Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Service NSW Digital Driver License (DDL)

NSW rolls out digital licenses

The plastic card that proves who you are to police is making the transition to digital, but you may still want to keep that old card with you.

It’s no secret that your phone is capable of some seriously impressive features these days, from surfing the web as well as your laptop to taking the place of a camera or video game system, and even using it as a makeshift desktop computer depending on how you plug peripherals in.

In fact, it’s very possible that you can already make a dent in the cards held in a wallet or purse, dependent on the phone you have, of course.

Apple’s iPhone range supports Apple Pay, many of Samsung’s phones support Samsung Pay, and there are quite a few Android phones with Google Pay support onboard (including those aforementioned Samsung phones), and these can be equipped with digital versions of bank cards. Of course, banks need to play a part, and not all do, but it is gradually changing.

The same is true with store cards, because those are coming to the various wallets about town, as well.

But what about your driver’s licence? If you wanted to kill your wallet once and for all, could you remove the card from your life and just go totally phone.

Service NSW introduces the Digital Driver Licence

After some testing, NSW is joining South Australia with support for a Digital Driver Licence, which is basically an app that connects to the Service NSW system and provides a digital representation of your licence on a phone.

It’s available on Android and iOS, so if you’re still using Windows Phone or some other operating system, it might be time to upgrade if you want the digital licence and you’re living in NSW.

Using the app is as simple as registering with Service NSW, connecting the service with your driver licence details, and having the system download those details.

Your details include that picture you were never proud of on your licence, your information, and even a QR code that businesses may be able to scan in, plus an emulation of a reflective logo to make it more licence-y.

At its launch, the Service NSW app is having a few difficulties, likely from demand, so if it doesn’t connect through immediately, you may want to try again later. However, you also may want to keep your card with you just the same, at least for the moment, especially if you plan to travel to places that may not accept a digital licence.

Service NSW Digital Driver License (DDL)

Digital licences are accepted in NSW, but not everywhere

Service NSW has advised that the Digital Driver Licence is “optional and doesn’t replace the plastic card”, meaning your regular plastic licence is still the main thing that matters. With that in mind, we’d keep it with you, and it may not be accepted in other states or overseas.

Go somewhere where the digital licence isn’t accepted, and you may get into trouble for presenting it and not presenting that card. Digital licences aren’t at the point where they’re in use by everyone in every location, evident from there being only two states in Australia that have them.

In fact, if you go somewhere and your phone doesn’t have enough charge to see it, or is broken and can’t display the licence properly, it may not be accepted at all. That means you may not want to stop carrying your licence altogether, at least not yet.

Back in NSW, if you have Service NSW says it “is accepted by most pubs and clubs, and NSW Police”. However it advises that it is illegal to access your digital licence while driving including while stopped, because it’s illegal to use your phone when in a card, so if you get pulled over, only reach for your phone’s digital licence if a police officer asks you to do so.

Frankly we’d just keep that card with you for now, because it seems it might not be replaceable just yet.

Service NSW Digital Driver License (DDL)
Credit: Service NSW
Read next