Photo Credit: Twitter/ IHMCL
FASTag, the system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, is set to become mandatory in India from December 15 after government extended the deadline by two weeks. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways brought FASTag as a pilot project back in 2014. But in March this year, the government announced that it made mandatory for toll lanes in the country to have Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) infrastructure to starting supporting vehicles equipped with FASTag. As per the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme that brings FASTag to the mainstream is currently live at over 500 toll plazas across the country.
In this article, we're detailing how you can buy a FASTag RFID tag for your vehicle and where to recharge an existing FASTag tag. So let's get started.
New vehicles by all major automobile companies would by default support the ETC infrastructure-powered toll plazas. However, if you're looking to upgrade your existing vehicle with the latest technology, you can purchase a FASTag.
The Indian Highways Management Company (IHMCL) earlier this month also tweeted that the FASTag will be available free of cost until December 1, and the Rs. 150 as security deposit will be borne by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
You can purchase it from a nearby bank branch of State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, and Axis Bank among others. As many as 22 certified banks are eligible to issue FASTags through channels such as Point-of-Sale (POS) machines at select toll plazas and their local branches. You can also buy them online via the SBI, ICICI, HDFC, and Axis Bank sites.
The reusable FASTag RFID tag is available at a charge of Rs. 100 for all vehicle categories, as per the information available on the OnlineSBI website. The bank is also charging a refundable security amount between Rs. 200-400.
For vehicle owners who don't want to visit a bank, Airtel Payments Bank allows users to purchase a FASTag directly through the Airtel Thanks app. The app is also offering a Rs. 150 cashback on every FASTag purchase until December 3.
You need to sign in with your Airtel Payments Bank account on the Airtel Thanks app. After that, you'll see a banner saying "Get Your Free FASTag today!" Tap the banner and then tap the Proceed button to purchase your FASTag.
Similarly, select banking points of Airtel Payments Bank are providing the option to buy a FASTag offline.
Paytm users can also purchase a FASTag using the Paytm mobile app. The app has a dedicated FASTag and Toll section that lets you buy a FASTag while on-the-move. Further, you can visit the Paytm Mall site to purchase a FASTag online. Paytm is charging a refundable security deposit of Rs. 250 and a minimum balance of Rs. 150 for a car, jeep, or van.
Apps such as the Airtel Thanks and Paytm will ask you to enter your vehicle's registration number and upload the photos of its Registration Certificate (RC) to proceed with the purchasing.
If a FASTag is already affixed on your vehicle, you can simply link it to your existing bank account using the My FASTag app through an Android device. This will enable it to automatically deduct payments once you cross a compatible toll plaza. You need to enter your vehicle's registration number to begin with the new experience. Also, the My FASTag app lets you recharge your existing FASTag account using a UPI payment method.
Apps such as Airtel Thanks and Payment also provides you with the option to recharge your FASTag account. You need to enter your FASTag Wallet ID to accomplish the recharge. You can also visit the website of banks such as Axis Bank, HDFC, or ICICI Bank to recharge a FASTag account online. Moreover, the government is touted to offer a cashback of 2.5 percent for the current fiscal year to all eligible FASTag customers.
FASTag is aimed to provide convenience to citizens passing toll plazas in India. The government says that it would help reduce long queues for toll collection and bring a cashless experience for commuters. Nevertheless, the highways would still have a hybrid lane for cash payments, though non-FASTag vehicles would be charged double the fee if they pass through FASTag-only lanes.
The issuing banks have toll-free customer care helpline numbers to address problems related to FASTag.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to reflect the extended FASTag deadline.