The paper counterpart (left), abolished last year, could be replaced by an app (right)
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is working on a prototype iPhone app that will let drivers store their driving licence in their Apple Wallet.
DVLA chief executive Oliver Morley posted an image on Twitter to show what the new app would look like and confirmed it was in development.
Morley said there is no timeline for when drivers can expect the app to be launched and insisted it would be an add-on, rather than a replacement for the photocard.
Morley told his Twitter followers that development of the app has been made possible due to the paper counterpart being scrapped.
He said security would remain a “priority”.
A DVLA spokesman told Autocar: “The driving licence app is also being developed for Android and other mobile platforms. We couldn’t launch something and it not be available across all mobile platforms.
“This is all still in the early stages of development and it is just a prototype at this point, so there’s no commitment from us that it will launch.
“Oliver wanted to use the post on Twitter as a way of sharing the latest things we’re working on with drivers.”
If the app is launched, it could mean motorists will not only have access to their licence for booking hire cars, or to show to police, but it could also be used as a form of ID.
Terry Hiles, commercial boss from licence checking firm Licence Check, said: “It’s a good idea in terms of saving people time looking for the card or using the app as a form of ID.
“However, a mobile phone is as open to being stolen as a card and the good thing about the card is that it will never run out of battery.”
Hiles said it was possible a digital licence app in the future could also include licence history and endorsement information, but that would open up the service to an even higher level of security scrutiny.
The DVLA’s latest digital project includes trialling a new online enforcement penalty payment system which is currently in private beta with over 1,200 people.
At the moment, drivers who get a penalty because they haven’t taxed their vehicle or declared it off the road (SORN) can only pay their fine by calling its contact centre, or by sending a cheque or postal order.
The DVLA said a public beta of the online fine payment system is expected to launch soon.
The organisation abolished the driving licence paper counterpart on 8 June last year as part of its plan to digitise motorists’ records to save “millions of pounds” in reissuing costs.