above shall not be considered as an invitation or persuasion to trade or invest.  I-Sec and affiliates accept no liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any actions taken in reliance thereon. Such representations are not indicative of future results. The securities quoted are exemplary and are not recommendatory. The contents herein above are solely for informational purpose and may not be used or considered as an offer document or solicitation of offer to buy or sell or subscribe for securities or other financial instruments or any other product. Investors should consult their financial advisers whether the product is suitable for them before taking any decision. The contents herein mentioned are solely for informational and educational purpose.