NEW DELHI: If you are one of those people who find queuing up for toll payments while cruising down a highway to be experience better forgotten, the Union government’s decision to make toll payments across the country electronic and automatic should come as a relief. However, since these electronic tags — FASTags — have to be linked to your bank account to enable seamless transfer of cash, many seem concerned about the initiative and many others seem confused on how to go about getting them. Here’s a small primer on what these FASTags are, where you can get them and how the system will work:
When do FASTags become mandatory?
According to the government, FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles passing through tolls from January 15, 2020. While these prepaid rechargeable tags were supposed to roll out by December 2019, the deadline had been extended by a month because of a shortage of supply on the market.
What are FASTags?
First introduced in 2014, FASTags will need to be affixed on vehicle windshields. These will enable toll plazas with sensors to automatically read unique FASTags and deduct money from the linked account without needing to stop. As of last month, around one crore FASTags have been issued.
Where can you get one?
The FASTag can be acquired at any scheduled commercial bank’s website, Amazon, Flipkart and Paytm Mall. Offline, they are available in certain Point of Sale outlets of certified banks located across toll plazas or bank branches. They are also available at the government’s Common Service Centres, office of toll operators, some petrol pumps and regional offices of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
What documentation is required to get a FASTag?
Since they are linked to bank accounts, you will need to produce KYC documentation, alongside the registration certificates of the vehicle and proof of identity.
What does a FASTag cost?
A FASTag currently costs Rs 100, but is being given away for free by many banks and other outlets. You may need to deposit a one-time security fee and then keep topping up your balance as it winds down. The minimum top-up amount for the first time recharge is Rs 200. Security fees for NHAI tags are sold at a discount of Rs 150.
Can one switch from one bank to another?
To switch to a new bank, you have to surrender or block the current tag and take out a new one at the bank you prefer.
How long is a FASTag valid?
FASTags have unlimited validity and the recharged money does not lapse, with the upsent amount being carried forward. All FASTags issued after 2017 are functional, but one needs to identify the issuing bank based on the message received at the time of purchase. Once the issuing bank is identified, these tags can be revived.
How do we keep track of toll payments?
Vehicle owners will receive a message on the registered phone number each time a sum is deducted.
How does one top up a FASTag?
Banks certified to issue them also provide a facility to recharge them via various channels including credit card/debit card/NEFT/RTGS, net banking, UPI and even cheques. To recharge NHAI tags, one will need to download the My FASTag app (in android) and link the tag with a bank account or create a wallet.