Friday, March 20, 2020

FASTag - How the Contactless Digital Payment Tag Works

National and state highways in India are switching to FASTag services to offer maximum convenience to travellers. Instead of wasting time and energy waiting in queues for toll tax payments, travellers can just use FASTag for a smooth transaction.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), in collaboration with the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program, has mandated the use of FASTag on private and commercial vehicles from December 1, 2019.

The primary goal of FASTag initiative is to save travel time and fuel through digital payment of toll tax across India. This ensures a reduction in traffic jams near toll booths.

FASTag: What is it?

FASTag for cars applies Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) to process toll tax electronically. This prevents queues and congestion of vehicles at toll booths.

Toll booth personnel stationed at special FASTag toll lanes process FASTags to verify toll tax transactions. Windscreens of vehicles have FASTags which makes it easy to process them.

How to apply for FASTag?

It is quite easy to get FASTags since it is readily available on a Point-of-Sale basis. Certified financial institutions extend FASTag facilities to their customers. Individuals seeking FASTags can also avail them from certain e-commerce platforms. One may consider the following steps to procure a valid FASTag –

       Activation of FASTags by registered financial companies

An individual has to produce relevant KYC documents, in addition to a valid driver’s license, address proof, and registration certificate (RC) of the concerned vehicle. Financial institutions then activate the FASTag account of the individual.

       Self-Activation of FASTag account

A traveller may download the ‘MY FASTag’ mobile app from PlayStore and submit valid KYC documents along with the RC of the vehicle and address proof. PAN card is compulsory for activation.

One may choose to link the FASTag account with the financial institution of one’s choice for future payments. However, the NHAI Prepaid wallet presents an alternative option for toll tax payment without the need to link a financial institution.

A fixed charge of Rs. 100 stipulated by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has to be paid to procure each FASTag. The charges often differ according to different financial institutions.

How to recharge your FASTag?

As FASTags may or may not be linked with a financial institution, the recharge options are different. If an individual’s FASTag account is linked with a financial company, s/he does not have to recharge at all. Maintaining sufficient balance is the only prerequisite.

However, a passenger can use cheques, debit cards, credit cards, UPI, or net banking to recharge a FASTag account affiliated to a prepaid wallet.

Certain balance limits depending on the type of account are applicable to the owners of a FASTag car. These accounts for FASTag payments include –

  1. FASTag account with limited KYC
A maximum balance of Rs.20,000 is allowed for individuals possessing limited KYC FASTag accounts.

  1. FASTag account with full KYC
Individuals with full KYC FASTag accounts are permitted a maximum limit of Rs.1 lakh.

How does this contactless digital payment tag provide hassle-free travelling?

FASTags offer a contactless digital payment option to individuals looking to avoid tedious queues. This tag enables digital transactions in the quickest way, making it one of the most innovative solutions to traffic congestion problems.

Further, to make your road trips easier and more secure, you can consider having respective insurance plans in place for financial protection against such incidents.

Some NBFCs like Bajaj Finserv provide insurance plans such as the Road Trip Protection Insurance plan under their Pocket Insurance & Subscriptions to insure an individual against financial losses during a road trip. Unpleasant experiences may come in the form of vehicle breakdown or lack of cash to avail boarding facilities. This policy insures an individual up to Rs.3 lakh for such unforeseen events. Individuals can also purchase a weekend getaway road trip cover for a beautiful weekend with loved ones without a scope for worry. You can even consider purchasing a child personal accident cover insurance plan to extend specific and sufficient insurance coverage for your child.

A large number of travellers have benefitted from the applications of FASTags that promise to curb inconveniences in the course of a journey.

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