In the midst of the digital age, carrying physical identity documents with you is still mandatory. At least for the most part, since there are exceptions such as the miDGT app to have the driver’s license on the mobile and even carry the vehicle’s registration certificate. Because, the European Union is trying to promote a universal app which would be a kind of digital wallet.
However, and despite the fact that the European app is about to begin its tests, it is still impossible to carry certain documents on the mobile. Because no, taking a photo of the card is not valid. We review therefore everything that is known about this universal app and when it could officially reach countries like Spain, since its idea is that it be universal for all EU member states.
The (so far) failed Spanish app for the DNI
It is worth starting by talking about ID 4.0, which is the new physical model of the Spanish identity document that is identical to that of the rest of the member countries of the European Union. It came after the failure of DNI 3.0, also known as electronic DNI, in order to precisely promote its implementation in the digital field.
Thus, in November 2020 the start of development of the app was announced that will allow us to carry the DNI on our mobile. The initial idea was that at the beginning of 2022 it would already be launched, but a year after that date, The development of this app continues. In a recent contact with the National Police, who are the ones behind the project, they confirmed that there is currently no estimated deadline. Not at least for this data to be public.
However, and despite the fact that the sources consulted do not confirm it, it would not be unreasonable to think that This app could have stopped its development due to the progress of the European app. And it is that in the end that other application would cannibalize the Spanish one, since it will not only bring together the DNI, but also many other documents.
The European Union announced the digital wallet in 2021
Europe is no stranger to living in the digital age and that is why in mid-2021 they announced that they were going to start a digital wallet project. The idea at that time was to being able to bring together all our documents in a single app and protected by biometric sensors such as the fingerprint reader or facial recognition (here the mobile hardware would have a lot to say).
Within this application we would find the possibility of carrying documents such as ID and driver’s licensebut also a secure server in which to store our passwords. Although if there is something striking as far as the app’s functions are concerned, it is that it was intended (and continues to be intended) to create a secure payment system to Google Pay.
And all this under the premise of privacy. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, assured that the intention of creating a payment platform was precisely to prevent citizens “from being forced to provide more data than is necessary for a given purpose.” And she gave as examples particular cases such as paying taxes or even renting a bicycle.
The wallet app is already in testing
As you can already imagine when faced with a project of this caliber, it is one thing to announce it, and another to fine-tune it. Thus we arrive at this 2023 in which it has been announced an app pilot which will allow some European users to start testing it.
This first test app comes from the NOBID Consortium, which stands for Nordic-Baltic eID Project. And it is that there are several countries associated in it; Germany, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Latvia and Norway. Only in these places, and as of March of this year, select users will be able to download the app on their mobile phones and test its operation.
This app is promoted by several technology companies and brings together exactly what was expected: a document manager and a payment infrastructure. It has the support of several banks in the respective countries in which it will be tested.
It is expected that it will end up moving forward, but Europe will have the last word
It is still too soon to predict what will happen with this app. Not in vain, the test that will begin in March will serve in large part to find out if it can have a long run, as well as optimize the user experience to the maximum and prevent it from containing errors in the event of reaching the large European public. Nevertheless, it is not definitive that it will be launched. And if he does, it won’t be immediately.
The idea is that in 2024 the European Union assesses its global implementation (within member states, of course). The European Council has already accepted the proposal for the application, although it is emphasized that they comply with all regulations in terms of privacy.
In any case, it is positive that progress like this is taking place. Although physical documents seem far from disappearing, and in fact it would not be positive if we take into account possible losses or breakdowns of mobile phones, it will be an interesting value in order to be able to identify us and pay more quickly and safely in various situations. And all from a single app and as accessible as recognizing our fingerprint or entering a secret code.
Cover Image | NOBID Consortium