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  • Writer's pictureSwati Bhat

Do you know about in-car payment?

Mumbai [India], July 13: Technology, sure, is making our lives easier. After FASTag cut short our waiting time at toll plazas, more plans are afoot for similar experiments. Let us see what they are, in this report

Swati Bhat

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Thanks to FASTag, we now do not have to carry cash or cards to pay for tolls on highways. It is the first and the most successful example of in-car payment service in India.

The next step now is to enable in-car payments for many other services such as fuel, parking, maintenance, insurance, etc. Before we get to its advantages and disadvantages, let’s understand how the in-car payment system works.

The easiest and most common way to enable an in-car payment system is through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.

For the uninitiated, RFID tag is a short-range wireless system that uses radio waves to communicate. These tags store a range of information, read by a specific device called reader. The beauty of RFID tag is it does not require power or internet connectivity to work, and can send data over-the-air.

The other method to implement an in-car payment system is through an embedded Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) module. These modules are expensive and require an operating unit to work.

But they can transmit data at a higher range, which, in turn, lowers the chances of payment failure. Unlike the integrated systems such as RFID tags, this embedded system requires power to work.

Another way to implement an in-car payment system is through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It is an advanced and most secure way among the available methods to enable in-car payments, but is expensive and complicated because of hardware and software compatibility issues. It requires both power and internet connectivity to work.

Coming on to the challenges with in-car payment systems, security is one and foremost because your personal and financial information may be compromised due to cyber attack irrespective of systems used -- integrated such as RFID tags or embedded such as BLE module/APIs -- to enable the payments.

Connectivity is another challenge, especially in embedded systems, because there still is a wide geographical area in the country where the internet has not reached as yet.

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