We live in truly futuristic times, where technology has seamlessly penetrated our lifestyles. We have voice-controlled lighting and security systems, chip-enabled ‘tap n go’ credit/debit cards, AI-powered chatbots, and even self-driven cars. One of the few things that have remained relatively unchanged for years, however, is our dependency on cash.

For example, we still use cash to pay the toll while traveling across highways. This habit comes off more like an anomaly, since post-demonetization, we have been using e-wallets and UPI (Unified Payments Interface) for making payments. So, why not have the same ease and hassle-free payment experience at toll plazas?

In a bid to reduce congestion, waiting time, and payment hassles at various toll plazas across National Highways, the Government has introduced FASTag – an electronic payment facility in collaboration with leading banks such as Axis Bank, HDFC and ICICI. Let us see how FASTag can help make our travel hassle-free and how you can easily buy a FASTag from Axis Bank FASTag customer care.

The Evolution of Digital Toll Payments

The concept of an electronic toll collection, ETC, was first proposed in the year 1959. Japan and China were some of the first countries to fully adopt ETC in the year 2001 and 2014 respectively.

In India, it was in April 2013 that the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH), NHAI, and IHMCL decided to implement the electronic toll collection facility across National Highways. The first ETC in India was set up on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway and had six toll plazas along with 3 logistic providers. The set up was a closed-loop solution that used FASTags, implemented across a select few toll plazas.

‘One Nation One FASTag’ scheme

Developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), under their National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program, FASTag is an interoperable nationwide toll payment solution.

In other words, FASTag is a device affixed on your windscreen that helps you make toll payments without stopping at the plaza. FASTag devices use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology and enable you to pay the toll directly from your bank account linked to FASTag.

The Government of India aims to reduce cash handling at both retail and users’ ends with FASTag. Also, the idea behind FASTag is to reduce waiting time, congestion, and fuel consumption at toll plazas across the country.

How Do You Get These FASTags To Work for You?

The first step is to purchase a FASTag for your car. FASTags are available at designated toll plazas across India. You can also buy them at designated banks. All you have to do is carry your vehicle’s registration documents and ID proof with you to complete a mandatory KYC process.

Banks that currently offer FASTags include Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and State Bank of India. For the full list of toll plazas and bank branches where you can purchase FASTags, you can contact FASTag customer care of Axis Bank or any other such institution.

Buying FASTag from the bank where you have a salary or savings account is advantageous, especially since your bank can pre-link the FASTag device with your bank account.

Moreover, purchasing the FASTag from the bank where your salary account is, allows you to recharge the balance in the device by simply logging into your net banking account and making the recharge. You can also recharge your FASTag device via the Unified Payments Interface (UPI).

According to official Government data, more than 52 lakh FASTags have been issued till date even though the use of FASTags was voluntary until now. From 1st December 2019, however, the use of FASTags will be mandatory while crossing toll plazas through highways.

Key Features and Functionalities of FASTag

FASTag offers the following functionalities and features:

The transactions are done offline, yet they are processed in near real-time as the toll plazas send the transaction details within intervals of 10 minutes

FASTag ecosystem supports interoperability, i.e., FASTags issued by any member bank are acceptable at all toll plazas (that are under the NETC program)

You can link your FASTag to your existing savings/current account or a prepaid account from any Issuer member banks

You can recharge your FASTag account online using the issuer bank online portal using UPI/ Debit Card/ Credit Card/NEFT/RTGS /Net Banking

The Journey So Far...

According to official data shared by the Government, the existing FASTag solution architecture already supports approximately 6 million tags, with up to 10 lakh transactions happening daily. Under the NETC scheme, 24,996 km out of a total 1.4 lakh km highways under NHAI come under the toll ambit, accounting for approximately Rs 30,000 crore per annum in terms of toll revenue.

Also, there are 60 lakh vehicles in India that currently have FASTags. According to the data released by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), FASTag devices will make your movement through highways smooth and hassle-free.

For the future, IHMCL has already exchanged Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with several states/ authorities for implementing FASTag infrastructure across toll plazas that come under their jurisdiction. Karnataka, Haryana, and Andhra Pradesh signed MoUs with IHMCL. Other key points

Enjoy Hassle-free Travel Across India and Much More with FASTag!

In recent years, digital payments instead of cash have gained momentum, especially at toll plazas. Post demonetization, the government focused on enabling acceptance of digital payments across all sectors via an effective toll collection system.

Under the NETC program, the government has joined forces with leading banks to develop FASTag, which is an efficient, fast, and cashless payment option for toll fare collection. Leading banks in India, such as Axis Bank offer hassle-free FASTag buying experience with dedicated customer care services, FASTag customer portal, and quick buying process.

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