Can I store my driver's license in Google Wallet?
Best answer: Yes, but not yet. The new version of Google Wallet will include support for digital IDs, including digital driver's licenses. However, support will vary depending on state and other local legislation, and no official partnerships have yet been confirmed. But the technology is there to permit the feature.
What is the difference between Google Wallet and Google Pay?
Google Wallet and Google Pay are effectively the same thing, with Google Wallet being the new branding for Google Pay in many countries. Though in the U.S., Google Wallet and Google Pay will continue to co-exist as two separate services.
Yes, it's a bit confusing. But we'll break it down. Introduced at Google I/O in May 2022, the companion Google Wallet app is designed to function similarly to the Apple Wallet on iPhones, storing digital versions of store payment and loyalty cards, event passes and virtual tickets, digital IDS, flight boarding passes, transit cards, vaccination cards, and more. With some cars that support digital car keys, those can be stored in Google Wallet in the future as well. Of course, Google Wallet will also store credit and debit cards to support mobile payments. Google says it is also working on adding features like hotel and office keys.
Google Pay, which launched in the U.S. in 2022 (and was merged with Android Pay in 2018), will continue to function in the country as a standalone tap payment method, which can be accessed from compatible mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. For other countries, Google Pay will simply be integrated into the newly updated Wallet app.
Google Wallet is set to be available sometime in summer 2022 on a variety of Android devices, which should likely include all of the best Android phones. All Google has said to date is that the feature is "coming soon" noting that the company is in talks with over 40 countries to launch the app. This includes working with governments, though there are no confirmed details as to which states or governments will officially sign on.
How will driver's license support work in Google Wallet?
It's unclear how the driver's license support will work once it is officially approved in various states, cities, and countries. There's also no specified timeline as to when this feature might launch anywhere, so it's just a waiting game at this point.
Why store your driver's license in Google Wallet?
Having a digital driver's license means being able to leave your physical wallet at home, having instant access to the ID versus frantically searching through your wallet, purse, or glove compartment, and being able to display ID quickly and efficiently.
The primary concern is privacy and security, making sure that such sensitive data doesn't end up in the wrong hands or lead to identity theft. A user's personal information needs to be protected such that a digital driver's license can't be hacked or digitally altered in any way. If all these humps are overcome, there's real value in being able to store your driver's license digitally.
Granted, there would also need to be a focus on keeping the device charged up at all times or having a failsafe feature that could display the license, even when the phone is turned off or not connected.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to a driver's license in Google Wallet, and when/if this feature officially launches in big, widespread way, it could be a game-changer.
Google Wallet app
Google Wallet is a reinvention of Google Pay that combines mobile payment capabilities from connected debit and credit cards with a single spot to store digital versions of store loyalty and payment apps, vaccination cards, events tickets, boarding passes, and more, so you can truly leave the wallet at home.
Christine Persaud is a freelance writer for Android Central who has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's probably working on her latest fitness program, binging a new (or old) TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets, or spending time with her school-aged son. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.
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