The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has come up with the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program to cater to the electronic toll payment needs of India. This initiative provides a unified solution for toll payments across the country via FASTag technology. FASTag is an electronic toll-collection system that is functional via tags fitted on vehicles.
It allows the users of such toll payments to conveniently utilise their tags for payment at any toll plaza. NPCI FASTag is widely praised for the seamless payment interface it offers. It has many aspects that people are unaware of, which we are going to discuss in this article. Read on to gain insights on NPCI FASTag, what it is and how it works.
What is NPCI FASTag?
NPCI FASTag is a Radio Frequency Identification Tag (RFID) designed for convenient toll payments directly from the associated customer’s linked savings/current or prepaid account. It’s securely placed on the vehicle’s windshield, allowing customers to smoothly pass through toll plazas without halting for payment. The toll fee is automatically deducted from the customer’s linked account.
National Payments Corporation of India FASTag is vehicle-specific and cannot be transferred to another vehicle. This FASTag facility requires the customers to get the FASTag linked to their prepaid account. You may have to recharge or top up this facility periodically to make the toll payments easily. At all times, you have to maintain a sufficient balance to prevent yourself from getting blacklisted.
How Does NPCI FASTag Work?
NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) FASTag is an electronic toll collection system used in India to facilitate cashless payments at toll plazas on national highways. It is an initiative by the Indian government to reduce traffic congestion, save time, and promote digital payments. Here’s how NPCI FASTag works:
- Registration: To get a FASTag, a vehicle owner needs to approach a certified bank or financial institution that is authorized to issue FASTags. The vehicle owner provides the required documents, including vehicle registration details, KYC documents, and a passport-sized photograph. After verification, the bank issues a FASTag.
- Activation: Once issued, the FASTag needs to be activated. This can usually be done through a mobile app or the issuer’s website. Vehicle owners need to link their FASTag to a prepaid or savings account for automatic top-up when the balance runs low.
- Affixing the FASTag: The FASTag comes with an adhesive sticker, which the vehicle owner affixes to the vehicle’s windshield, just behind the rear-view mirror. This position ensures that the FASTag can be easily scanned at toll plazas.
- Usage at Toll Plazas: When a vehicle with an active FASTag approaches a toll plaza, there are dedicated FASTag lanes. These lanes are equipped with RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology.
- RFID Scanning: As the vehicle approaches the toll booth, the RFID reader scans the FASTag on the windshield. The reader communicates with the FASTag’s microchip to deduct the appropriate toll amount from the linked prepaid or savings account.
- Toll Payment Confirmation: Once the toll amount is deducted, a green light and a beep signal indicate successful payment. The vehicle can then proceed without stopping.
- Transaction Notifications: Vehicle owners receive SMS and email notifications for each FASTag transaction, which include details of the toll amount deducted.
- Recharge: Vehicle owners need to maintain a sufficient balance in their linked prepaid or savings account to ensure uninterrupted use of FASTag. When the balance runs low, they can recharge the FASTag account through the bank’s mobile app, website, or at designated recharge centers.
- Checking Account Balance: Vehicle owners can also check their FASTag account balance, transaction history, and other details through the bank’s app or website.
Objectives of NPCI FASTag
NPCI FASTag was designed to cater to the toll payment needs of the drivers. Besides facilitating swift and convenient toll payment, FASTag was formulated to serve the objectives given below:
- Cashless Transactions: Encourage and facilitate cashless transactions at toll plazas, reducing the need for physical currency and the associated risks of handling cash.
- Traffic Congestion Reduction: Minimize traffic congestion at toll booths by enabling faster and smoother toll collection, as vehicles with FASTags can pass through without stopping.
- Time Savings: Save time for commuters by eliminating the wait times at toll plazas, leading to faster journeys and reduced travel times.
- Environmental Benefits: Promote eco-friendly practices by reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions that occur while idling at toll booths.
- Digital India Initiative: Align with the Indian government’s Digital India campaign by encouraging electronic payments and enhancing financial inclusion.
- Data Analytics: Enable the collection of data on vehicle movement and toll transactions, which can be used for traffic management, future infrastructure planning, and policy decision-making.
- Interoperability: Ensure that FASTags issued by different banks and agencies are interoperable, allowing vehicles to use any FASTag lane regardless of the issuing institution.
Notable Features of NPCI FASTag
NPCI FASTag can be best understood once you know all about its unique features. These features reveal more insights into how FASTag works and what more it offers:
- FASTag only deals in real-time transaction processing, which takes place within an interval of 10 minutes. This transaction is sent by the toll plazas.
- NETC program for FASTag is operational with multiple issuers, making it highly interoperable for toll transactions.
- This payment service allows road users to continue driving without stopping at the toll booths.
- Customers can always top off or recharge their FASTag account by visiting the official website of the issuing NETC member banks. It can be easily processed via UPI, credit cards, debit cards, RTGS, NEFT and net banking.
How Beneficial is NPCI FASTag?
The initiative of NPCI FASTag provides collective benefits to all the major parties involved in the toll transaction: Road users, toll operators and the Government. Here is how FASTag benefits them all:
Benefits For Road Users:
- Seamlessly pass through toll plazas with minimal stops.
- Convenient cashless payment of toll fees.
- Reduced traffic congestion and shorter travel durations.
- Access to toll statements via mail or online platforms.
Benefits For Toll Operators:
- Decreased operating expenses.
- Enhanced audit control through centralised user accounts.
- Improved capacity utilisation without any additional infrastructure.
Benefits For the Government:
- Economic fuel savings and diminished emissions due to less idle time and frequent toll plaza stops.
- Better transparency in toll transactions.
Renowned Banks Providing FASTag Services
NPIC FASTag can be easily purchased from any of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) member banks. As of now, almost 26 banks are certified by Indian Highway Management Company Limited (IHMCL) to issue FASTag, while 12 of them are certified to execute the acquiring services at toll plazas. A list of these banks is given below.
|NETC Member Banks||Issuer||Acquirer|
|PAYTM Payments Bank||Yes||Yes|
|Punjab National Bank||Yes||Yes|
|State Bank of India||Yes||Yes|
NPCI FASTag is an electronic toll-collection system in India that automatically facilitates toll payment via tags fitted in the windshield of every vehicle. The main aim of FASTag was to ensure fast and seamless toll payment along with a series of objectives discussed above. The benefits and features of NPCI FASTag covered above confirm the mutual gain for every party involved in the toll payment transaction. One can easily get their own FASTag via any of the banks listed above and leverage the benefit of fast toll payments every day.