The DMV launched the New York Mobile ID, an app allowing users to store their IDs on their smartphones. NewsdayTV's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: NewsdayTV; Ed Quinn

An app launched Tuesday by the Department of Motor Vehicles offers New Yorkers the option of putting their driver's license where their bank and credit cards increasingly are — on smartphones.

The New York Mobile ID, which is available free to download on all iOS and Android devices, also stores state-issued learner permits or nondriver IDs.

In a statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul said the app provides “convenience and added security.”

The app is acceptable for security screening at selected airports nationwide, the DMV said, and for identification purposes at venues that opt into the program, such as nightclubs, banks and hospitals, among other locations.

Similar to functions available to sign in on a smartphone, or apps to access online financial services, Mobile ID uses facial recognition technology.

“Everything is on your cell phone these days, and now, your ID can be too,” said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder in a statement. “This is an exciting way to provide identification without having to dig through your wallet or purse to find your physical document. Rather than handing over your physical ID with lots of personal information, the Mobile ID gives you greater control over what personal data you share.”

Kennedy and LaGuardia airports accept the ID at all Transportation Security Administration security checkpoints, officials said, along with nearly 30 more airports nationwide.

The app version of a New York resident's state-issued ID is not a replacement for a physical version, the DMV said, cautioning users to carry one when they travel.

Travelers would be wise to take the DMV's advice, said Alec Slatky, director of public and government affairs for AAA Northeast.

“The main thing that I would take away as a traveler is that you still need your physical license,” Slatky said. “Make sure you still have that license in your pocket or your passport if you're going internationally, because you don't want to end up in a situation where you think you're covered but you're not.”

Users are required to take a photograph of their physical ID in the app, which then does a quick scan of their face to verify their identity to complete the process. When users next open the app, they can see their ID number, photo, name, issue and expiration dates and the class.

Users can also set up a PIN number to unlock the app and prevent others from having access. 

At a TSA checkpoint, travelers can open the app and press the “Share Identity” icon, which will display a QR code on the screen. Travelers then place their phone on the TSA scanner to share their ID information while a separate TSA camera takes a photo of the traveler in real time.

“The photos that we take only run in the machine for the purposes of verifying the credentials on your phone and your identity," said Robert Duffy, the TSA’s federal security director at LaGuardia Airport.

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