Google Wallet preps e-passport support in the US, but it's not a replacement

Google Wallet new features
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Evidence shows that Google has continued to progress in the development of e-passports in the Wallet app.
  • The company explains that an ID pass created from your passport can be used at "select" airline checkpoints, but it is not to be seen as the replacement for the physical version.
  • Digital passports in Wallet will arrive as U.S. exclusives and can work through NFC and QR codes for domestic flights.

Google is preparing to bring digital convenience to our passports, however, it might be wise to carry its physical form still.

Prominent X tipster AssembleDebug recently posted a screenshot of the upcoming feature through Google Wallet (via Android Police). The tagline for the function reads, "create an ID pass with your passport." The feature seems closer to release now, with the photo stating that e-passports will be restricted to U.S. users. 

The tipster then referenced a previous post, highlighting some of the functionality users can expect.

As spotted in a previous beta, the company stated that an ID pass created for a passport would let users verify their "identity for domestic flights at select airline security checkpoints or online purchases."

More digging showed that users could tap their phone's reader (NFC), or the authorities could scan the passport's generated QR code. Moreover, Google will have some safety rails in place, such as personal authentication before sharing information.

The beta showed that users will have a chance to "review" any information that's been requested of them. Also, another layer of security will prompt users to verify their identity by entering a previously set fingerprint, PIN, or password.

While Google Wallet is preparing to incorporate digital passports, it would be a time saver, but it's not all sunshine. Even now, the company is still urging users to carry their physical passports with them as this digital variant isn't a replacement. This is likely due to the "select TSA checkpoint" caveat.

With Google Wallet's development continuing, it seems likely that e-passport support in the U.S. will roll out sooner rather than later.

In other news, the company rolled out a feature that lets users double their Android phone as a hotel room key. Participating hotels will let users add their room key to their Wallet via their app or website. The good thing here is that the addition of digital room keys means there's less chance you misplace them.

Moreover, the digital version piggybacks off your phone's NFC for an easy "tap to open" experience. Support for this feature is set to arrive first for The Clarion Hotel Post in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.