With the digitalization of the economy, the use of “cash” has been completely eliminated from our lives. People have started shopping online, buying groceries online, opening their bank accounts online, getting their documents issued online, paying their bills online, and what not!
Since every major action is being performed online, the habit of carrying “cash” with oneself has almost completely disappeared. Apart from these, when you travel from one place to another, you buy petrol by making payments online. Along with eliminating the risk of carrying cash everywhere, this shift has also managed to save people’s time. Standing in long queues to perform these tasks was pretty mundane and tiring.
Another such task that involved standing in long queues was crossing the toll plazas. Now, when everything else has moved online, making such tasks more convenient and efficient, then why not shift the payment of toll taxes online?
To keep with the digitization, the government has introduced the FASTag technology at the National Highways across the country. Approximately 615 toll plazas have the FASTag facility. But what exactly is FASTag? Let’s understand!
Understanding the FASTag Technology
To avoid long queues and jams at national highways across the country, the government has implemented the FASTag facility, a cashless model wherein the entire toll tax amount is collected through the FASTag. Since 16th February 2021, all four-wheelers have to mandatorily get the tag fitted on their vehicles.
The FASTag is operated by 35 different banks, which are governed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). The FASTag facility eliminates the manual collection of the tax at toll plazas by using a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology.
The idea is to facilitate electronic toll collection across the country, thereby saving people’s time and efforts in the long run. Now, let’s understand how FASTag actually works.
How FASTag Works?
Here’s how the FASTag technology works-
- The FASTag is linked to the user’s prepaid account and is then fixed to the windscreen of his/her vehicle
- With the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, the toll amount is deducted from the linked prepaid account, such as a Paytm wallet
- The technology works such that the vehicle does not have to stop at the toll gate; the amount gets deducted as the vehicle passes through it
- Your prepaid FASTag account, which could be your Paytm wallet, for instance, will then be debited for the transaction; which eventually makes users’ travel easier and comfortable
Let’s take an example to understand this better-
Every FASTag is linked to a prepaid account, such as Paytm Wallet. Right when you buy a Paytm FASTag, it gets automatically linked to your Paytm Wallet and will automatically be visible in the ‘Manage FASTag’ section of your Paytm mobile application. Now, to use the Paytm FASTag facility, you need to add money to your Paytm wallet, and the required transaction amount will be deducted from your Paytm balance as your vehicle passes through the FASTag-enabled toll plaza.
The Government of India has instructed the National Highway Authority of India to convert all the toll lanes to FASTag lanes, thereby making the FASTag facility an omnipresent facility across all the Indian highways.
Why Should You Use FASTag?
The Government of India has made it mandatory for all citizens to use the FASTag facility. Let’s understand what benefits does it offer to you-
- Using the FASTag technology, you will not have to lower the speed of your vehicle at the toll plazas. Since you can keep moving at the toll gates, without having to stop, your fuel and your time will be saved
- Since the traffic does not have to stop or slow down, there is almost no congestion or traffic jam at the toll plazas
- Traveling from one city/state to another by road comes across a lot of toll plazas. With the use of FASTag, you can enjoy the benefit of electronic payment, and a completely hassle-free driving experience throughout your journey; leaving the FASTag to take care of all your toll payments
- FASTag also makes it easier for you to keep a track of all your toll expenses. If you use Paytm to make your FASTag payments, you will receive regular in-app notifications and SMSs every time you make a payment through FASTag. Moreover, you can also track your expenses in your Paytm passbook
- The FASTag facility benefits the environment in the long run, as it reduces the use of paper and fuel
- Regular travelers can apply to convert their monthly, regular passes into FASTag passes. There is an online application procedure for corporates and fleet owners to do the same
When Should You Get the FASTag?
The right time to get the FASTag for yourself is now. Since 16 February 2021, the Government has made it mandatory for all travelers to get the FASTag fitted in their vehicles.
Without having the FASTag, the user will have to pay double the toll amount. Considering the benefits offered by the government and organizations like Paytm for using FASTag, the electronic toll payment method is eventually becoming a social norm.