Home My phone is my digital wallet

My phone is my digital wallet

I left my wallet at home today but I remembered my phone. That got me thinking. Why can't my phone be my wallet? I have too much crap in my wallet. Credit cards, shopping cards, health cards, drivers license, social security info, etc, etc. I propose a new ID system that lives on your phone. Here's a picture:

Your ID lives on your phone

The idea is to allow your physical cards to live in your digital world. Here are the main advantages:

  • Works on any device with a display (color or B&W) no need for bluetooth, RFID or other radios.
  • Each ID is independant so your privacy and security isn't compromised. This isn't a universal ID, each ID is seperate so your privacy is secure but since it is digital it's easy to find the one you need
  • Cards can be read optically with existing bar-code scanners.
  • Cards can auto-expire so if someone steals your card they only have a set time to use it. So you don't have to worry about using it on the internet.
  • Since each time you use it it's unique it's very difficult cryptographically to forge a card that's valid.
  • Since it's digital and has an internet connection if you loose your phone you could use a secure website to close off access to all your cards at once.
  • Use the 'i' to flip the card over and see the CCV code if needed.
  • If your phone does have bluetooth or RFID you could show on-screen prompts to confirm a purchase at a point of sale.
  • Since RFID and bluetooth aren't the primary mechanism you can't steal someones credit card wirelessly the way you can with other touch and tap cards.


  • Existing stores aren't setup to read/swipe an optical card and may require updated hardware or software
  • You would need a seperate solution for cash. How do you deal with physical money?
  • Adding new cards to your digital wallet may be complex, idealy new cards could be emailed to you or snapped with a digital camera.
  • What do you do with cards that won't go digital? Do you still need a wallet or do you just ignore those? State and local goverments are likely to drag their feet on digital liscenses, social security cards, passports and other similar goverment issue ID's could hold such an idea back.
This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.