We still, however, carry around a lot of plastic cards. Loyalty cards have been eroded somewhat by apps. Coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts already have widely deployed and used apps for payment. Some fast food chains use apps for payment as well. Apple Pay is dominating in the digital wallet realm.
But there is still that problem of legal identification. While, at least in theory, you are not legally required to possess or carry identification in most of the United States, in practice, if you want to buy or consume alcohol and/or drive a car, you're going to need some ID. I don't expect passports to become digital any time soon (altho they have acquired an RFID chip), there is the possibility that driver's licenses/state ids will acquire a virtual version some time soon. There are already circumstances where a picture will do just as well (ordering groceries online including alcohol, for example, usually happy to accept a picture of a driver's license, as is WDW when it comes to getting a Florida specific ticket), but what about for truly official purposes, such as a traffic stop?
Maybe. There was some real optimism on the Iowa digital driver's license, but they've gotten a bit more cautious.
"The DOT had set a release for the app on both iOS and Android in early 2015. However, it may not hit that mark due to several concerns, including privacy."
The idea is it would be nice to put the license up but keep the phone locked so the police officer couldn't go looking around and seeing what else you've been up to.
Currently, I use a Speck phone case, to store my driver's license and a couple other cards on my phone. (I used to keep a $20, but I don't any more.) The idea was that if I left the house with just the phone, I'd still be legal to drive and able to acquire. But more or less as soon as I got that case and started thinking in those terms, I started really, really, really wanting the phone to just _be_ those cards. Apple Pay is only going to get me partway there. It isn't going to get me cash at the ATM. And it won't do me any good at a traffic stop, or at airport security.
I feel confident that this _will_ happen. But I'm having a hard time convincing myself it will happen in less than 2 years. Maybe by 5? And probably much sooner in some states than in others.
NPR coverage suggests Iowa may get this done in a year or two. Other sites from December say they hope to have a prototype working in 6 months.
I was fascinated by how rare paper receipts are in Seattle when I went there last December. They are still everywhere in Boston Metro.
Virtualizing ID and keys would make a big difference to me. It's hard to imagine I'm the only one.