How to Get FASTag
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Tired of Waiting at Toll Plazas? Get Your FASTag Today!
It is a beautiful night. You and your dear ones have hopped on a long journey to achieve your long-coveted college pact – visiting Goa. It’s blissful; but then suddenly in the distance, you see something shimmering.
Within moments you see a throng of shimmering objects resembling the rear lights of vehicles stuck at a toll booth. No longer blissful, but a tedious and unending wait indulges you and your kin, sapping your blithe within moments.
But wait, before you succumb to the thoughts of the never-ending waits at toll booths, we have some good news for you!
The Indian government has taken a measure, just in this respect, by introducing FASTag in 2017.
What is it, you ask? We are getting to that!
What is FASTag?
FASTag is a Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID) introduced by the Government of India in October 2017 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway. This measure was taken keeping in scrutiny several inconveniences for both individual drivers and the nation at large.
As per statistics mentioned in a Times of India article, approximately Rs. 12000 crore is leaked annually in India at toll booth plazas. Two of the primary components of such loss are on account of fuel wastage and exhaustion of human resources at toll plazas. (1)
While the monetary loss is a primary concern, another repercussion bypasses the common eye, i.e. air pollution. India is one of the worst countries in terms of air pollution with more than 14 cities exhibiting considerably high levels of air pollution which includes the national capital, Delhi.
Toll plaza, in that regard, is a primary contributor to the surge in air pollution levels in India. Hence, one of the agendas of implementing FASTag in India was to curtail such levels.
Are you intrigued? Let’s learn more about it.
How does FASTag Work?
FASTag works in a similar fashion to other radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies. There is a RFID enabled sticker that is fixed to a vehicle’s windshield, and a reader at the toll booth can scan this card and wirelessly and automatically processes the payment.
When you pass a FASTag-enabled toll plaza, you won’t have to stop your car to make a cash payment for the toll fee. Instead, you can just keep driving and the fee will be paid automatically.
Basically, the readers can to scan the FASTag card while it is in motion by emitting a signal to the FASTag card to request the toll fee payment, and the payment immediately gets deducted! But, it is essential that a FASTag card is linked with a digital wallet or savings account to ensure that toll fee payment goes through.
The tags were made mandatory in all new cars sold after December 1, 2017, (and for all vehicles from 2021) as a way to both encourage digital payments and free up congestion at toll booths.
According to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, over 34 lakh FASTags were issued in 2018, and more than 11.5 million FASTag cards were issued as of 31st December 2019. (2)
Is Getting a FASTag Card Mandatory?
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to make the use of FASTags mandatory from February 15, 2021 for all four-wheelers. (3) (This date was postponed from the earlier date of January 1, 2021).
Since December, 2019, all lanes of national highways toll plazas were declared as “FASTag lanes” and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced that all vehicles must have FASTags or face certain penalties. (4)
But, What Will Happen if You do Not Get a FASTag Card for Your Vehicle?
If you pass a FASTag-enabled toll booth, and your vehicle either doesn’t have a FASTag, or your card does not have sufficient balance, you will have to pay double the toll fee in cash to go trough.
Additionally, from April 1, 2021 your vehicle must have a valid FASTag if you want to get it covered by a new third-party motor insurance policy.
As per the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) – the regulatory body supervising the distribution of FASTag cards and set up of FASTag compliant toll booths – has mentioned recently that there are more than 540 toll plazas in India which have the necessary technology for scanning such cards. (4)
Hence, it becomes crucial to avail a FASTag card at the earliest to avoid paying a whole lot more when going on long journeys.
But how do you get it?
How to Get FASTag card?
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has authorised 22 banks in India to provide FASTag cards to individuals. These 22 banks, along with NHAI plazas, common service centres, petrol pumps, and transport hubs have set up more than 28000 point-of-sale terminals across India. (5)
You can avail your FASTag card from the websites of any of the banks. You do not necessarily have to be an existing customer with the issuing bank.
In addition to these, there are several digital platforms such as Paytm and Amazon, who provide these cards online.
You can get a FASTag card online from these platforms or from the websites of the banks who are authorised to provide these cards.
You can also choose to get a card by visiting your nearest POS terminal.
What are the Documents which You Need to Submit During Application?
In order to apply for a FASTag card, you would need to submit your KYC documents – identity proof and residential proof. The KYC documents which you need to submit vary from one bank to another.
In addition to it, you also need to submit your vehicle’s registration certificate (RC) and your passport size photo. These documents are irrespective of whether you avail the card online or offline.
What are the Fees for Availing a FASTag Card?
The Minister of Road Transport and Highways announced in November that FASTags availed from toll plazas, Regional Transport Offices (RTOs), and transport hubs would be free of cost from 22nd November.
But, unfortunately, the deadline for it was set on 1st December 2019 and you might have missed it. The measure was adopted in an attempt to prompt vehicle-users to get the FASTag cards within 15th December 2019 (the previous deadline to get a FASTag card).
However, now, you will have to shell out a fee to get your FASTag card, irrespective of the issuer.
The payment for a FASTag card in most cases is divided into three components:
- Issuance fee.
- Refundable security deposit.
- Minimum balance which you need to credit to your digital wallet linked with your FASTag card.
This fee depends on the authorised entity from whom you are availing it. However, the Government of India has set a cap on the maximum issuance fee which these financial institutions can charge you at Rs. 200. The issuing fee is a one-time charge.
Are you wondering if the FASTag card is pre-activated when you purchase it or should be activated after you receive it? Well, read along.
What is the Process of Card Activation?
In the event you avail the FASTag card from any of the 22 authorised banks or POS terminals, it will be activated from beforehand.
What is meant by activation?
Activation implies the registration of the card with your vehicle along with a linked payment method. This payment method can either be a digital wallet or any bank account (savings or current).
In the event you purchase the card from Amazon, you will be provided with a blank FASTag sticker. Next, you will need to register the card with your vehicle and then add a payment method to it from your end once you receive it.
How do you do it?
You will need to download the “My FASTag” app, which is available for both Android and Apple devices. You can get it from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store.
Once you download the app, follow the steps mentioned below:
- In the homepage, you will find the option “Activate NHAI FASTag”; click on it.
- In the next page, click on “Activate NHAI FASTag bought Online”.
- In the following page, click on “Scan QR code” wherein you will need to scan the QR code provided on your FASTag card.
- Once that is done, you will need to provide details of your vehicle, which includes – vehicle registration number, vehicle type, etc. as mentioned there.
- Subsequently, you need to link a payment method to your FASTag card.
And you are done!
In addition to bank accounts and digital wallets such as Paytm or Amazon wallet, you also have the option to link your card with the NHAI wallet. This wallet is available on the “My FASTag” app.
Following its activation, your toll booth payments will be deducted from the payment method you have linked.
But an imperative question lingers, what if your FASTag card’s balance is exhausted? What will you do, then?
How to Recharge FASTag Card?
In case you have linked your FASTag card with your savings account or current account, there is no need to recharge it. In that case, you only need to ensure that your linked bank account possesses sufficient balance to make toll fee payments.
If you have linked the card with any prepaid digital wallet, you need to recharge it when your balance exhausts. There are several methods through which you can recharge your digital wallet, which includes – UPI, debit card, credit card, NEFT, Net Banking, etc.
However, as per the regulations mentioned for FASTag, there is an upper ceiling amount up to which you are allowed to recharge your FASTag prepaid wallet. These are:
Limited KYC accountholder – The limit up to which such an account holder can possess in his/her FASTag prepaid wallet is Rs. 20,000 at one time. It is also the monthly recharge limit for such account holders.
But what is limited KYC?
Limited KYC is when you do not disclose your original Aadhaar number and instead register with a Virtual ID (VID).
Full KYC accountholder – Such account holders can have up to Rs. 1 lakh in their FASTag prepaid wallet at one time. However, unlike a limited KYC accountholder, there is no maximum ceiling for recharging.
Now that you know all about the FASTag card go forward and buy one before time runs out. Remember that beyond 15th January 2020, if you do not have a FASTag card affixed to your vehicle, you will need to pay double the toll fee through cash at FASTag-enabled toll plazas.