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Last Updated : Dec 04, 2019 12:25 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Here's a fast take on FASTags

Here are some important facts about FASTags, as it will be made mandatory soon.

FASTag
FASTag

FASTags will soon be made mandatory on national highways across the country. This real-time payment project is a joint effort between the National Payments Corporation of India’s (NCPI), National Highway Authority of India and Indian Highways Management Company Limited.

The authorities have announced that the electronic payment initiative is active across 560 tolls in India and will be extended to more tolls in the coming months.

FASTag uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to collect toll payments as the vehicle passes through the plaza, not requiring it to stop. A scanner at the plaza reads the tag fixed on the vehicle’s windscreen, debiting the amount directly from the user’s account linked to FASTag. Over 20 banks and fintechs currently support the FASTag, which has a validity of five years. Users get an alert on their mobile when the credit balance is low and can recharge it online.

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Paytm Payments Bank is one fintech selling FASTags under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program and has witnessed significant uptake for the product since November. It is free for passenger vehicles with INR 100 waived off as tag issuance cost. Customers have to pay INR 250 as security deposit and maintain INR 150 as minimum balance. Each FASTag is linked to a registered Paytm Payments Bank wallet or account, and this facility is currently functional at over 110 toll plazas in the country. The company plans to expand this to another 100 toll plazas by 2020.

Even Amazon has seen rapid sales for FASTags since it started offering it on its platform. “After the government announced December 1 as the initial deadline for FASTag compliance, demand has since grown by 2.5 times over the preceding month,” the company stated. This urgency could be attributed to the announcement that those not using a FASTag will be charged double the toll.

While FASTag was created to help motorists avoid lengthy queues at toll plazas and ensure better transparency in collections, the project needs to iron out some wrinkles. For starters, most Indian toll plazas are ill-maintained with little or no internet network. Also, they lack backward integration with financial institutions. While the RFID facilitates detection of the FASTag sticker on a vehicle, a robust internet connectivity is required to seamlessly debit the amount from the user’s account.

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First Published on Dec 4, 2019 12:25 pm
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