Just Flash Your Phone with Digital Driver’s License

Just Flash Your Phone with Digital Driver’s License

Two trend-setting states are hoping to bring app-based licenses to the masses

Janet Burns
  • 4 february 2015

While various tech companies are struggling for dominance in the mobile payment and wallet industry, several governments are also hoping to cash in on the convenience of phones-as-documents. Recently announced, the state of Delaware is hoping to be the first in the nation to equip its citizens with digital drivers licenses, allowing them to leave their hard copies at home.

Earlier this month, the state’s senate adopted a resolution allowing the Delaware DMV to study the benefits and processes involved in implementing a platform for digital driver’s licenses to supplement physical ones. “We’d like to go first,” said Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles director Jennifer Cohan to Delaware Online. “If it works for Delaware, then it will be a new option for Delaware citizens to show proof of driver’s license and identification.”

In December of 2014, the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa also hopes to lead the race to digital in-state identification and began developing the concept for a digital license mobile app two years ago. Iowa Department of Transportation Director Paul Trombino announced last month that the free app will be available in 2015 or early 2016, and noted that his office is “really moving forward on this.” He described the digital license as “an identity vault app,” one which will be accepted at Iowa traffic stops and airports, and “basically [be] your license on your phone.”

iowa digital driver license

Pilot and development programs in Iowa and Delaware are being crafted with support from MorphoTrust USA, a vendor supplying identification and security services to a total of 42 U.S. states. Jenny Openshaw, the company’s vice president for state and local sales, said,

It’s an idea whose time has come. Smartphones are becoming more and more a digital wallet. Eventually, the last piece of plastic I need to carry around with me is a driver’s license.

Recently, various government organizations have been taking steps toward streamlining identification procedures. In 2012, MorphoTrust USA partnered with Delaware to install license- and ID card-renewal kiosks to speed the state’s customer service in this process. As Digital Trends reported, Ireland residents will also be able to simplify their identification process soon. With a “passport-style” ID card using a person’s chosen (but non-edited) selfie for its picture, users will be able to travel within the EU while leaving physical passports at home.


+Delaware DMV
+Des Moines Register
+MorphoTrust USA
+Paul Trombino

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