Your Samsung phone is changing – and becoming a bit more like an iPhone

Samsung Galaxy S22 Display
A Samsung Galaxy S22 (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

One of the great things about smartphones is that the software is always changing, with features regularly being added and improved, and so it is with Samsung phones, as they now have access to a Samsung Wallet app.

This new app is essentially a combination of the old Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass apps, but with a few new features, and with Samsung Blockchain Wallet integration for good measure.

From the Samsung Wallet app you can store payment cards (to make contactless payments) and also store loyalty and membership cards. But you can also use it as a password manager to store and access your passwords, and if you own any cryptocurrencies then you can use Samsung Wallet to check their value, across various exchanges.

Screenshots showing various parts of Samsung Wallet

(Image credit: Samsung)

Other documents such as COVID-19 vaccination records can also be stored in Samsung Wallet, and so can boarding passes, though airlines will need to opt into this, and at the moment it sounds like only Korean Air has done.

And thanks to SmartThings integration, Samsung Wallet can also be used to house digital home and car keys. The company has so far partnered with nine home security companies for this, as well as with BMW, Genesis, and Hyundai – though only select cars are supported. Over time, Samsung expects to sign up more car brands too.

Samsung is also aiming to support things like driver’s licenses and student IDs within Wallet from later this year.

Of course, with all this important information housed in Samsung Wallet it needs some serious security, and for that Samsung is using its Knox security platform, which allows Wallet to encrypt data and require a fingerprint for access. Really sensitive data can also be stored in an isolated environment, to protect against hacking.

If you live in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy or Spain and have a Samsung Pay-enabled Galaxy phone running Android 9 or later then you should have access to Samsung Wallet now. Just open Samsung Pay or Samsung Pass and you’ll be prompted to migrate your data to the new service.

Analysis: following in Apple’s footsteps

If the features of Samsung Wallet sound familiar, that’s probably because iPhone users have access to a very similar offering in the form of Apple Wallet.

The feature set isn’t identical, but the idea is basically the same, with Apple Wallet housing payment cards, car keys, boarding passes, loyalty cards, tickets and more. In fact, it even supports driver’s license and state IDs in a few areas, so it’s slightly ahead of Samsung there.

Google is also working on a similar idea called – unsurprisingly – Google Wallet, which is likely to launch soon. So if you have an Android phone but not a Samsung one then you won’t have to miss out on all this Wallet goodness for long.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.