Apple allows some users to store credentials in their digital wallets
A fully digital wallet could come close. Apple users in Arizona can now store their driver’s licenses on their phones, and the company says the feature will soon be available in other states.
People should still wear their physical ID while the feature is rolling out, Apple warned; the only airport currently accepting it is Phoenix. But development marks a shift in how we prove our identities and spend our money.
Perhaps you’ve recently upgraded your wallet from a bulky George Costanza type situation to a stylish card holder. After all, you can do a lot with your phone these days — pay for groceries, ride the New York City subway, show proof of a COVID shot. The only thing missing is your ID.
“The day is almost upon us when virtually all transactions can be handled through your smartphone,” said Eswar Prasad, author of “The Future of Money”.
True digital wallet adoption is only a few years away, he said. “Apple wants to make sure it plays a central role between consumers, businesses and government.”
Consumers, businesses and government also have a stake in digital IDs, said Akif Khan, analyst at Gartner.
“Imagine buying alcohol online. Online gambling is another. You don’t necessarily need to prove your identity, but you do need to prove your age,” he said.
This is where digital wallets are heading, Khan said. In Sweden, the BankID app is a popular way for people to pay for things and sign loan documents and tax returns.
But it will take some coordination in the United States. There are 50 states, each with their own identity laws. And many different tech companies are developing these features, which could make adoption difficult for businesses.
“You will potentially have to accept five, 10, 15, 20 different digital identity wallets so that you don’t exclude any customers,” Khan said.
These customers also need to be convinced. Americans have been slower to adopt mobile wallets than people in many other parts of the world.