Breaking news: it is no longer acceptable to carry your passport around as a form of regular ID. It’s not totally your fault that you think this is okay; despite major advances in technology, the most official form of identifying ourselves to authorities is still something that can be easily damaged or lost, and also doesn't fit the needs of our mobile-led society. Below are five reasons for keeping your passport where it should be: at home in a secure and protected location.
Passports are expensive to buy A standard adult first UK passport costs £72.50. Most would agree that this is a fair price for something that will allow you to travel the world (click here to see a ranking of the world’s ‘most powerful’ passports), but if it’s main use will be helping you to bust a move on the dance floor each week, then you should start saving now because…
Passports are expensive to replace Discount? What discount? If you’re one of the 270,000 people who need a replacement passport this year, then expect to pay the full £72.50 again. This suggests that the government pulls in around £19.5 million every year thanks to passport renewals/replacements - cha-ching! A word to the young and possibly inebriated: Around 40 per cent of the passports replaced each year belong to people in their twenties, with approximately 10,000 of those lost while on a night out in a bar or club.
Passports contain sensitive personal information Keep it secret, keep it safe. Your name, address and date of birth provide enough information for someone else to create another ‘you’. Yes, it’s that easy and yes, it’s happening a lot all over the world: The annual cost of repairing damage to people's online professional reputation alone is nearly £3.6bn, according to the latest Microsoft Computing Safety Index. In the event of theft, not only would you have to pay to replace your passport, you’d also possibly be helping someone else’s illegal activity.
Passports are inconveniently cumbersome Thanks in part to multiple, complex security features (including micro printing, holograms, UV features, laminates, computer chips and watermarks) the UK passport is a bulky passenger. It doesn't fit into a standard wallet, struggles to fit into a small night out purse and competes with hands, wallets and smartphones in our pockets. Being jammed into small places also leads to rapid wear and tear. The passport refuses to go the way of receipts, airline tickets and money; digital.
They don’t actually show the real you For a nation that took over one billion selfies in 2014, the standard UK passport has one terrifying feature: a photo of you that stays for ten years, no swapsies. Or rather, getting a new photo means paying the (yes, you guessed it) full amount of £72.50 for a whole new passport. The way you looked when you entered that photo booth in the local supermarket may not be the way you want to be perceived a year later; Adweek revealed that the average Facebook user changes their profile picture 18 times a year, according to how they wish to be identified by others. Why do we have to choose a passport image that doesn't change as we do? Why does Brian Wilson have to pay to look like himself?
So, what are the alternatives to a passport? Currently, the number one alternative in the UK is the driving licence. It’s cheaper (£34, if just for ID purposes), fits in your wallet/purse easily, and allows for more affordable moments of vanity (£14 to change the photo). However, there is still the danger of simple identity theft and, ultimately, it’s purpose is to confirm that the holder is allowed to drive, not to show age in an easily recognisable form. Frustrating for non-drivers and irritating for ID checkers who need to work out ages from dates of birth.
It’s time for things to improve. We need a form of identifying ourselves that is secure, mobile and takes advantage of advancements in technology to allow things like immediate photo updates. Yoti allows you to do all of this and, because we believe that the individual should control and own their identity data, it’s completely free for you to use, forever.
You can register to be the first to try our innovative new app here.
By Alex Harvey
Ask me anything: @alextharv