Although the wallet isn’t intended for payments, it will still greatly expand digital commerce possibilities across Europe as identity verification processes get quicker, simpler and more secure.
On June 3, the European Commission revealed their plans for a European Union wide digital identity wallet to enable citizens to quickly, easily, and securely access public and private services through their mobile devices.
The European digital identity wallet will be an app that EU citizens download to their smartphones to store digital identification forms and official documents, such as a driver’s license, ID card, or bank account information.
Several European member states already have official digital identity verification systems in place. However, the proposed European digital identity wallet would be used across the entire bloc, would be optional to use, and would not replace existing systems. Currently, around 60 percent of Europeans can use their national e-ID across borders.
Once approved, the official wallet will make identification more accessible and secure for all member states. The European Commission aims to have 80% of citizens using the wallet by 2030.
Can you use the official European Digital Identity Wallet for payments?
No, you will not be able to use the official European Digital Identity Wallet for payments.
In reviewing the available documentation around the wallet and its uses, there’s currently no mention of the wallet being able to carry a balance or make payments. It is not a digital wallet in the same sense as more well-known consumer wallets like Paypal, Apple Pay or AliPay. However, EU countries have until 2022 to finalize wallet details, so it is possible that certain functionalities and features could change.
What does the future look like for Europe’s Digital Identity Wallet?
Although the wallet isn’t intended for payments, it will still greatly expand digital commerce possibilities. Think of how many of your important transactions rely on ID verification, whether it’s booking airline tickets, signing up for university classes, or even applying for a loan from a bank. These processes will all get quicker, simpler and more secure with the digital wallet.
Just as Asian super app’s like Grab in Singapore and WeChat in China started with simple apps that expanded their services, so too can companies grow their businesses across Europe. The widespread adoption of a secure, internationally recognized digital wallet will reveal new opportunities for ecommerce and online businesses to provide more fintech services. While the specifics of the European Digital Identity Wallet are still being decided, what’s certain is that government services will be easier and more convenient to access and countless new business opportunities will be unlocked across the European Union.
European Commission. 2021. “Digital Identity for all Europeans.” https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/european-digital-identity_en.
European Commission. 2021. “A trusted and secure European e-ID – Evaluation of the Regulation.”https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/library/trusted-and-secure-european-e-id-evaluation-regulation
The EU Observer. “First glimpse of EU’s new ‘digital identity wallet.’” 2021.https://euobserver.com/news/152042
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