The death blow for physical wallets?
After a series of pilots in metropolitan and regional regions over the last two years, New South Wales has now made digital driver licences available to all citizens. The digital driver licence joins other digital licences and permits that are already available on the Service NSW app, including those for boat drivers, recreational fishers, and providers of liquor and gaming.
The opt-in system means that people can have a legal form of identification and proof of age on their smartphones, without the need to carry a physical card. So you can use it to access licensed venues such as bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants, to purchase age-restricted products, and when interacting with police.
The digital driver licence has all of the same information on a printed driver licence, drawn from the Service NSW database, including your photo and signature. It also contains multiple design features which confirm it is authentic and current, therefore reducing the risk of identity fraud. These features provide additional levels of security compared to printed driver licences, on top of your phone’s own security and the app’s PIN entry.
For example, there is an animated NSW government logo on the top left, a last refreshed time on the top right which can be updated with a swipe down, plus a QR code that can be scanned with the Service NSW app for additional verification.
My favourite design and security feature would have to be the waratah hologram. The colours in it move around when the phone is tilted, simulating the effects of a holographic print. It’s a rather clever way of adapting a physical process to a screen. All of these features are designed to deter people from attempting to pass off screenshots of the digital driver licence as legitimate.
The digital nature of the licence also means that the information it displays is dynamic. It can show, at a glance, whether a licence holder is prohibited from driving, or accessing certain venues or products, making it more useful and easier to check than its plastic counterpart.
The digital driver licence is a boon for those wanting to get rid of their physical wallets once and for all, as just about all of the other physical cards you have from retailers, banks, state transport and other institutions can be stored and presented digitally on your smartphone. The only cards that may have to stick around are those that use RFID – think your gym membership card or a card you might use to access your workplace.