The Maldives digital ID drives multi-application to the next level

Want to see the future of multiple application digital IDs? Aim your gaze at a tiny spot in the Indian Ocean, where the Maldives, an island country known more for exotic tourism than technological advancement, is moving forward with one of the most innovative digital ID projects in the world.

The new card is also a Mastercard-branded payment card made of polycarbonate material that can last up to 10 years

The goal of the push? To reduce the number of cards that the island republic’s approximately 430,000 citizens must carry with them, according to Dermalog, a Germany-based vendor involved with the digital and national ID project. Dubbed the “Passport Card,” the recently introduced ID document has the following capabilities, according to the technology vendor, which worked on the project with the country’s immigration service:

  • National ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Health card
  • Insurance card
  • Payments card. The key here is durability, Dermalog says. “Today most bank cards have a durability of a maximum of three years. The new card is the world´s first bank card which is made of polycarbonate material that can last up to 10 years,” the vendor explains. “Furthermore, it contains a dual-interface chip for contactless and contact card reading. The new card is certified by the Bank of Maldives as well as by Mastercard, allowing the card to be used internationally like any other Mastercard.”
  • Passport card. The new digital and national ID for the Maldives meets “all international standards of a modern passport,” Dermalog says, and contains mathematical representations of “10 fingerprints for secure verification,” according to Dermalog CEO Gunther Mull.

Maldives digital ID can lead to more interoperability

The scope of the new multi-application Maldives digital ID card provides the possibility of even more use and interoperability, says Mohamed Anwar, the country’s controller general of immigration. “The door is open for many other government departments and private companies to use our new Passport Card in the future” he says.

Further details about the pace of card deployment and other issues were not immediately available. But the new Maldives digital ID fits within an ongoing trend of outfitting smaller countries in Africa and Asia with multi-application cards that citizens can use for travel, payments and verifying identity. For instance, the West African nation of Ghana recently has started to deploy a digital ID project that citizens can use to access online government services, digitally sign documents and travel neighboring countries. Ghana also plans to enable financial transactions via the cards.


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