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Samsung Launches Mobile Wallet App to Compete With Apple and Google

A screenshot of the Samsung Wallet app
Samsung's Wallet app can store digital keys, payment cards and boarding passes. 
Samsung

What's happening

Samsung just launched its mobile wallet platform for storing digital IDs, credit cards, car keys and other essentials.

Why it matters

Smartphone makers are attempting to replace the physical wallet with digital alternatives. Google recently announced a similar revamp to its Wallet app, while Apple is adding new features to Apple Pay.

Samsung is the latest tech giant trying to replace your physical wallet with a digital one that lives on your phone. The company on Thursday launched Samsung Wallet, a new mobile wallet for storing digital keys, boarding passes, ID cards and credit cards. Apple and Google announced major updates for their own virtual wallet platforms in recent weeks.

Samsung previously announced its mobile wallet in February alongside the Galaxy S22, but only just launched the platform on Thursday. Samsung is merging two existing services to create Samsung Wallet. The app combines Samsung Pay, its mobile payment service for storing payment cards and vaccine records, and Samsung Pass, which manages passwords and login information for apps and websites. 

The unified app signals an expansion of Samsung's efforts to make its service better compete with those offered by Apple and Google. Samsung Wallet is launching via an app update, and Galaxy device owners can migrate their information directly from the Samsung Wallet and Samsung Pass apps. 

Samsung Wallet will support official forms of identification such as driver's licenses and student IDs later this year. Google also announcement in May that it's working with governments to incorporate IDs into Google Wallet. Apple Wallet already supports virtual IDs in several states

Read more: What iOS 16 and Android 13 Reveal About the Future of Smartphones

Samsung also wants its wallet app to serve as a hub for digital keys to your car and home, functionality that's already available on the iPhone. The company says it's working with nine home security companies on virtual home keys, and Samsung Wallet will also integrate with the company's SmartThings platform. As for car keys, Samsung Wallet will support digital car keys for certain BMW, Hyundai and Genesis models. Korean Air will also be Samsung's first partner for storing digital boarding passes.

In addition to storing traditional payment methods like credit, debit and loyalty cards, Samsung will also allow users to manage their cryptocurrencies from its new Wallet app. The entire platform is protected by Samsung's Knox security software. 

American are increasingly embracing the idea of replacing their physical credit cards with digital ones. Usage of in-store mobile payment services is expected to surpass 50% of all smartphone users in the US by 2025, says a 2021 report from eMarketer

Now, tech companies are developing more comprehensive alternatives to the traditional wallet, a mission that Google and Apple both made clear during their recent press events. "With Apple Wallet, we're working hard on our goal to replace your physical wallet," Corey Fugman, Apple's senior director for Wallet and Apple Pay, said during the company's Worldwide Developers Conference last week. 

Adoption is estimated to take off in the coming years. One in two people are expected to use a mobile wallet by 2025, according to a July 2021 report from financial tech company Boku and market research company Juniper Research. The launch of Samsung Wallet is also another sign that tech companies are increasingly relying on apps and services to lock in existing users.