FASTag: NPCI Says Money Can't Be Deducted with a 'Watch' as Shown in Video
Moneylife Digital Team 27 June 2022
Taking strong objection to a video being circulated on social media, wherein a boy is shown using a watch over FASTag, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) says the video is baseless and false. "No transactions can be executed through open internet connectivity. No financial transactions can be initiated without all the pre-requisites mentioned in the image," it says in a statement.
NPCI says it has already taken action in response to these videos and has asked social media platforms to them.
NPCI has developed the national electronic toll collection (NETC) programme to meet the electronic tolling requirements of the Indian market. NETC FASTag is a device that employs radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly while the vehicle is in motion. NETC FASTag (RFID Tag) is affixed on the vehicle's windscreen and enables a customer to make the toll payments directly from the account linked to NETC FASTag.
In the video circulating on social media, a small boy is seen cleaning the windscreen of a car. While cleaning the screen, the boy swipes his wristwatch (with red digital letters) against the FASTag attached at the top. He does not even ask for money for wiping the screen, which makes the passenger in the front seat ask more questions. However, instead of replying, the boy is seen running away. His chase by the passenger is fruitless. On his return, the passenger and driver can be seen discussing the 'new modus operandi' to swipe FASTag to earn quick money. 
However, NPCI says such things are not possible with FASTag. The reason, it says, is that NETC FASTag is designed for person-to-merchant (P2M) and not person-to-person (P2P). "It means an individual cannot receive the money in NETC FASTag ecosystem from fraudulent transactions. Only authorised system integrators (SI) on behalf of concessionaires are allowed to participate for specific plazas and initiate payment transactions," it says in the statement.
Further, NPCI says the infrastructure deployed between SI system and concessionaire and banks are secured by white-listing only permitted internet protocol (IP) addresses and URLs, while the hardware installed at toll plazas is cryptographically secured through hardware security module (HSM).
The transaction from the toll plaza is sent to the acquiring system. The acquiring system validates these transactions and sends them to the NETC switch. NPCI routes these transactions to the respective issuer bank which, in turn, debits the FASTag account-holder.
NPCI says every merchant on-boarded by the acquirer bank is allotted a unique code. Every acquirer bank also has a unique acquirer ID (AID). The combination of plaza code and bank AID is mapped at the NPCI end. The transaction communication between the toll plaza and the bank is encrypted and only NPCI, which holds the corresponding public key (for the encryption), can access the information by decryption, it added.
"No transaction can be executed through open internet connectivity. No financial transactions can be initiated without all the pre-requisites. Hence the videos circulating on social media are baseless and false," NPCI says.
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