We are closing in on the December 1 deadline for the mandatory use of FASTag at toll plazas on all national highways (NH) across India. This might be a good time to buy one, if your car doesn’t have a FASTag already and if you travel on the national highways often. The first step is to buy a FASTag for your car. You can either physically buy one at certain toll plazas across India, by carrying your identification as well as the vehicle registration documents with you. This is a mandatory Know Your Customer (KYC) process. Alternatively, and this could perhaps be simpler as well—you could buy one on Amazon.in or approach certain banks for these FASTags. The banks that currently offer FASTags include HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank as well as the Airtel Payments Bank and Paytm, to name a few.
Airtel Payments Bank has announced that it is now selling new FASTags online via the website and app and also at Airtel Payments Bank outlets. Airtel Payments Bank is partnering with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) for this. The FASTag can be purchased via the Airtel Thanks App (available for Android and iOS). At this time, Airtel Payments Bank is offering a special benefit of Rs 50 cashback on FASTag purchase made via the app. Airtel says that the Airtel Thanks customers will soon be able to enjoy an additional benefit of Rs 50 cashback on the online purchase. If you are buying a FASTag from an offline banking points of Airtel Payments Bank, you will need to share a copy of the vehicle’s Registration Certificate (RC) and registration number. The FASTag is linked to a registered Airtel Payments Bank account or wallet and the charges as you cross through the toll plazas on the national highways will be deducted directly from this. The convenience is that a user doesn’t need to recharge the FASTag separately. FASTag users also get 2.5% cashback from NHAI on all Toll payments done using the FASTag. “It is good to witness that Airtel Payments Bank is making FASTag available to vehicle owners for convenient and seamless toll plaza experience. Given the fact that we are just few days away for the mandatory FASTag implementation on 528+ toll plazas, it becomes crucial to create awareness among vehicle owners about its process and advantages,” says Praveena Rai, Chief Operating Officer, NPCI.
Also Read | Get a FASTag For Your Car, Unless You Want to Pay More at Toll Plazas From December 1
You can also buy a FASTag from Paytm, and that is priced at Rs 400. If you pay for this purchase from an ICICI Bank credit card, you will be eligible for a 5% additional cashback. This is after Paytm has slashed Rs 100 as the FASTag issuance fee, and the rest of the price structure includes Rs 150 as the minimum balance that you must maintain for your FASTag account to remain active and Rs 250 as the refundable fee. FASTags purchased from Paytm are also eligible for the 2.5% cashback on each transaction at all toll plazas across India.
Kotak Mahindra Bank has announced that customers can now apply for a FASTag via the Kotak Mobile Banking app (available for Android and iOS) and on the Kotak Bank website. They have waived the issuance fee for the FASTag till December 01—this is usually around Rs 100 per FASTag issued. The FASTag issued by the Kotak Mahindra bank will also be eligible for the 2.5% cashback being offered by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Kotak says customers will be able to recharge the FASTag online using a credit card, debit card or net banking. “Our core philosophy is to use technology to simplify banking and the payments infrastructure, which also bolsters the Government’s Digital India vision. FASTag is yet another initiative with a number of benefits that promises to further smoothen Indian consumers’ journey,” says Puneet Kapoor, Senior Executive Vice President, Kotak Mahindra Bank.
Also Read | FASTag Will Soon be Mandatory For Your Car: This is How The Digital Payment Tag Works
It was in October that the Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles from December this year. The idea is to have all private and commercial vehicles equipped with this contactless payment system for paying the necessary road usage charge at toll plazas on national highways across India.
A FASTag is essentially a tag that you attach to the windshield of your car, from the inside. This is Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) enabled and is linked with the registration details of your vehicle. As you drive though any toll plaza, there will be dedicated lanes that have FASTag readers installed overhead—and as your vehicle passes beneath them, the RFID code is detected, read, the necessary amount deducted from the prepaid balance and your journey through the toll plaza is authenticated. All without you having to stop, interact with a human being at a toll plaza or having to pay cash. According to the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules 2008, there are lanes at toll plazas reserved exclusively for FASTag users. You drive into that lane, the FASTag is detected by the readers installed overhead, the payment is made seamlessly and you are on your way. The process is so quick, you don’t even need to stop.