Google Wallet beta adds support for driver’s licenses — what you need to know

Google wallet icon on blue background in corner of phone screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google and Apple are doing their very best to empty out your pockets and integrate those things into your phone. Credit cards and digital car keys are already available on both platforms, and now Google is following in Apple’s example by adding state IDs to Google Wallet.

This news was previously announced at Google I/O back in May, and now Google has just launched a new beta test for residents of Maryland. This allows them to add a “Digital Driver’s License” to Google Wallet on certain Android phones. 

According to Google’s support page this feature is available for users that are part of the Google Play Services beta (version 48.22) and have a phone running Android 8.0 or later. Google’s support page also notes that Bluetooth and Nearby Devices must be switched on, and users will need to set some form of screen lock for added security. 

Adding the ID is as simple as heading to Google Wallet, hitting Add to Wallet, then ID card and following the on-screen instructions.

According to The Verge this feature works on Google Pixels, as expected, and appears to work on devices like the Samsung Galaxy S20. Sadly, since we are not part of the Play Services beta, we can’t verify that ourselves. The beta is also full, so if you’re not already a part of it you’ll just have to wait for the wider rollout.

Anyone that remembers the launch of Apple’s digital ID will recall that Maryland was one of the first states to support the system. So it’s no surprise that the state has now partnered with Google to beta test the Android equivalent. While Google hasn’t said which other states and territories could be on the way, it’s possible that other early adopters like Arizona, Colorado, Ohio and others could soon be on board.

Google’s support page also confirms that the digital ID is accepted by the TSA at some supported airports. Presumably airports that accept Apple Wallet ID will be more inclined to accept Android as well. Those airports include the likes of Denver International, Miami International, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and more. A full list is available on the TSA website

However, since this feature is in beta and may not work as expected all the time, Google recommends keeping a physical ID on your person, so that way you can verify your identity, no matter what happens.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.