Empty Your Wallet

Submitted by Guy Williams on June 18, 2019

Most of us carry cash, credit cards and our driver’s license in our wallet. With today’s technology, you can now lighten your wallet and soon won’t even need to carry a wallet.

In May 2018, Louisiana became one of the first states to allow a digital representation of your already-issued state ID or driver’s license to be official for legal usage for driving purposes and alcohol and tobacco purchases. What this means is that you can download the LA Wallet app and, in a few minutes, have your Louisiana driver’s license on your Android phone, iPhone, iPad or iTouch device.

The enrollment process is easy. Simply download the LA Wallet Android or Apple iOS app from your device’s app store and follow the directions. It took me less than five minutes to complete the whole process.

There is no need to carry an actual license when driving or purchasing alcohol and tobacco at bars, restaurants, retail stores, etc. A new Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco rule enacted in January authorizes retailers and establishments to accept the Louisiana digital driver’s license, LA Wallet, when verifying age and identity. However, drivers, at least for now, must still carry a hard copy because even though state police are already on board with adopting the digital license as a valid ID, other involved state agencies are still working to adopt the digital system. Official acceptance by TSA is pending approval.

The app was free from the state from last summer until May 31 of this year. The cost is now $5.99 for the life of your current driver’s license. Even with paying the small fee, the convenience and safety of a digital ID make the cost reasonable compared to the benefit. If a driver updates their address, for instance, the app will notify them and they will not need to purchase a new digital license. They will simply need to unlink and relink their license.

A recommendation is that with the amount of sensitive information now on your phone; use either facial recognition or a thumbprint to unlock the phone. If you insist on a password, pick one that is hard to guess. It is also a good idea to back up your phone data to the Cloud. Android devices back up to the Google Cloud and Apple devices to the iCloud. A back up once a month is a good idea or more frequently if you use your phone to store a lot of information.

LA Wallet was designed by Louisiana State Police, the Department of Public Safety, and the Office of Motor Vehicles and the developer, Envoc, is a Louisiana-based firm and the entire development team was made up of graduates of Louisiana universities.

We often hear that Louisiana is not a progressive state, but in the case of digital wallets, we are among the first to implement this technology. Congratulations to the state legislature for enacting Louisiana law of Act of 625 of the 2016 session, to enable this great innovation.