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You'll soon be able to add digital vaccine cards to Apple's mobile Wallet

Sept. 22, 2021
3 min read
You'll soon be able to add digital vaccine cards to Apple's mobile Wallet
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Update 10/25/21: Apple has released iOS 15.1 with support for digital vaccine cards.


It’s shaping up to be a busy week for Apple.

On Monday, the tech giant released its latest slew of software updates for iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches that are packed with travel-friendly features. Later this week, on Friday, the company’s hottest new products, including the iPhone 13 lineup, along with a new iPad and iPad mini, will hit the shelves.

And if that wasn’t enough, Apple just unveiled another enhancement coming to iPhones that could streamline the pandemic-era travel experience. In an upcoming software update, iPhone users will be able to add their COVID-19 vaccination records as a card in the Wallet app, according to an update posted to the company’s developer website.

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(Image courtesy of Apple)

Once stored in the mobile wallet, these verifiable records can be used as proof of a completed dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, instead of carrying around the paper-based vaccination certificate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With Apple’s Wallet integration, it’ll be easier than ever to quickly show your digital vaccine card as you enter a place of business, like a gym, restaurant, airport lounge or even a hotel, that requires one.

In fact, I recently attended the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, New York, which required all spectators aged 12 and older to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. The lines to enter the venue were noticeably longer than before the pandemic, primarily because of bottlenecks with vaccine verification. If Apple’s digital solution takes off, it could help streamline this entire process.

Lines to enter the U.S. Open were longer than usual due to vaccine verification. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Apple is relying on the SMART Health Cards specification to verify your vaccine information, which as of press time, is only being used by health agencies in four states: California, Louisiana, New York and select locations in Maryland. Additionally, if you were vaccinated at a Walmart, Sam’s Club or CVS Health pharmacy, your vaccine information is likely stored in the SMART Health Card system. You can find a full list of participating providers here.

For now, Apple is currently testing the Wallet integration in a beta build of iOS 15.1. There’s no timeline available yet for when the feature will roll out, but we’ll be sure to update this post when it goes live. In the meantime, you can download and store your COVID-19 vaccination info and other verifiable health records, including test results, in the Health app if you’ve upgraded to iOS 15.0.

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This isn’t the only travel-focused upgrade coming to Apple’s Wallet app. Later this year, you’ll be able to add a digital version of your driver’s license or state ID to the app. After authenticating via Face ID or Touch ID, your digital ID will be accepted at TSA airport checkpoints.

(Image courtesy of Apple)

The first states partnering with Apple on digital IDs were recently unveiled. Those in Arizona and Georgia will be able to add their documents first, with the service rolling out to customers in Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah soon.

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of Apple)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
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Annual Fee

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Recommended Credit

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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees