What is FASTag?

So, you are with your dear ones on a long drive which is a beautiful journey and completely blissful but suddenly there is this toll booth you see from a distance with a long unending line of vehicles and all your excitement for the long journey ends in moments.

But wait we have good news for you, before you kill your thoughts of a beautiful journey for the waits at toll booths let this come up. The FASTag measure is introduced by the Indian government to tackle this inconvenience. FASTag is a Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID). FASTag was introduced by the Government of India in October 2017 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway. This measure was taken in act to keep in scrutiny several inconveniences for both individual drivers and the nation at large.

The statistics which were mentioned in the article by The Times of India says that around Rs. 12000 crores are leaked annually at toll booth plazas in India. The two main components for this loss are on account of fuel wastage and exhaustion of human resources at toll plazas. Another concern which bypasses is air pollution. India is one of the worst countries in terms of air pollution which has more than 14 cities exhibiting high levels of air pollution. As toll plazas are the primary contributor of air pollution, this was one of the agendas to implement FASTag in India.

FASTag works in the same way like other radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies. The RFID enabled sticker is fixed to a vehicle’s windshield and then a reader at the toll booth scans this card and wirelessly plus automatically processes the payment. Similarly, when you pass a FASTag-enabled toll plaza, you need not stop your car to make a cash payment for the toll fee. Instead, you just have to keep driving and the fee will be paid automatically. Sounds great, isn’t it? The readers are able to scan the FASTag card while the car is in motion by emitting a signal to the FASTag card to request the toll fee payment and then the payment immediately gets deducted. But it is necessary that a FASTag card is linked with a digital wallet or savings account to make sure that toll fee payment is deducted through that.

The FASTag are mandatory in all new cars sold after December 1, 2017, and after that for all the vehicles from 2021 to make it a way to both encourage digital payments and free up congestion at toll booths so as to reduce pollution and inconvenience too. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has stated that over 34 lakh FASTags were issued in 2018 and then more than 11.5 million FASTag cards were issued as of 31st December 2019.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) decided that it is mandatory for everyone to use FASTags from February 15, 2021 for all four-wheelers. From December, 2019, all the lanes of national highways for toll plazas were declared as FASTag lanes and Highway Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that all vehicles must have FASTags or else will have to face certain penalties.

Now, when you pass a FASTag-enabled toll booth and if your vehicle doesn’t have a FASTag or your card or account does not have sufficient balance, you will then have to pay double toll fee in cash to go through the plaza. From April 1, 2021 your vehicle must have a valid FASTag if you want to clear a new third-party motor insurance policy.The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has recently mentioned that there are more than 540 toll plazas in India which have the necessary technology for scanning FASTag cards. Hence, it is really important to avail a FASTag card at the earliest to avoid paying a whole lot more or double when going on long journeys.

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has authorized 22 banks in India to provide FASTag cards to people. You can now avail your FASTag card from the websites of any of those 22 banks and need not necessarily have to be an existing customer with the issuing bank. Additionally, there are some digital platforms such as Paytm and Amazon providing these cards online.

Now, when you want to apply for a FASTag card, you need to submit your KYC documents which includes identity proof and residential proof. Different banks ask for different KYC documents. You also need to submit the vehicle’s registration certificate (RC) and your passport size photo as well. These documents are irrespective of whether you avail the FASTag card online or offline.

The Minister of Road Transport and Highways has also announced in November that FASTags availed from toll plazas, Regional Transport Offices (RTOs), and transport hubs would charge nothing and be free of cost from 22nd November. But, unfortunately, the deadline for it was set up to 1st December 2019 and most of you might have missed it. The deadline measure was adopted in an attempt to prompt vehicle-users to get the FASTag cards as soon as possible within 15th December 2019. But now you will have to pay the fee to get your FASTag card. The payment of FASTag card is into three parts which is as follows, Issuance fee, Refundable security deposit and then comes the minimum balance you will need to credit to your account or digital wallet linked with your FASTag card. The fee depends on the authorized place from where you are availing it. Yet, the Government of India has set a maximum issuance fee which these authorized places can charge you at Rs. 200 and it is a one-time charge.

Activation of the FASTag card implies the registration of the card with your vehicle along with a linked payment method plus KYC. This payment method can be a digital wallet or any bank account be it current or savings. If you purchase the FASTag card from Amazon then you will be provided with a blank FASTag sticker and then you will need to register the card with your vehicle and add a payment method to it.

You need to download the “My FASTag” app available for both Android and iOS devices. In addition to the digital wallets such as Paytm or Amazon wallet and also bank accounts, you have got the option to link your card with the NHAI wallet which is available on the “My FASTag” app.

So that was all about FASTag and we hope that this article must have helped you with understanding about FASTag in detail.

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