Samsung Wallet launches in Korea, US beta now out to compete against Apple Passbook and Google Wallet
Do you still bring your wallet everywhere you go? Chances are you still do, but with the rise of wallet and “passbook” apps, we might soon find no need to bring actual cash, tickets or coupons (except perhaps your driver’s license, or maybe the DMV can support e-copies, too). Samsung has joined the fray, announcing Samsung Wallet earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Apparently, Wallet is now online in South Korea, and is also in beta stage in the US.
Users of select Galaxy devices in South Korea can now download Wallet on their compatible Samsung devices — namely, the Galaxy S4, S3, Note, Note 2, Note 10.1 and S2 HD LTE. Currently, Wallet in South Korea is more of a single point of access for users’ credit cards, as it promises convenience by having to key in your PIN or one-time-password (OTP) once at point of purchase. No need to whip out your credit card(s), as you can pay straight from the app assuming you’ve already keyed in your card details beforehand.
Engadget reports that the app is now available in beta in the US, where the coupon-storage capability is in limited availability. Once fully launched, Samsung Wallet — simply named “Wallet” — can store transit tickets, event tickets, coupons and membership cards.
According to Samsung, about 30,000 retailers in South Korea already support its Wallet application, and NFC payments will be supported in the near future. Given that Samsung Wallet comes with an open API, it should not be too difficult for establishments, shop owners, e-commerce providers and other services to integrate into the system.
Now the question at this point is availability and applicability. Given that Samsung is essentially competing directly against Apple’s Passbook for iOS devices and Google’s own Wallet app, how big can Samsung’s market be? Granted, it can probably dominate in its home South Korean market. Samsung is also the top-selling smartphone brand to date, which means the brand can likely get enough traction with its tens of millions of devices out there. But will Samsung also make its Wallet app available to other brand Android devices, as well?
Have you tried Samsung Wallet already? How does it compare with Apple Passbook and Google Wallet?