Customers can buy FASTags on e-platforms
DIGITAL HIGHWAY: Banks have issued over 5 million tags, which are accepted at over 500 toll plazas across India. FASTags, an RFID tag which permits the customer to drive seamlessly through toll plazas without stopping at the counter.
A simple idea of digitalising micropayments at toll plazas led to conceptualisation of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program a few years ago. FASTags, an RFID tag which permits the customer to drive seamlessly through toll plazas without stopping at the counter, are being issued by about 22 banks. Collectively, these banks have issued over 5 million tags which are accepted at over 500 toll plazas across the country.
Why India needs e-payment solution for transit?
India is primarily a cash-led economy and in a bid to make it cash-lite, financial institutions are focusing on digitalising segments where consumers make payments including transit. National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which develops, maintains and manages the national highways, generates around Rs 2,400 crore in revenue annually but only 25% of that amount is processed digitally via NETC. Rest 75% of these transactions are processed in cash which requires a significant amount of efforts to manage and curb leakages. Electronification of retail payments at toll plazas is the perfect solution as it enhances transparency and efficiency in processing transactions. Besides, it not only reduces congestion around toll plazas but also reduces fuel consumption and air pollution. It has the potential to save cost and contribute to GDP of the country.
Convenience to the customer
NETC encompasses a common set of processes, business rules and technical specifications which enable a customer to use a FASTag that is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle as payment mode across toll plazas. It works like a pre-paid wallet and can be loaded very easily. It can be recharged online through UPI, Credit, Debit cards, NEFT, RTGS or Net banking. The exact amount of money is auto-debited from the wallet which is much quicker as compared to making payment in cash. Users also get instant SMS alerts on the registered mobile number for toll transactions, low balance, etc. Moreover, all FASTag users also get a monthly cashback of 2.5% of toll transactions. Digitalising transit payments through NETC is also beneficial for banks and payment players as it provides a fertile market base and an opportunity to tap an increasing digital customer base.
How consumers can opt for FASTags?
Automobile manufacturers now ensure that all new cars are now equipped with FASTags. Customers can connect with their bank or dealers to activate the tags. In addition to this, select Common Service Centers (CSCs), fuel stations also issue tags to customers. To enhance FASTag adoption, there are used cases being developed to use it as a mode of payment for fuel charges. Customers can now purchase tags from e-commerce platforms and self-activate NHAI FASTags by entering customer and vehicle details in My FASTag mobile app. Thereafter, consumers can link the tag to an existing bank account of their choice.
An RBI-appointed panel led by Nandan Nilekani recently recommended to the government that NETC must also allow other vehicle-related use cases such as parking and road congestion in smart cities, to be developed through APIs. Such initiatives like digital payments of toll shall enhance transparency and promote cashless transactions, converting India into a cash-lite society supporting the Digital India Programme.