- Samsung Electronics Co. has launched a new digital wallet that lets users of its Galaxy phone hold cryptocurrencies and organize their identification cards, digital keys, payment cards and other items, the company said in a press release.
- The tool will integrate with Samsung’s blockchain wallet to let users monitor their digital currencies, according to the press release. Samsung users with eligible devices in the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. can update their Samsung pay or Samsung password apps now and migrate to the new Samsung wallet, per the announcement.
- Later this year, the phone app will also store users’ official driver’s licenses, student IDs and other important documents. It will also allow storage of other important documents, such as vaccination cards.
Samsung is releasing the new payment tool to bolster its phones in the face of competition from digital wallet apps offered by U.S. tech giants Apple and Google. According to research from Insider Intelligence, Samsung Pay ranks third in terms of digital wallet users (16.8 million) behind the rival Google Pay (27.1 million) and Apple Pay (47.2 million) payments apps.
Samsung said it improved the wallet’s user interface to let users access their payment, loyalty and membership cards with one swipe. The tool also has the Samsung Pass functionality, allowing consumers to store their passwords and use biometric authentication to log into apps and services.
“Samsung Wallet is bringing a new level of everyday convenience to mobile devices with a totally safe and secure environment for storing digital keys, cards and more,” Jeanie Han, a Samsung executive vice president, said in the statement. “As part of our ongoing commitment to open ecosystems, we will continue to expand on the capabilities of Samsung Wallet by working closely with our trusted partners and developers.”
Other companies have either retreated from the mobile wallet market, or further entrenched themselves in the space. Last year, JPMorgan pulled Chase Pay from all its participating merchant apps and websites. Block’s Cash App and digital payments pioneer PayPal, on the other hand, have been souping up their applications, attracting $2.85 billion and $31 billion in mobile wallet funds, respectively, as of about a year ago, according to an analysis from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Earlier this year, Apple introduced its Tap to Pay on iPhone tool, enabling merchants to accept Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards and other digital wallets with their iPhones.
The rollout of Samsung Wallet with crypto capabilities signals that Samsung is diving deeper into that area, letting Samsung Wallet consumers access their digital assets across multiple exchanges.
Though cryptocurrency adoption appears to be growing, research suggests that few consumers use the tool for payments or understand it at all. An S&P report released earlier this year found that less than a fifth of cryptocurrency users have paid for purchases using cryptocurrencies, even though higher percentages are buying and selling it. Plus, a YouGov survey found that almost seven in 10 U.S. respondents said they didn’t understand cryptocurrency.
Meanwhile, alongside a dip in the stock market, digital assets have also seen a steep decline in recent weeks. The price of bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency, has plummeted by about two-thirds in the past year from a high reached last November. Meanwhile, the price of Ether is down even more from a high reached the same month.