This weekend I was listening to California attorney David Sparks and Florida attorney Katie Floyd on their great podcast Mac Power Users. They were discussing the 1Password app, which is one of those rare apps that has completely changed how I use my iPhone, iPad and computer and which I recommend to everyone. (My review is here.) 1Password makes it easy to have different, complex passwords without you needing to worry about remembering them, plus it also provides a secure vault on your iPhone (synced with your iPad and your computers) in which you can store any confidential information that you want — personal medical information, sensitive information related to your representation of a client, the password for the Wi-Fi at your Mom's house, etc.
Katie Floyd mentioned one tip on the podcast that I thought was brilliant, and now I see that she blogged about it last year: creating a digital wallet. The idea is to scan the front and back of all of the important cards that you keep in your wallet such as your driver's license, credit cards, medical cards, car insurance, etc. You can use a scanner if you have one attached to your computer, or just take pictures of your cards with your iPhone and sync those to your computer. You are likely to have entries in 1Password for all of those items anyway (create one if you don't) and then attach the images as file attachments for each entry. Note that you need to use 1Password on your Mac or PC to add attachments; the current version of the iPhone and iPad apps can view attachments but cannot add them.
Because these images are stored in 1Password, they are incredibly secure, so you don't need to worry about someone picking up your iPhone and looking at all of your card images. Indeed, those images in 1Password are going to be much, much more secure than the cards in your wallet which could be swiped by a pickpocket.
Next, create a folder in 1Password called Wallet. Finally, go to each of your entries to which you have attached an image from your wallet and tap the button at the top to add a shortcut to the entry in your Wallet folder.
Once you have created this digital wallet, if you ever lose your real wallet, you have easy access to a copy of every important card that was in your real wallet in the digital wallet folder within 1Password on your iPhone and iPad and computer. Plus, just looking at the list of items in the Wallet folder will remind you of what was in your wallet. Depending upon the card, the image may or may not be sufficient to use in lieu of the card, but at least you will have all of the information on the card, and having the images will help you to replace your lost cards quickly. For example, the back of credit cards will tell you the number to call to replace a lost card.
After I heard this tip, I immediately went to my computer and scanner and did the same thing. The whole process took me only about 20 minutes, and most of that time was because I was trying to be fancy and put the front and back of the cards in a single file. That wasn't really necessary because 1Password lets you attach multiple files to a single entry.
Thanks to Katie and David for the useful tip. If you use 1Password, I encourage you to create your own digital wallet. And if you don't use 1Password or another password management app, now you have yet another reason to do so.