FASTags must for all cars from January 15th. All you wanted to know about FASTag payments.
As per the latest news, the central government has extended FASTag deadline to January 15th of 2020. Starting December 1st, it was made compulsory for all vehicles to make contactless payments at toll plazas on national highways. Then it was extended to December 15th to allow the citizens more time to install FASTag.
Now, this mandatory FASTag deadline is relaxed until January 15th 2020. The Road Transport and Highways Ministry is of the view that all the vehicle owners should be given ample time to get the RFID-based payment system. There are rumours Government has extended the deadline due to a shortage of RFID stickers in the market.
Electronic Toll Collection Revolutionizing the Highway Driving Experience:
With this, there seems to be increased adoption of Fastags ahead of the mandatory implementation. Starting 21st November, the Govt has scrapped the charges for FASTag documentation and this served as a breather to get the FASTag sticker for the vehicle.
Usually, the vehicles passing through highways stop and pay toll at the toll plazas. This leads to unnecessary congestion. This gets exponentially high during festivals and VIP movement.
High-tech Highways: An Evolution of Tolling:
Beginning in 1986, Norway had been a world pioneer in the widespread implementation of this technology. Italy was the first country to deploy a full ETC system in motorways at national scale in 1989.
Slowly, several countries started adopting this emerging e-toll technology. In 1995, Portugal became the first nation to adopt a single, universal e-toll system at all its toll booths in the country.
Japan was the first Asian nation (in 2001), accompanied by China (in 2014) to adopt cashless toll payments through ETC deployment.
FASTag Service for Cashless Toll Payments:
Finally, India joined the list of 40-plus countries by rolling out the country’s first interoperable RIFD-based electronic toll system on the Ahmedabad – Mumbai National Highway (Charoti Toll Plaza, Dahanu in Thane District, Maharashtra) in October 2014.
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) developed this electronic toll-collection system in India. It’s named as National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC).
This offers a nationwide toll payment solution including the convenience of cashless payment, settlement and dispute management.
Only FASTag Payments at Toll Plazas from December 15:
Currently, FASTag is operational at 537 toll plazas on national highways across India. In the future, a greater number of toll plazas would be brought under FASTag system. Thus, surely one can expect a hassle-free trip on national highways.
Come, from December 15th onwards, it’s a mandatory requirement for all the vehicles to get FASTag sticker. The Government is making all efforts to turn national highway plazas into cashless toll payment centres using RFID-based FASTag service.
The NHAI is encouraging state governments by bearing 80% of the operational costs (both civil and electronic stuff) to make their toll plazas FASTag-enabled.
Vehicles without FASTag to Pay Double Toll Fee:
Moreover, if the vehicle is not equipped with the unique radio-frequency identification (RFID) stickers on their windshield, you’ll be charged double the toll fee if they pass through FASTag-only lanes.
Don’t know whether this is really possible or not but the Govt is making all efforts to implement this FASTag RFID system for sure.
As a mandatory requirement, all newly purchased vehicles will automatically get the FASTag pass from the showroom itself. In order to promote the new cashless payment at the toll booths, the Govt is offering 2.5% cashback on the toll transactions made through FASTag.
What’s Next with FASTag?
In the near future, apart from eliminating long queues at the toll plaza, the FASTag payments system is being extended to buy fuel and pay parking charges in cities.
Hyderabad International Airport (RGIA) is being worked out as a pilot project for FASTag Car Park with ICICI FASTag as an operator. Ultimately, this will ensure a seamless entry of vehicles in high-security zones.
The Other Side of the Coin:
According to the latest information from NHAI, the FASTag payments has not picked up yet. And over 70% of toll is still being collected in cash. If this is the situation in tech-savvy Bengaluru, one can imagine the plight of PAN-India which is dominated by the rural sector.
All is not well even for those with FASTags. The users are complaining that toll is being charged twice for the same journey. Upon verification, the NHAI attributed it to “the possible system errors”.
As FASTag is mandatory, one should be aware of its risks too. Thus, it’s always better to be on the safe side by linking your FASTag to a prepaid card, not a savings or current account. In this way, you can prevent automatic deductions from your bank account.
FASTag Toll Payments Explained: What, Why, How
If you are new this field, N number of questions do pup-up in your mind.
What is this FASTag? Why should one use this? Where to get this FAStag and how does it work? What should we know before we use FASTag? Will this device really help commuters and toll collection?
Let me answer all these queries one by one.
What is FASTag?
FASTag is a tag that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments electronically while the vehicle is in motion.
In simple terms, FASTag is a sticker containing an embedded chip and antenna.
Under this system, you don’t need to wait for hours to make your toll payment. The toll fare amount is deducted from the customer’s linked prepaid account.
The RFID passive tag is gently affixed on the windscreen (front part) of the vehicle. This is very unique and it can’t be transferred to any other vehicle.
What are the benefits of FASTag?
As the vehicle doesn’t need to stop at the toll plaza for the cash transaction, it simply saves your valuable time by minimizing the waiting period. And of course, your fuel consumption and reduced vehicular emission (pollution) as well.
This payment mode is accepted across India without any limitation.
It increases transparency and efficiency in processing toll transactions. You’ll receive an SMS alert on the registered mobile number. One can even access the statement by visiting the FASTag customer portal. These analytics helps in better highway management.
You don’t need to worry about the handling of cash (and change) while making the toll payments. Similarly, you can recharge the FASTag account online through Credit Card/Debit Card/NEFT/RTGS or Net Banking.
You get a cashback of 2.5% on all toll payments at the national highways using FASTag in the financial year 2019-20 (ie. Until March 31, 2020).
The cashback amount will be credited back to your FASTag account within a week of the subsequent month, i.e. if the transaction is done in December then cashback will be processed in February.
What is the validity of FASTag?
The FASTag has a validity of 5 years. After purchasing the FASTag service, you just need to top up as per your requirement.
Is FASTag mandatory (compulsory) or optional?
During the initial stages, FASTag was purely a voluntary program. However, it is now mandatory across India.
Starting January 15th, FASTag is compulsory for all kinds of vehicles (car, jeep, van, Tata Ace and similar mini light commercial vehicles, minibus, truck, tractor, and Earth Moving or heavy construction machinery).
What if I don’t have FASTag for my vehicle?
Starting December 15th, all lanes at the toll plaza would be labelled as FASTag lane leaving only up to 25% (on a case-to-case basis) hybrid lane in each direction. This hybrid lane will accept FASTag as well as other modes of payment.
Any vehicle entering into a designated FASTag lane will be charged double the applicable toll amount in cash in case it doesn’t have the required FASTag.
Thus, it’s better to look for the hybrid lane where all modes of payment are accepted. By this, you can avoid the penalty of double toll tax. Moreover, it also reduces unnecessary chaos and congestion.
On which roads FASTag is accepted?
There are 1025 toll plazas across India. Out of them, FASTag is being accepted at over 540 toll plazas of NHAI across National Highways. As the FASTag program is mandatory, a greater number of toll plazas will be brought under this hassle-free passage system.
What are the guidelines (points to be noted) for easy acceptance/reading of FASTag?
- In every toll plaza, you’ll observe boards indicating dedicated FASTag lanes. Just make sure that the vehicle passes only through those FASTag integrated lanes.
- Always make sure that the vehicle speed is not more than 25-30 km/h.
- Similarly, don’t try to overtake the vehicles in that FASTag lane. Always make sure that there is a minimum of 10 meters distance between each vehicle for the smooth functioning of RFID.
- Leave the lane only after you observe green light. This indicates that the system has read your FASTag successfully.
- Don’t try to stay for a longer duration even after observing the green light. By doing so, the gate might again get closed.
- If there is any fault with your FASTag, then traffic signal will turn red in colour. In such situations, the toll plaza support person will manually scan the FASTag.
- In case, everything is right, you’ll see a green signal. Otherwise, you need to make the toll payment in cash.
- In spite of having a FASTag, you might end up passing through a normal lane. Here, the support person will manually scan the RFID sticker and let you go.
How can I Get FASTag? How long does it take to get FASTag?
The FASTag can be purchased both online and offline. The customer can directly get FASTag account created at Toll Plazas and banks.
The Govt has tied up with 23 banks including SBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, PAYTM Payments Bank etc to facilitate FASTag.
In order to promote FASTag payments religiously, the Government is taking steps to issue FASTag at all levels including select toll plazas, petrol pumps, national banks, and online platforms (Paytm and Amazon India).
If you are a smartphone user, then you can download My FASTag app from the Google Play Store (or Apple App Store) and purchase the FASTag pass.
Generally, it takes 12 to 15 working days to get FASTag delivered at your home. As there’s a huge rush now, one can expect delay.
How much does a FASTag cost?
Apart from the nationalized banks, you can purchase FASTag at Amazon India and Paytm websites. Interestingly, the price of FASTag varies depending on the seller.
At Paytm, for example, the individual FASTag costs ₹500. This includes ₹100 as tag joining fee, ₹250 as a refundable security deposit, ₹150 as the first recharge for your FASTag account. The minimum threshold amount (to remain active) for the Paytm issued FASTag is ₹150.
Whereas the HDFC Bank FASTag costs ₹400 only. This includes FREE tag joining fee (till 31st December 2019), ₹100 as the reissuance fee, ₹200 as refundable security deposit and ₹100 as the threshold amount. The minimum threshold amount (to remain active) for the HDFC Bank FASTag is ₹100.
How to recharge FASTag?
One can recharge FASTag by linking it with a bank account or FASTag wallet. You can even log in at Fastag portal using USERID or Wallet ID and recharge your account with the required amount.
The Paytm FASTag users can directly recharge the linked Paytm account.
- If you are limited KYC FASTag account holder, then you can’t add more than ₹10,000 to FASTag prepaid account.
- If you have Full KYC, then you can add up to ₹1 lakh to your FASTag prepaid wallet.
You can use a debit card, credit card, net banking, NEFT, RTGS, cheque, UPI payment to recharge the FASTag account. The minimum recharge amount for FASTag is ₹100.
What are the documents required for applying FASTag?
The customer needs to submit the following documents along with the filled-in application form for approval of FASTag:
- Registration Certificate (RC) of the vehicle
- Passport size photograph of the vehicle owner.
- KYC documents (ID and address proof) of the vehicle owner.
In the case of an individual, the ID and Address proof serves as KYC documents. For example, Aadhar Card, Driving license, Passport, and Voter ID card can serve both as an address and ID proof.
Remember, this is a mandatory KYC process. On a safe side, carry 2 photocopies of Vehicle RC, Aadhar card, PAN Card and 1 Passport size photo. Original documents are required for verification only.
Alternatively, you can directly buy FASTag from the bank where you have savings/current/salary account already KYC done.
How does FASTag works for the return journey?
Traditionally, when the vehicle makes a two-way trip within 24 hours less amount of toll is collected. Similarly, the FASTag payments deduct a lesser amount of toll when the vehicle makes a return trip within 24 hours.
For instance, while making an entry at a toll plaza, you’ll be charged ₹65 and on the exit ₹35. Thus, a total of ₹100 for the round trip (if returned within 24 hours) or else ₹65 as a single-entry fee. So, it is entirely based on return time.
How does FASTag Payments work?
When a vehicle with FASTag enters through the dedicated toll lane, Tag ID is scanned. The ETC system records the vital info including vehicle class, registration number, owner’s name and sends it to the concerned bank.
From the bank, the obtained information is sent to the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC). When the information matches, the toll gets deducted. This is an automatic procedure and happens within seconds thereby eliminating the waiting period at the toll plazas.
How will I know how much toll is debited from the FASTag payments account?
The FASTag account holder will immediately receive an SMS alert to his registered mobile number. The user can also go through the statement on the website.
If you find any incorrect deduction, then just report the same by calling the customer care. The issuer agency will take the necessary action.
Is there any option to avail Monthly Pass or Local Pass?
The issuance of monthly pass facility is specific to each toll plaza. Thus, it is better visiting the nearest toll plaza to get concessions on local vehicles.
Those who reside within a range of 10 km from the toll plaza, can avail concession and it’s to be validated by submitting address proof for the same.
Can I use one FASTag payment for two vehicles?
As said earlier, each vehicle has a unique FASTag based on the RC number of the vehicle. Thus, you can’t use one FASTag for two vehicles.
You need to take separate FASTag passes for each and every vehicle.
Can I use multiple FASTag’s for one vehicle?
Even if you purchase multiple FASTag’s for a single vehicle, you should not use multiple FASTag. The customer will be solely responsible for such deeds.
Can I transfer the balance from one FASTag wallet to another?
Transfer of balance is not allowed.
What if I lost my FASTag? Then, what happens to the accounts balance?
In such an emergency situation, you must first call the customer care of the issuer agency and block your FASTag.
For example, if you’ve purchased the PAYTM FASTag then dial their customer support at 1800-102-6480. In the case of ICICI FASTag, call their 24/7 toll-free number 1800-210-0104.
The issuer agency will issue a new FASTag pass at an applicable charge and transfer the balance to the new account.
What if I lost my vehicle and want to block FASTag?
In such an emergency situation, call the customer care of issuer agency and ask them to block your FASTag account.
Similarly, the vehicle user can report in case of the damage of FASTag and get the replacement at an applicable charge.
What if I relocate to another town or city?
FASTag is a PAN-India toll payment solution. If you are relocating to a new address, inform the issuer agency and get it verified.
What if I sell or transfer my vehicle?
If there’s any ownership transfer, then the user needs to inform the issuer agency.
What if the ETC equipment is not working?
In case the ETC equipment is not working in spite of your FASTag payments account having sufficient balance, you need to pay the toll amount in cash and report the issue with the issuer agency.
What if I’m into fleet business? Should I individually have FASTag for all the vehicles?
If you are into fleet business then one wallet can accommodate multiple vehicles. These vehicles can use a single corporate account and use the balance.
Here is the detailed list of certified banks providing FASTags along with their toll-free support number.
|Sr No.||Issuing Bank||Customer Care/Helpline No|
|4||State Bank of India||1800-11-0018|
|6||Karur Vysya Bank||1800-102-1916|
|7||EQUITAS Small Finance Bank||1800 103 1222|
|8||PayTM Payments Bank Ltd||1800-102-6480|
|9||Kotak Mahindra Bank||1800-419-6606|
|12||South Indian Bank||1800-425-1809|
|13||Punjab National Bank||1800-419-6610|
|14||Punjab & Maharashtra Co-op Bank||1800-223-993|
|16||Fino Payments Bank||1860-266-3466|
|17||City Union Bank||1800-258-7200|
|18||Bank of Baroda||1800-103-4568|
|21||Union Bank of India||1800-222-244 / 1800-208-2244|
|22||Nagpur Nagarik Sahakari Bank Ltd||1800-266-7183|
|23||Airtel Payments Bank||8800688006|
Who is the best FASTag service provider for toll services in India?
If you personally ask me which FASTag provider is better (HDFC/ICICI/Paytm), then I would say go ahead and FASTag with Paytm.
I’ve been using Paytm RFID sticker for the past one year and its working smoothly without any issue. The toll amount is deducted from the Wallet. You don’t need to maintain separate balance.
Frankly speaking, I do not have any personal experience with other banks FASTag’s.