With the development of smartphones, the computers that we can shove in our pockets, they’ve always held some semblance of our important information on them. Even when they were just used for quick emails and texts, our devices were capable of hosting a plethora of sensitive information. Security to protect that content has only gotten better, thankfully, because over the years our devices have only grown more capable.
We’ve come a long way from just having some emails and text messages on our phones. Now, we can have high-definition video, even more pictures, credit and debit cards, rewards cards, boarding passes, sporting event tickets, and so much more. Our phones are a well of important information, and that’s not going to stop being the case any time soon.
In that same regard, our smartphones are gradually taking over other areas, too. We’ve already seen what that looks like for cameras and media players, and the smartphone taking over those things make sense. As our technology advances it becomes easier to combine those things into a single unit. While I can still remember a time when I had to carry a separate MP3 player (or CD player!), a separate camera, and a separate phone, there are many folks out there that won’t have to go through all this struggle finding space in a bag.
It’s all in our pocket.
So now that smartphones have cannibalized our cameras, media players, and plenty of other pieces of technology, the move to our wallets seems almost inevitable at this point. We already have so many options for mobile payments, like Android Pay and Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, that storing our credit and debit cards on our phone(s) almost feels standard.
(Give it a few more years, and maybe not even that long, and it will feel like that’s just how things are supposed to be, as long as Apple and Google continue to press the topic for consumers.)
And now, as made evident by the CEO of the United Kingdom’s Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Oliver Morley, driver’s licenses could be next. Actually, this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen something like this. Dating back to 2014, the state of Iowa had aspirations for making it possible for driver’s to store (and show) their driver’s license on their iPhone thanks to a dedicated iOS app.
That mission is currently in a pilot program, and the company building it out has already been speaking with 20 other states to bring the same feature to their drivers. Interestingly, the CEO of the DVLA made it a point to say that the digital driving license wasn’t a replacement for the real deal, but just an “add-on,” but that just seems like a matter-of-time situation.
I imagine this “add-on” is about the same thing as still carrying your physical credit or debit card, even if you try to use Apple/Android/Samsung/LG/whatever Pay as often as you can. The mobile payment option isn’t always viable, even as companies try to make it so across the board, so having your actual card with you “just in case,” makes sense.
It all does feel kind of inevitable, though, doesn’t it? We can already show our insurance cards on our phones. Credit and debit cards. Rewards cards, too. So why not the driver’s license, too? And if that does, or when it does, become a thing, I’m not entirely sure that I’d have any real reason to carry around my wallet anymore.
What about you? If you’ve adopted mobile payments already, are you in the camp that would be ready to effectively replace their wallet with their phone, with everything stored digitally? Or are you someone who flat-out refuses to go down that path? Let me know!