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The Demise of the Wallet

Driving licenses are set to migrate from our wallets to our smartphones

They started out with music and photos. Then, e-mail readers and browsers connected us to the Internet. Soon thereafter GPS navigators allowed us to navigate anywhere around globe. Most recently, smartphones have integrated credit, debit and gift card functionality and a number of other paperless payment systems. Some cars can even be opened and started with a smartphone signal. So, why should we leave our driving licenses in our wallets?

Oliver Morley, Chief Executive of the UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency recently reported on a plan to develop a smartphone-based driving license, although, at present, the prototype in the works would appear to serve as an “add on,” rather than a full license replacement. Nonetheless, this is the first step in an inevitable process that will probably lead to the demise of the accoutrement known as a wallet.

CCS Insight Analyst Ben Wood explains “Security has taken a significant step forward to support digital payments on phones, so the framework is in place for other secure applications, such as a digital driving license.” While a technology analyst at the Lewis Business Consultancy also pointed out how digital wallets were “a massively underrated and under-exploited resource. People are getting more and more used to the technology … [and] far more comfortable with the concept of keeping key information on their smartphone.”

Other countries that are involved in initial pilots and projects to introduce digital driving licenses include Australia, Italy and the State of Iowa in the United States. In fact, New South Wales in Australia is set to introduce a digital driving license by 2018.

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