Google’s Wallet app is adding support insurance cards, driver’s licenses and more

Photo illustration by Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The digital wallets available on iPhones and Android phones are designed to replace physical wallets, which can often be overloaded with cards, passes and other items. But these digital wallets typically only support certain types of content. Now Google is looking to expand its Wallet app to accept and store more types of information.

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In a blog post released Thursday, Jenny Cheng, vice president and general manager of Google Wallet, revealed some of the new features for the company’s digital wallet app. These include support for barcode or QR code passes, health cards, driver’s licenses, transit cards, and corporate IDs

Add cards with barcodes or QR codes

To explain how Google Wallet will handle multiple types of memberships, Cheng used the example of a gym membership that normally can’t be added to the app. But because the card has a barcode, Wallet users will soon be able to snap a picture of it and create a secure digital version. This new option will work for any card or pass that has a barcode or QR code, such as transit tickets, parking passes, and even e-commerce product return codes.

Add insurance cards

A health card is another item we all slip into our physical wallets. To ease this burden, Google and Humana are developing a digital version of the insurance card that can be added to the Wallet app. In the UK, Android users will be able to store their social security number in Google Wallet from within the HMRC app.

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Also, a health card can be saved in Wallet as a private pass. Such passages are labeled as private because they contain sensitive data. To thwart unauthorized access, you’ll need to use a PIN or fingerprint recognition as verification every time you want to add, view, or use an insurance card or other type of private pass.

Add driver’s licenses

Google is also expanding its Wallet app to better support driver’s licenses, according to Cheng. Starting now, people in Maryland can add their ID to Google Wallet on any phone running Android 8 or later. Such IDs can be presented at the TSA PreCheck lines at select airports. In the coming months, residents of Arizona, Colorado and Georgia will be able to do the same. Later this year, Google will allow you to use your ID in Wallet to manage other tasks, such as booking a car and verifying an account online.

Save steps from Messages to Wallet

There will also be a way to transfer boarding passes and tickets from the Messages app to Wallet soon. To do this, you will be able to complete the travel check-in steps via the Google Messages app with RCS enabled. You will then receive your boarding pass or train ticket directly in Messages from where you can save it in the Wallet app. This option will kick off with Vietnam Airlines and Spanish train operator Renfe. As a further use of this feature, restaurants will be able to send reservation information to customers, which they can then transfer to Wallet.

Use transit passes

As another improvement, Google is working on allowing more people to save local transit passes in the Wallet app. Currently, German citizens can save a Deutschlandticket purchased at some public transport agencies in their Wallet and use it at all public transport stations in the country.

Save your company ID

Finally, Google Wallet support is on the way for company badges that would allow employees to use the Wallet app to access buildings, cafeterias and other areas.

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Google didn’t provide a specific timeframe for these new features to roll out, other than to say that most of them will be arriving soon. To experience the latest developments when they’re released, you need to set up Google Wallet, which is already installed and available on Android devices. If needed, you can download and install the app from Google Play.

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