India – Visa launches Proof of Concept for contactless toll payments with IDFC Bank

By | May 15, 2017

MUMBAI: Visa, the global payments technology firm, launched a first proof-of-concept (PoC) to showcase open loop contactless toll payments at National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI) Manesar toll plaza. Once commercialized, open loop payment systems (compatible with contactless cards issued by any bank or provisioned in enabled devices) could significantly reduce congestion and waiting times at toll plazas, the company said in a statement.

NHAI operates around 400 toll plazas across India’s national highways through which more than 20,000 vehicles pass each day. Citing various reports Visa said that with vehicles queued up for an average of five to ten minutes to complete a toll payment, congestion and waiting time at toll plazas account for a significant portion of the $21.3bn (comprises $6.6bn in cost of delay and $14.7bn in additional fuel spent) that India is estimated to lose each year.

“At Visa, we are excited at the opportunity to introduce innovative payment solutions for digital payment and collection facilities at toll plazas across India. Visa payWave – our contactless payment technology allows users to simply wave and pay using a card or devices like smartphones and is relevant for all modes of transport – metros, buses, and the railways as our experience with Transport for London has shown,” said T R Ramachandran, country manager, India and South Asia, Visa. 

Indian Highways Management Company Ltd, a company specifically set up by NHAI to carry out electronic tolling has commissioned the deployment of the Manesar PoC. A key objective of the PoC is to assess the advantage of contactless payments in increasing the number of vehicles passing through the toll plaza. 

“We have partnered Visa to enable the first-of-its-kind open loop toll payment in India. Once commercialized, the solution will empower travellers to use all bank-issued contactless cards to make toll payments in seconds. We are pleased to work with Visa and NHAI to transform the toll payments space and contribute to a digitized India,” said Rajiv Lall, managing director, IDFC Bank.
Visa said that by significantly reducing waiting times and costs, the technology helps improve the flow of traffic across the toll lanes. Once commercialized, the technology would allow consumers to use their existing bank issued contactless cards for payments across India’s toll plazas.
This PoC furthers the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Payment Vision 2018 of moving India to a less–cash society. According to the RBI, toll collections are largely cash based, and efforts to migrate to electronic payments have been sporadic and isolated. As a result, India has a range of different toll collection systems across the country, not only causing confusion and inconvenience to commuters, but also pushing them further into cash payments.