A guide to FASTag and how it works

3 mins November 08, 2019

One of the specific pain points of highway travel and transport is toll collection. The slow process of collecting the toll manually makes for a frustrating experience for commuters as well as transport authorities. To solve this problem the MoRTH (Ministry Of Roadways, Transport & Highways) and NHAI (National Highway Authority of India) introduced FASTag as an electronic toll collection (ETC) mechanism. FASTag is an RFID sticker that is stuck to the vehicle’s windshield and an RFID reader allows vehicles to pass through the Toll Plaza while payment is deducted automatically.

guide to FASTag

According to the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, from December 15, all vehicles in India crossing a toll plaza on the national highways must be equipped with a FASTag. Vehicles that do not have a FASTag will be charged double the toll post that date. Now would be a good time to get yourself up to speed with a FASTag, starting with how it works.

How does a FASTag work?

A FASTag is essentially a technology-enabled sticker that is attached to the inside of your car’s windshield. It is linked directly to a pre-paid wallet or bank account and works via Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. If you have sufficient money in the connected account, you can drive through an ETC enabled lane at a highway toll plaza without stopping to pay the toll manually. When you do that, these are the steps that are executed:

  • Step 1: The toll plaza sensor captures the FASTag details like TagID, Vehicle Class, etc, and sends it to the acquiring bank (the bank which will receive the payment) for verification.
  • Step 2: The acquiring bank system sends a request to the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) mapper to validate the details.
  • Step 3: When valid, the NETC Mapper responds with details like VRN, Tag Status and more. This is where an unregistered tag will be flagged.
  • Step 4: Upon validation, the acquiring bank raises a suitable debit request.
  • Step 5: NETC system forwards the request to the tag issuing bank.
  • Step 6: The issuing bank debits the user account and informs them via SMS. It also sends payment responses to the NETC system. Even if the response fails, the payment is Deemed Accepted.
  • Step 7: The NETC system informs the acquiring bank system of approval.
  • Step 8: The acquiring bank system informs the toll plaza system.

While the above sequence of steps might feel complicated, in reality, the whole process is completed within seconds and does not require you to do anything manually as you drive through the toll booth.

Additional information for FASTag users

  • You can avail concession on FASTag if you reside within 10kms (or 20km depending on the Plaza) of a toll plaza, to do this you will have to get in touch with the toll plaza with the appropriate proof of residence. Once the verification is done, a local pass will be issued and the concession will be available to your FASTag.
  • To report the loss of your FASTag from Axis Bank, you will need to call customer care at 1800 419 8585 to block your FASTag. Once you get a new FASTag issued, the balance will be transferred.
  • You will need to register a unique FASTag for each unique vehicle you own.
  • Know more about, FASTag charges and FAQs.

Disclaimer: This article has been authored by Siddharth Parwatay, a Mumbai based independent tech-journalist, editor, and content-creator. Axis Bank doesn't influence any views of the author in any way. Axis Bank and/or the author shall not be responsible for any direct / indirect loss or liability incurred by the reader for taking any financial decisions based on the contents and information. Please consult your financial advisor before making any financial decision.