NSW COVID Check-in card for non-smartphone users

COVID Check-in card
Photo: SERVICE NSW/ Facebook

The NSW Government has introduced a plastic COVID Check-in card to help anyone without easy access to a smartphone to check in at a COVID safe business. Now, this is a huge problem for the thousands of NSW small businesses. Like takeaways, bakeries, newsagents, and general stores where a local simply pops in to get a paper or a coffee.

If customers don’t have a mobile phone, they must write their name, address and phone number on a paper sheet. The time-poor small business operator has to transcribe often unreadable information via a PC to a NSW COVID tracing website. And it is hard for the non-tech savvy to use a smartphone. Let alone access a QR code when they don’t have a QR reader or are in a mobile blackspot. Or remember to check out when they leave. The new COVID Check-in card allocates you a unique QR code that the small business can scan and automatically upload.

How to get a COVID Check-in card

First, remember that it is only for NSW residents. You need someone with access to an internet-connected computer, or you can go to Service NSW offices around the state.

Click on the Services NSW link here.

Your privacy is 100% guaranteed – after all, the NSW Government already has the information on you! The plastic card is posted, or a PDF is emailed to the address you nominate. You can download the card and print it out as well.

That is all the information you need – simple

Before you worry about the card being stolen, the QR code is encrypted and only means something to the COVID tracking website. No one can scan your card and get any details.

GadgetGuy’s take

This is another excellent use of technology to help the non-tech-savvy among us. It completely removes the issue of Check-in to pop down the shop for a paper and coffee and remembering to sign out.

The NSW COVID tracking app is also gaining more features, including allowing you to go back later to review check-out times to avoid calls when you were not at a COVID hotspot. The login period can also be extended up to four hours to avoid using FaceID or a PIN to get back into the app.

You can also read about downloading a COVID Vaccination passport here

  1. More than a year ago I pitched an idea to all the States and the Federal Govt that instead of COVIDSafe the Govt should issue NFC tags to all and deploy an app to all businesses, etc, to read them for the purposes of gathering contact tracing data. The app would read the encoded details and submit the checkin to a central server accessible buy all States and Territories.

    I named these cards “Community Cards” and apart from a UUID they’d have similar details as appears on Drivers Licences.

    Apart from the “checkin” app I proposed a “verification” app for use at borders, airport security, etc, etc, to identify individuals who shouldn’t be traveling or have permission to travel.

    Part of my pitch was that not everyone has a smartphone and we needed a national solution.

    That didn’t happen but over time all the States realised that leaving it to businesses to do the right thing wasn’t working and eventually made centralised QR code based sytems mandatory. One for each state! That doesn’t open borders or promote travel between states.

    Now NSW is doing something similar to what I proposed more than a year ago but its QR codes rather than NFC. I prefer NFC over QR Codes as people are very used to “tap on, tap off”.

    1. I hear you. While it makes sense to do it on a national basis that horse bolted after Hawke tried to introduce an Australia card in 1985 and it was defeated. Ever since so-called social libertarians have managed to stop any attempt at a national ID card that would have made COVID management so easy. Many Australians may object to this option on the basis of privacy concerns. It could be viewed as a digital version of the unpopular Australia Card initiative, which was rejected in 1987, or the Access Card, which was terminated in 2007.”

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