What is FASTag, Where to Get One and All you need to know about


Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has mandated the use of FASTag from January 1, 2021 for all vehicles to pass through toll plazas. While the government, last year, mandated the use of FASTag, there were provisions provided for travellers to use cash and pay at toll plazas. Now, Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for road transport, highways and MSMEs has confirmed that the FASTags would be mandatory for paying at toll plazas and enable contactless as well as electronic payments for toll payments.


Here's a quick explainer to understand more about FASTags:


WHAT IS A FASTAG?


A FASTag is a sticker that is attached to the windshield of your car, from the inside and has an imprinted Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) barcode which is linked with the registration details of your vehicle. As you drive though any toll plaza on any national highway in India, FASTag readers will read the code and will deduct the amount required to pass the barrier. All this without you having to stop, interact with a human being at a toll plaza and having to pay cash.


WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF A FASTAG?


There are various benefits of using a FASTag and the most important of those is the seamless experience of passing through a toll plaza. The government's push towards automated digital payments has enabled a quick, no-stop experience at toll plazas across India.


Another advantage is reduced cash handling by the concessionaire as well as the authorities running toll plazas to allow for better transparency in the system. It also means no time is wasted in counting the change provided back to you or fighting over the soiled bank notes.


And finally, the lesser time you spend at a toll plaza, you waste less fuel just sitting there in a queue and that also reduces pollution.


WHERE CAN I BUY A FASTAG?


To ease the buying process, government has partnered with various agencies including banks and e-commerce channels to home deliver a FASTag. The banks that currently offer FASTags include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda to name a few.


The other options include buying a FASTag on Amazon, PayTM or Airtel Payment App. These partnerships enable home delivery of the tags. For more conventional ways, you can buy at certain toll plazas across India. Also, Airtel and PayTM have deployed their canopies at various plazas to ease the process at a nominal fee.


WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED?


You need to produce your vehicle registration document and personal identity for mandatory KYC process. However, for banks, if you are already a customers, all you need is the RC copy. Similarly, for Airtel and PayTM you dnt need to produce personal ID and all you need is the RC.


HOW MUCH DOES A FASTAG COST?


The cost of buying a FASTag depends on two things:


1) Class of vehicle you are buying it for—a car, jeep or van, or a bus or truck, light commercial vehicles, construction machines etc


2) The bank you are buying the FASTag from will have their own policies regarding issuance fees and security deposits.


At this time, for instance, you can buy a FASTag for a car from Paytm for Rs 500 which includes a Rs 250 refundable security deposit, Rs 150 minimum balance threshold and Rs 100 issuance fee. Some banks, on the other hands are offering it for as less as Rs 400. If you are visiting a toll plaza, you can buy it for even lower amounts.


WHERE TO CHECK BALANCE AND RECHARGE A FASTAG?


The issuing bank, e-commerce partner will create a FASTag wallet for you and all you need to do it add money to the wallet. For instance, if you buy a FASTag from bank, they will directly deduct money from your account and you need to maintain a balance in the bank account.


Secondly, if you are using a mobile wallet apps such as Paytm, PhonePe, they also let you recharge FASTag using Debit Card, Credit Card, UPI and other payment options. Similarly, for Airtel, you can use Airtel Payment to recharge.


WHAT IS THE VALIDITY OF A FASTAG?


A FASTag is valid for a period of 5 years from the date of issuance. The recharge that you do for the FASTag account does not have any validity and can remain active in the wallet for the entire duration of the FASTag validity.


WHO ARE EXEMPTED TO USE FASTAG?


FASTag is only an alternative against paying cash at every toll plaza and only the personnel designated by NHAI, state highways who were earlier exempted don't need to use FASTag. These include Honourable Judges, Politicians, Emergency Services among others.

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