On Monday, Paytm Payments Bank rolled out Paytm FASTag, a reusable tag based on radio-frequency identification technology (RFID) that can be placed on a vehicle’s windscreen to enable electronic toll fee collection on highways across the country.
The company has been piloting Paytm FASTag for some time now. The announcement is in line with the government’s move to make FASTag mandatory on every new vehicle sold from December 1.
Running the pilot with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and NPCI, each tag is linked to a registered Paytm account to facilitate instant automatic deduction of toll charges. This service is accessible through 380 toll plazas across India covering 55,000 kms without having to stop.
In November alone, the bank claims to have processed over 1 million FASTag toll transactions.
At present, the bank is in talks with car and commercial vehicle manufacturers and dealers, including Maruti, Hyundai, Tata, Mercedes, Renault, BMW, Volkswagen, Volvo, among others, to make Paytm FASTag available for customers purchasing new vehicles across India.
In addition, old vehicle owners can buy FASTag online on Paytm app. Further, customers using Paytm FASTag will get 7.5 percent cashback on every toll transaction.
The bank expects to cover over 10 lakh vehicles using Paytm FASTag by the end of this financial year.
Speaking on the occasion, Renu Satti, MD & CEO – Paytm Payments Bank, said,
Cash payments at toll plazas result in precious man hours and fuel being unnecessarily spent, as attendants and motorists are left grappling with the hassles of dealing with exact change. The Paytm FASTag will facilitate non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas and bring the benefits of cashless payments to every toll in India. Besides offering convenience to commuters, this will also improve transparency and overall efficiency of the country’s toll network.
Just last week, Paytm Payments Bank was officially launched by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. Offering zero fees on online transactions, the bank said it will soon launch 31 branches and 3,000 customer points across India.
It is also looking to open nearly one lakh Paytm ATMs across the country.
However, the bank was running its Saving Bank Accounts in Beta from August this year.
Speaking about some growth numbers, Paytm had stated that it has close to 28 crore (280 million) registered users, 18 crore (180 million) wallet users, has done 250 crore (2.5 billion) annual transactions, and touched nearly six million merchants.
Last year, to enable more used cases during demonetisation, toll booths and highways were a massive opportunity for India's fintech sector. Further, every year the NHAI collects on an average Rs 15,000 crore from tolls across the country, according to estimates.