Ministry of Road Transport & Highways lately announced that FASTag would become mandatory for all vehicles effective December 1, 2019. Past the set date, four-wheelers running without the FASTag will be charged twice the regular rate at the toll gates.
This has been done under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program, aimed to ensure smooth functioning of vehicles, promote cashless payments and avoid possible traffic congestions due to toll queues. Once implemented, all the lanes at NHAI toll plazas will accept payments only via FASTags. Although, there will be a hybrid lane with acceptance for both FASTags as well as other modes of payments on the condition that the authorities will charge double the actual toll amount.
What is FASTag?
As the name suggests, FASTag is a small tag that uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) to automate the process deduction of toll charges at NHAI toll plazas. Once affixed on the windscreen of your vehicle, the sensor at toll will be able to read it, and auto-debit the tax amount from your account.
One can link his/ her prepaid account or bank savings account to work with the same. Note that the transaction occurs while the vehicle is in motion and the driver doesn’t need to stop at the gate for toll payment.
How to buy a FASTag?
On newer vehicles, you’ll find that FASTag is already affixed on the windscreen since most dealers tend to sell it by default. However, in the case of old vehicles, you can buy FASTag from e-commerce sites like Amazon, Paytm and Airtel Thanks app.
Alternatively, you can also get it through Point of Sale (POS) locations at the NHAI Toll Plazas or selected private or public sector bank branches which have tied-up with NHAI. As of now, the list includes 23 certified banks, comprising Axis Bank, State Bank of India, IDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Syndicate Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Paytm Payments Bank, Punjab National Bank and more.
Note that for offline purchases, you require registration certificate of your vehicle, a passport size picture of you (owner), address proof, original as well as a copy of your KYC document along with the vehicle. The issuer bank/ agency will charge a joining fee, ranging from Rs. 100 to Rs. 500. The fee may include payment for the tag, refundable security deposit and bundled first recharge amount.
How to activate and recharge your FASTag?
If purchased online, you can link the tag with your account using the “My FASTag” app on your Android/ iOS smartphone. Simply download the app, enter your vehicle details and link any one of your existing bank accounts.
NHAI has also offered a prepaid wallet facility for those who don’t want to link their bank accounts. In this case, you’ll be provided with a digital wallet that can be loaded with money using multiple payment modes.
Offline purchases, on the other hand, don’t need such activation. You just have to provide all the documents mentioned above while buying one, and the issuing authority will link the same with your desired bank account.
For direct payments through the linked bank account, make sure that your savings account has enough cash to pay at the Toll Plaza. Whereas, wallet users need to maintain their balance else the payment at ETC will fail. As per your feasibility, you can use any of the methods, including UPI, debit cards, credit cards, NEFT, and net banking to top-up the balance in your FASTag wallet.
A few things to note
FASTag is specific to vehicles, and hence you cannot use one card for two vehicles. Instead, you need to buy two separate tags for both the vehicles. In case if you lose the tag, you can call your issuing authority to block it.
As per IHMCL, if you reside within a range of 10 kilometres from a toll plaza, you can avail a concession on toll to be paid via your FASTag. This requires a couple of documents including proof of residence at the bank or POS location to validate your eligibility. Once the authority verifies the address, you’ll be offered a concession on the toll paid via FASTag assigned to your vehicle.