With advancements in technology and digital transformation taking over, our lives have certainly become much more convenient and efficient. Gone are the days when we had to stand for hours in long queues to get a simple job done. Be it grocery shopping, travel bookings, or paying taxes, now we can get all our daily life tasks easier and faster through digital means.
In keeping with the changes, the Government of India has decided to implement the FASTag technology at more than 520 toll plazas across the country’s highways. The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has even made it mandatory for all commercial and private vehicles plying on National Highways to install a FASTag to be able to pay toll taxes at the toll plazas.
What is a FASTag?
FASTag is a rechargeable prepaid tag which allows the vehicle owners to make automatic payment of toll at toll plazas on national highways of India. Governed by the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), FASTag is operated by 22 banks or NBFCs, including the State Bank of India, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, PayTM etc.
How FASTag works?
FASTags are equipped with the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology and are affixed to the windscreens of the vehicles. Whenever a vehicle, with FASTag installed on its windscreen, passes through a toll plaza, its FASTag details are automatically captured by the toll plaza system through RFID and the toll amount is deducted directly from the linked prepaid account of the vehicle owner.
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The user needs to have sufficient balance in his/her prepaid account or wallet linked with the FASTag. The validity of a FASTag is for 5 years from the date of its issuance after which it needs to be recharged or renewed.
Benefits of FASTag
The preliminary objective behind the introduction of FASTag by the Government of India is to reduce the congestion of vehicles at toll plazas, thereby limiting the harmful vehicular emissions into the air. The use of FASTags will also benefit the users in numerous other ways:
- It will help in reducing the waiting time of the passengers at toll plazas. This would mean that with FASTags, they’ll be able to complete the same journey in less time and with less hassles.
- It will help the vehicle owners to save fuel by preventing the repetitive use of accelerators and brakes at toll plazas. Moreover, as an introductory offer, the government is offering 2.5% cashback on all toll transactions done at NHAI plazas during the financial year 2019-20.
- It will also mean that the passengers don’t have to worry about cash or change every time they approach a toll plaza during their journey. With FASTag installed on their vehicle, they can just drive through the toll plaza while the toll amount would be deducted automatically from the linked prepaid account.
- It will help the vehicle owners to keep a track of all toll payments easily. They will be able to see all toll transactions in their bank passbook or wallet app. Moreover, there is a dedicated web portal for the FASTag users through which they can manage multiple FASTags efficiently.
How to get the FASTag?
FASTags can be obtained from any Point of Sale (PoS) locations of issuer agencies available at toll plazas across the states, RTOs, authorised bank branches, and selected petrol pumps. It can also be ordered through e-commerce portals such as Amazon and PayTM.
The vehicle owner will be required to pay a one-time fee of Rs. 200 to get the FASTag installed on his/her vehicle. Additionally, he/she will have to pay a refundable security deposit, depending upon his/her type of vehicle.
To buy a FASTag, the vehicle owner is required to furnish some documents to the issuer including the Registration Certificate of his/her vehicle, mobile number for OTP validation, and KYC documents.
Note: Those who are living within the radius of 10 km from a toll plaza can avail concessions on FASTag charges and toll payments by submitting a proof of their residence at the nearest PoS.