What is a digital driver’s license?

What is a digital driver’s license?

As our lives become increasingly connected, we are growing more and more accustomed to using digital services in our everyday life. As such, smartphones have joined our wallet and keys as necessary things you can’t leave the house without. With apps helping us complete our shopping and virtual wallets common, it seems the next logical step would be for smart phones to hold our digital identities. We have all experienced the worry of losing our ID cards, so would having a digital driver’s license eliminate this fear? But what exactly are they and how do they work?

Whilst you might presume that digital driver’s licenses (DDL) would negate the need for physical ID cards, this is not the current plan. DDLs are to supplement the physical ID card, but would still hold your personal information – name, address, date of birth and photo. However, a DDL holds many benefits over the paper ID.

To start, they are far less susceptible to fraud than the physical ID card and are protected by security features and authentication not available on plastic cards. They are currently being piloted in parts of the world, and can be presented to law enforcement and airport security. And very useful for younger people, they can also be used when you need to verify your age. Cashiers can simply scan the DDL and will receive real-time feedback to verify its authenticity.

DDLs offer far less hassle than traditional ID cards too. If you need to update your details or find yourself switching phones, this can all be done over the Internet or by redownloading the app. There is no longer the need to visit your local issuer or send off paper forms. Similarly, if you lose your phone, you can be safe in the knowledge that your license cannot be accessed by anyone but you – no more reapplying for ID cards!

So how do you apply for one?

They are currently being trialled in the US, Australia, India and some European states, but it’s always worth checking with your local issuer to see if you can try one. If they do, they can be requested when you apply for a new license. The issuer will pair your phone with your profile and the DDL can then be downloaded via an app. Once downloaded, no one can access your license but you as the app will be PIN or fingerprint protected.

DDL may not have widespread roll-out just yet, but it will soon be another key feature of our digital wallets. The digital ID is going to cut down on fraud and create a smooth identification process.

What are your thoughts on DDLs? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @JustAskGemalto.