The EU plans a digital wallet for payments, passwords and IDs

It'll let citizens access a range of private and public services.

Johanna Geron / reuters

The European Union (EU) is getting ready to unveil a digital wallet that will allow citizens in the bloc to store payments details and passwords, the Financial Times has reported. The app will also allow members in all 27 countries to store official documents like a driver's license and access various private and public services with a single online ID.

Up until now, individual EU member states have issued their own digital IDs, but not all are compatible and take-up is relatively low at just 19 countries. With the pandemic forcing a lot of folks online, the EU will promote the idea of a bloc-wide ID as a way to access public and private services more easily.

Users will reportedly be able to open the app via fingerprint or retina scanning, though final details are not yet nailed down. The digital wallet will not be compulsory, but it will supposedly offer citizens greater digital security and flexibility. To protect privacy, the EU will prevent companies from using any data gleaned from the IDs for marketing and other commercial activities.

As an example, you'd be able to use your digital wallet to rent a car remotely through applications that could verify your identity and issue an electronic key so you could drive away without waiting in line. The process would be “simple, secure and it will protect people online," according to the FT's sources. The EU plans to roll out the new system in about a year.