From February 16, your road toll payments are poised to become more expensive, unless you possess a FASTag.
From midnight, having a FASTag will be mandatory for your four-wheelers, or your toll payments will become twice as expensive, if you choose to pay them in cash. The deadline was initially January 1, but was extended to February 15. Union Minister for Transport, Nitin Gadkari said at a media interaction at Nagpur airport that people should buy a FASTag immediately, as no further extension will be given.
On national highways, all lanes have been declared FASTag lanes with effect from midnight, says a statement released by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
"...as per NH Fee Rules 2008, any vehicle not fitted with FASTag or vehicle without valid, functional FASTag entering into the FASTag lane of the fee plaza shall pay a fee equivalent to two times of the fee applicable to that category", says the release.
Here's what is a FASTag, how you can buy it, and all you need to know.
1. What is a FASTag?
FASTag is a radio-frequency identification technology enabled tag which needs to be stuck to the windshield of a four wheeler vehicle. It's aim is to make toll payments digital, and replaces cash payments at toll plazas and toll booths. The National Payments Corporation of India, the brains behind FASTag's infrastructure has also purported that FASTag could be a solution to settle parking fees as a well.
At the toll plaza, scanners will pick up the barcode and the toll amount will be deducted immediately either from a prepaid and rechargeable digital wallet or a bank account.
"FASTag offers the convenience of cashless payment along with benefits like - savings on fuel and time as the customer does not has to stop at the toll plaza", says the NPCI.
A FASTag tag has a validity of five years.
2. How can I purchase one?
It is simple to purchase a FASTag due to its wide availability.
Online: 28 major banks and payments banks have dedicated portals on their apps and on their websites for customers to buy a FASTag-enabled tag. These include popular banks like the State Bank of India, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank and payment banks like PayTM and Airtel Payments Bank.
This list of all 28 banks is available here.
Offline: The FASTag is available at the branches of a number of banks, and can be purchased directly from toll booths.
3. What documents would I need?
You would need to keep the following things handy:
- Your vehicle's registration number.
- Pictures or scanned version of the front and backside of its registration certificate (RC).
All websites will prompt you to input these details. It would also also require a postal address where the FASTag would be delivered.
After delivery, depending on the banking vendor, the user would need to visit the bank's app or website to activate the FASTag. For example, on PayTM, one would need to input a barcode number received with the FASTag into the app to activate it.
4. How much does it cost?
A FASTtag could cost anything from ₹350 to ₹500, depending on the type of vehicle and on the issuing bank,
This fee would include a one-time tag issuance fee which can be up to ₹100 including taxes, a minimum balance, and security deposit. For four-wheeler light vehicles, the security deposit is ₹200, and it increases to heavier vehicles like earth movers and heavy construction vehicles, which can go up to ₹500.
5. Do I need to recharge my FASTag?
It depends on what the FASTag is connected to. If the FASTag is connected to one's bank account, sufficient bank balance would need to be maintained to use during the journey. If the FASTag is linked to a prepaid rechargeable wallet, that would need to have sufficient balance during the journey.
In case balance is not maintained, the NPCI states that the customer's FASTag would get blacklisted, and would be required to pay the toll fees in cash.
Popular options to purchase FASTags mentioned earlier during this story have rechargeable options.
To recharge, one could use NEFT, IMPS, UPI transfers, net banking, credit or debit cards . The place to recharge the FASTag would be the bank's app, or the dedicated FASTag portal. This is also the place where one could check the FASTag's balance, and raise customer concerns.
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