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Can You Rent A Car With A Digital Driver’s License?

by SharonKurheg

In a world where everything is becoming electronic, it was no surprise when Apple and Google launched their respective versions of electronic wallets. Google Wallet and Apple Wallet are both touted as secure and private digital wallets that give you quick access to payment cards, passes, tickets, etc. As a user of Apple Wallet, I can also say that electronic wallets are VERY convenient!

Both “flavors” of wallets also allow you to store your driver’s license in states that allow such technology. Right now 2 states support that feature:

  • Arizona’s Mobile ID (mID)
  • Maryland (only available for Apple Wallet as of this writing, but expected to join Google Wallet soon)

On top of that, a few states have also launched their own versions of apps that support electronic versions of their residents’ driver’s licenses. They’re not compatible with Apple or Google Wallet, but they’re legit, all the same.

Depending upon what media outlet you read, somewhere between 20 and 30 other states are in the midst of working on digital driver’s licenses, as well.

Arizona and Maryland’s residents who have electronic driver’s licenses in Apple Wallets and Google Wallets can use them at a handful of TSA security checkpoints that are doing field assessments at these pilot airports (you can go to this page to see updates):

  • Baltimore/Washington International Airport (BWI)
  • Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Gulfport Biloxi International Airport (GPT)
  • Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport (JAN)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Their use in other circumstances (proof of age to buy alcohol, or if you’re stopped by the police, for example) varies from state to state, and, in the latter case, from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

But if electronic driver’s licenses are becoming “good enough” for the TSA, they should be good enough for renting a car, right? I mean, it would make sense that car rental companies would be fine with you showing an electronic copy of your driver’s license if you have an authorized one, right?

Not at this time. Here’s what each major car rental company says about digital driver’s licenses to rent a car:

  • Alamo – Digital licenses are not accepted.
  • Avis – Avis does not accept digital driver’s licenses for rental. Please bring a hard copy of your drivers licensee at the time of rental.
  • Budget – Budget does not accept digital driver’s licenses for rental. Please bring a hard copy of your drivers licensee at the time of rental.
  • Dollar – A mobile or digital driver’s license does not replace a valid physical driver’s license and Dollar customers will still need to supply their hard copy license until further notice.
  • Enterprise – Digital licenses are not accepted.
  • Fox Rent A Car – Fox doesn’t mention digital driver’s licenses anywhere on their website. It just says “valid drivers license.”
  • Hertz – A mobile or digital driver’s license does not replace a valid physical driver’s license and Hertz customers will still need to supply their hard copy license until further notice.
  • National – Digital licenses are not accepted.
  • Payless – The Payless site based in the U.S. doesn’t mention digital drivers licenses. However their Costa Rica presence states that digital or temporary licenses are not accepted.
  • Sixt -Sixt doesn’t mention digital driver’s licenses anywhere on their website. It just says “valid drivers license.”
  • Thrifty – A mobile or digital driver’s license does not replace a valid physical driver’s license and Thrifty customers will still need to supply their hard copy license until further notice.

To be sure, as digital drivers licenses become more the norm, and are accepted by a wider variety of legit entities, I’m sure that car rental companies will accept them too. But until then, if you have an authorized copy of your drivers license on your phone, make sure to bring a hard copy too, if you’re renting a car in the U.S.

Feature Photo: Utah.gov

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