Introduction 

Today, it is a common sight in India where a pile of vehicles would wait at toll plazas for their chance to pay toll charges before driving away. The entire process of drivers making payments with cash and receiving a ticket in return from toll keepers could be very slow and time-consuming sometimes. Considering this, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has rolled out an innovative technology that allows making toll payments fast and easy. FASTag by the NHAI is a reloadable tag that deducts toll charges for a vehicle automatically when the car passes through the toll gate. 

What is FASTag & When Was Introduced

FASTag is an easy to use, reloadable tag which allows automatic deduction of toll charges and helps you pass through the toll plaza without stopping for any cash transactions. FASTag is a perfect solution for you to have hassle-free trips on national highways. FASTag is presently operating at 420+ toll plazas across national and state highways. More toll plazas are expected to be brought under the FASTag program in the future.

FASTag is linked to a prepaid account from which the applicable toll amount is deducted. The tag employs Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) technology and is affixed on the vehicle's windscreen after the tag account is active. The FASTag program ensures to keep adding on more toll plazas as time passes by and be genuinely cashless in the functioning everywhere in India.

FASTag was initially set up as a pilot project in 2014 on the stretch of the Golden Quadrilateral between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Considering its success in many such individual projects, on 19 October 2019, it was announced that FASTag will be mandatory on all National Highways and non-FASTag users will be charged double the toll amount.

Benefits of FASTag (Include Cashbacks Also)

Here are some of the key benefits of FASTag:

  • Cashless Payments – FASTag users don’t need to carry cash for toll transactions, and don’t need to worry about collecting the exact change.

  • Faster Transit – Auto-debit of exact amount through the FASTag allows for faster transit through the toll plazas and saves the time of the users.

  • Online Recharge – FASTag can be recharged online through Credit Card / Debit Card / NEFT/ RTGS or Net banking.

  • SMS alerts – Users can receive instant SMS alerts on a registered mobile number for toll transactions, low balance, etc. 

  • Validity - A FASTag would be functional for a period of 5 years.

  • Exclusive FASTag Portal - A customer has the facility to access their statements for their Tag by merely logging on to the FASTag Customer Portal.

  • Cash Back up to 2.5 - A customer can avail a cashback of 2.5% on every toll payment using FASTag in the Financial Year 2019-20. The cashback amount for a certain month is credited back to one’s FASTag Account within a week post the said month.

Additional Reading: What is FASTag & what are the benefits of using FASTag?

How Does FASTag Work

Step 1: 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. FASTags can even be bought from banks or some of the online portals. 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 Payments Bank. The advantage of buying the FASTag from the bank where you have your savings or salary account is that they can pre-link it with your bank account for easy recharge later.

Step 2: You then need to make payment for the FASTag. Different prices for the FASTag are applicable depending on which vendor you choose to buy from. If you buy it from Paytm for example, FASTag will cost you approximately Rs 500. This includes Rs 100 for the tag, Rs 250 as a refundable security deposit and Rs 150 as the first recharge for your FASTag. The minimum threshold amount for the Paytm issued tag is also Rs 150. If, however, you decide to buy from HDFC Bank, the tag costs you Rs 400—this includes Rs 100 for the tag, Rs 100 as reissuance fee and Rs 200 as a security deposit. Incidentally, HDFC Bank has Rs 100 as the minimum threshold for your account to remain active. That is not all. There are cash backs as well every time you use this. FASTag issuers come up with these offers from time to time.

Step 3: Then comes recharging the balance on the FASTag. You can log in to the payment system of the bank which has issued the FASTag and make the recharge from your bank account. Or if you bought it from Paytm, you recharge your linked Paytm account and the balance shall be deducted from that every time you pass through a toll plaza on a national highway. You can also download the ‘My FASTag’ app and recharge your FASTag via the unified payments interface (UPI) there.

Procuring and Recharging FASTag

  1. Online FASTags - FASTags can be purchased online from Issuer Banks websites / NHAI website  / IHMCL website and will be delivered by courier at the doorstep of the purchaser.

  2. Mobile app - MyFASTag is a consumer App that can be downloaded from the App Store for both Android and iOS systems. A consumer can purchase or recharge FASTags on this App. The App also helps to keep track of transactions and provides for online grievance redressal. 

  3. POS - Users can also visit any of the Point of Sale (POS) locations of the certified issuing banks at Toll Plazas or Banks’ sales offices to get tag account created. 23 Public and Private sector banks are authorized to issue FASTag. Alternatively, users can reach out to the Issuing Bank Customer Care numbers to identify the closest POS location. Users will need to carry original as well as a copy of your KYC document s at the POS / Sales office location. It is also important to get the vehicle to the POS / Sale office location to purchase the FASTag.

  4. Documents required for purchase of FASTag - Since the FAS Tag is linked to an account, KYC documentation would be required as per the KYC policy of the Issuer Bank. Apart from the KYC documentation, users need to submit Registration Certificate (RC) of the vehicle along with the application for FASTag.

  5. FASTag has unlimited validity. The same FASTag can be used until the tag is legible to the reader and is not tampered with. 

End Note

A FASTag is essentially a Radio-frequency Identification (RFID) enabled tag that is attached to the windshield of your car, from the inside. It comes updated with registration details of your vehicle. FASTag readers will soon have a separate queue at toll plazas where the RFID code is detected via overhead panel and the necessary amount is deducted from the prepaid balance and your journey through the toll plaza is authenticated. It is the future of toll fee payments which will help you save time, efforts, and result in a lot of conveniences.