Humankind has marched through a few disruptive sea changes in the past couple of decades. As the last century came to a close we still used landline telephones, still subscribed to cable TV, and still carried our most prized personal information around in a billfold, wallet, bag, or backpack. Those were innocent times. Today, what lives on our smartphones has become more valuable.
Yet, here we are, moving rapidly into the 21st century and not only do I have an iPhone in my pocket, I still bulge with all the relics of yesteryear stuffed into my billfold. What’s in there that must be carried? A handful of credit cards, driver’s license, medical cards, health insurance cards, car insurance cards, and other cards I’m afraid to throw away even though I don’t really know what they do or if they’re valuable anymore.
The state of Delaware is testing a thing called mDL. Mobile Driver License. This is an idea whose time came a few years ago. Why can’t we take all those cards that get stuffed into billfolds and wallets and get them digitized for our smartphones. Apple’s new Texture app and News app for iOS gives us the best magazines and newspaper articles, and those take up much more space than a few credit cards, driver’s license, and other cards would require.
How safe would all those cards be on a smartphone?
Puhleeze. How safe is your credit card when you hand it to a waiter at a restaurant? Wallets get stolen and are easily opened. iPhones get stolen and it takes hackers and the F.B.I. to get them open.
What’s the problem? Why hasn’t this idea– put all those billfold and wallet cards into your smartphone– caught on?
For most of us, Apple has made iPhones far more secure than any physical container we carry around with us. Android smartphones are far less secure. Sure, the latest and greatest– Android Oreo– might be on similar security footing to iOS, but barely 1-percent of all Android devices run on Oreo while about 70-percent of all iOS device– perhaps a billion or so– have the latest version.
Don’t look to Delaware as the example of a rapid rollout. It’s in the testing phase now and just a few hundred state employees and others will have access to digital driver’s licenses on their smartphones. Yeah, kinks are kinks. Iron ’em out, folks, and move on. The future awaits.
I can purchase items using a credit card without carrying the credit card with me. Watch and iPhone can handle multiple credit cards with ease and the purchase process is simple and secure. What’s the problem? Not every merchant can handle such payment methods. For driver’s licenses, credit cards, insurance cards, and other paper and plastic that can be easily digitized, there is no uniform method for storage or acceptance.
We all know there should be no good reason why all we carry in billfolds and wallets can’t make to journey to a smartphone, but it could be the end of this century before it gets done.