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Google Wallet for Android now supports digital IDs

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A Maryland digital ID.

Enlarge / A Maryland digital ID. (credit: Google)

Google Wallet on Android is finally getting ready for your digital driver's license and other US state IDs. Google says the feature is rolling out this month, and it will slowly start bringing states online this year. Of course, your state has to be one of the few that actually supports digital IDs. Google says Maryland residents can use the feature right now and that "in the coming months, residents of Arizona, Colorado and Georgia will join them."

The road to digital driver's license support has been a long one, with the "Identity Credential API" landing in Android 11 in 2020. Since then, it has technically been possible for states to make their own ID app. Now Google Wallet, Google's re-re-reboot of its payment app, is providing a first-party way to store an ID on your phone. Some parts of the Identity Credential API landed in Google Play Services (Google's version-agnostic brick of APIs), so Wallet supports digital IDs going back to Android 8.0, which covers about 90 percent of Android devices.

Maryland has supported Digital IDs on iOS for a while, which gives us an idea of how this will work. An NFC transfer is enough to beam your credentials to someone, where you can just tap against a special NFC ID terminal and confirm the transfer with your fingerprint. Wallet has an NFC option, along with a "Show code" option that will show the traditional driver's license barcode.

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