Thursday, 26th September, 2019

How does Paytm FASTag work on national highways?

FASTag

When I bought a new car this year the car dealership took Rs 500 from me towards FASTag, out of which Rs 100 is the cost of the tag, Rs 250 is refundable security deposit and Rs 150 is kept as a threshold amount in your FASTag account. Many banks are assigned by the government to sell these FASTags. My car dealership gets the tag issued by Paytm, so they connected this tag with my Paytm mobile number & this new car’s registration number. And then they affixed the tag on top of my front windscreen.

Within minutes I received SMS notification from Paytm about a new FASTag being activated in my account, and I could see Rs 150 threshold amount in a “FASTag wallet” inside the Paytm app.

If you order a FASTag from any of the issuing banks the process should be similar, you will pay the one time fee to buy the sticker, you will also need to provide your car’s registration number while buying it, and it will be given to you by the bank and you will stick it onto your car. But I am unsure how much time that will take because traditional banks & their employees are very lazy, when I asked about to one of the “Personal Banker” officer at my HDFC bank’s home branch he was completely clueless about it. So I would suggest you to get it from Paytm.

I recently went on a big road trip & this was the first time I used it. As this has been launched since quite a few years, all the toll gates on national highway are FASTag enabled already and the government is going to make FASTag mandatory to pay toll fee from 1st December 2019. So now is the perfect time to get it.

Right now, some toll gates have all of their lanes FASTag enabled while some toll gates have only one dedicated lane for it, and some toll gates have handheld scanners with their staff. In either case you will be able to see FASTag notice boards & banners from atleast 500 meters away before approaching the gates. Now you just go near the gate, there are scanners which will read your tag & lift up the metal boom barrier & you can drive past. It automatically deducts amount from your bank account or Paytm account depending upon to which account it is connected.

You will receive a SMS of the fee deducted but it will not be instantaneously, the SMS usually arrives after a few hours, depending upon how well that particular toll gate is connected to the internet. I have even received SMS of one toll gate charge one day after I drove past it, so nothing to worry, it always deducts the correct amount.

So far I have not been able to test a round trip by going both ways through the same toll gate within a time period of 24 hours, but I believe it will correctly deduct the amount [round trip fare minus one way fare already paid] instead of charging you one way fares twice, which seems only logical.

I have setup Paytm to charge my credit card Rs 1000 to top up its balance automatically when the balance goes below Rs 1000. So the process is completely automatically, I zoom past toll gates, they deduct the fee, I get a SMS, I can see the transaction inside the Paytm app & I can also download a monthly statement in PDF format as well. I would say this whole system works pretty smooth.

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