How to add your ID to Google Wallet

The smartphone revolution has been something of a mixed blessing. On one hand, you have kids stealing cars for TikTok likes, and on the other hand, you have really useful apps that make your life just that little bit better (just like these cool camera phones can help you take better pictures). One such app is Google Wallet which allows you to securely digitize many of the cards in your wallet as well as concert and sporting event tickets.

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Until recently it wasn’t possible to place your driver’s license in your Google Wallet, but now you can if you live in Maryland. Even if you don’t live in Maryland, there’s a good chance Google Wallet will support your state soon as half of the country has implemented a mobile ID program or is implementing one.


How to add your ID to Google Wallet

Adding your ID or driving license is a little more complicated than adding a loyalty card to your wallet.

  1. Open Google Wallet.
  2. Faucet Add to portfolio.

  3. To select identity card from the list of options.
  4. Choose the state ID to add to your wallet (only Maryland is currently available).

  5. Verify your ID by scanning front and back.
  6. Record a short video to prove you own the phone and ID.
  7. Submit your application.

According to Google, your ID should be verified within minutes.

What can you do with your digital ID?

Not much, it seems. At least not yet anyway. According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, your digital driver’s license can only be used at a limited number of airports across the country, and even then, you still need to have your physical ID with you in case of problems with scanning the device.

Other states have issued their own digital ID programs, with Colorado and Arizona leading the way in terms of functionality and degree of acceptance. Both states allow you to use your Mobile ID in businesses, law enforcement, and state agencies, although in both cases, accepting Mobile IDs is voluntary. Georgia is very similar to Maryland in that their Mobile ID program is only usable at TSA checkpoints at airports.

What’s next for Mobile ID?

It’s hard to tell what the future holds for any new technology, and digital identification is no exception. In the end, it’s about acceptance. As it stands, each state has its own electronic infrastructure for managing IDs, how they can be used, and how their information can be verified, and this is a major obstacle to widespread adoption. It’s one thing for your Colorado digital ID to be valid at traffic stops in certain Colorado locations. However, it’s another thing for your digital driver’s license to be valid across state lines.

This problem is insurmountable as things stand now, but a change may be on the way. The Real ID Act has been in the works since 2005. While its primary purpose is to increase the security of state-issued IDs for accessing federal facilities and boarding aircraft, it also requires states to share their ID databases with each other. Not all states are on board with sharing their databases, and until major holdouts like California, New York, and Texas decide to join them, digital IDs will likely remain a local phenomenon.

Keep your driving license in your phone!

If the technology takes off, it can be used in many creative ways. Instead of showing your driver’s license or ID (and address) to the creepy bartender, you simply wave your phone at an NFC reader. Likewise, with job applications. An employer doesn’t need to know where you live to know if you’re fit to work.

For now, this is all a pipe dream, but the technological groundwork has been laid, so don’t be surprised if your state ID is next added to Google Wallet. And if you’re having trouble getting Google Wallet to work for you, check out our guide on how to fix it!

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