Could An App Replace Your Driver’s License?

Three colleges now allow students to use an iPhone app instead of a student ID card.

By Shelly BrisbinOctober 4, 2018 1:33 pm

You may already be using your phone to pay for your morning coffee or to scan your boarding pass at the airport – lots of us deposit checks and keep track of our finances on the phone, too. But could technology go further? Could that slab of metal and glass in your hand someday replace your driver’s license or even your entire wallet?

Tech expert Omar Gallaga says it’s already happening for some college students.

At Duke University, the University of Oklahoma and the University Alabama, students can now use an iPhone or an Apple Watch app instead of a student ID card. And several states are part of a pilot program aimed at allowing drivers to flash a code on their phone, rather than a card, when asked to show a driver’s license.

Electronic credentials are more efficient than plastic cards, Gallaga says, and law enforcement or other government officials could quickly process ID information without needing to take possession of your phone. And credentials could be quickly disabled if they’re lost or stolen.

Some people aren’t looking forward to electronic driver’s licenses, Gallaga says. They’re used to carrying physical cards, and worry about what would happen if their phone were lost or stolen.

But, he says, those privacy and security concerns exist for paper and plastic IDs, too.

A few states are working toward using electronic licenses, he says.

On the downside, losing your phone could leave you without the tools you need to prove your identity. Security measures within the phone may prove the best defense, in that situation.

Though you can’t put your license on a phone in Texas, you can already use an app as proof of auto insurance.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.