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    On expansion and competition with Google Wallet, Samsung EVP Jeanie Han shares the roadmap [Interview]

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    Last updated: October 9th, 2023 at 16:03 UTC+02:00

    The influence of Samsung Wallet in the wider Samsung ecosystem has gradually been expanding. Its functions have evolved from assisting in payments to a whole host of online and offline experiences, enabling users to easily manage and use their IDs, tickets, and more from within the app. Samsung had several announcements related to Samsung Wallet at the Samsung Developers Conference 2023 in San Francisco.

    We had the opportunity to send over some questions to Jeanie Han, Executive Vice President at Samsung Electronics, and the lead on services such as Digital Wallet and Blockchain Wallet to better understand where things stand with Wallet right now and how the company is going to continue evolving its capabilities.

    Answers have been paraphrased for brevity and clarity.

    Q1: Samsung Wallet’s availability remains limited to a few countries as of now. What is Samsung’s roadmap to expand availability to more markets?

    A: We are pleased with the gradual and successful expansion of Samsung Wallet to further devices. Last year, we successfully expanded Samsung Wallet to 29 markets, and we are continuing to work to bring the platform to even more people around the world. We’re specifically looking to expand Samsung Wallet to countries where digital wallet capabilities can make the most impact on people’s everyday life. These are typically countries where mobile payments are widely accepted. We look forward to sharing exciting new developments with you in the year ahead.

    Q2: Is there a specific qualification criteria for expansion that Samsung evaluates every market against, meaning that is it possible that Samsung Wallet may never be available in certain markets?

    A: Yes, there are. When we launched Samsung Wallet, we committed to building the experience through open partnerships and a collaborative environment with our business and service providers, in order to provide access to the platform to as many people as possible. We take this into account with every market expansion and are excited to bring Samsung Wallet to even more potential users in the year ahead.

    In addition, we also want to see the acceptance and deployment of digital and online payments in all markets. Our hope would be that one day, Samsung Wallet will be available in all markets as mobile payment acceptance continues to rise across the globe.

    Q3: The primary focus seems to be on countries like the US and South Korea. It seems Europe has been a missed opportunity, where Samsung Wallet could provide comprehensive benefits in the single-market, such as through a collaboration with the EU for digital ID. Is that something that is under consideration?

    A: Last year Samsung successfully expanded its services to 29 markets including European countries like Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K. Samsung is committed to bringing the best possible mobile experience to all users through open partnerships, and we will continue to work with various partners and service providers in each region to make Samsung Wallet available in more European countries.

    As EU Digital ID continues to grow, we are monitoring its use and how it is evolving throughout the market, keeping the door open for a possible collaboration for Samsung Wallet in the future.

    Q4: We understand Samsung and Bank of Korea are collaborating on a CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency). What can you share with us regarding the implementation within Samsung Wallet?

    A: Since launching this collaboration in May this year, we have been committed to building the experience through open partnerships with our business and service providers in order to expand access of the platform to as many people as possible.

    We are excited to work with our partners to bring new capabilities and experiences to Samsung Wallet, including the Bank of Korea. We are collaborating to explore the possibilities CBDC technology could bring to Galaxy users and will share more details as our work together continues.

    Q5: What feature of Samsung Wallet are you particularly proud of, based on its ability to make users’ lives easier?

    A: Two-thirds of adults worldwide are now using digital payments (World Bank Group). As users continue to opt for digital credit cards, IDs, tickets and more, Samsung is excited to spotlight the evolution of Samsung Wallet this year at SDC23. Our vision is to evolve our platform in a way that allows users to fully replace their physical wallets with Samsung Wallet, and with the latest features, we are getting even closer to this point.

    First, Samsung Wallet will soon support mobile driver’s licenses and state IDs for select US states, creating a simple, universal mobile ID experience. This feature will also be used for TSA pre-check in select airports and other future use cases beyond travel including financial and retail ID needs. We’re also in collaboration with other countries’ governments to discuss expanding digital ID capabilities to those markets in the future.

    Second, we are rolling out several new developments in open APIs and SDKs for partners – including an update to the Wallet API, which allows partners to upload their content on Wallet – from bus and train tickets to annual passes, loyalty cards and library cards, plus more. Partners can also add new features to Galaxy Watch6 as well so users can add and access various cards that are just a touch away.

    Q6: How does Samsung plan to further raise awareness about its Wallet among customers, as we’ve heard from many of our readers that they didn’t even know it existed, since Wallet isn’t heavily advertised even when new devices are launched.

    A: Our vision is that Samsung Wallet on Galaxy devices will replace the need for physical wallets and become a platform people rely on throughout their life journey. We are working to expand the markets Samsung Wallet is available in to help increase the visibility of our service. As we transitioned from the initial Samsung Pay platform to Samsung Wallet, we made it a priority to ensure that more and more markets are aware of the expanded capabilities the evolved platform now offers.

    We feel strongly that as we continue to work with partners and developers to bring new capabilities and experiences to Samsung Wallet, like the universal mobile ID, we will see more awareness and adoption.

    Q7: Samsung Wallet competes with Google Wallet on Android devices. What do you feel is the main reason why users should choose Samsung’s solution over Google’s, when the latter is ostensibly available in even more markets?

    A: Samsung is committed to bringing the best possible mobile experience to all users, and we do so in partnership with fellow industry leaders including BMW, Hyundai, Korean Air and more to the mutual benefit of our users. Our openness to partnerships allows us to bring new features to users more quickly than many competitors, and quickly respond to the needs of our users. Samsung Wallet is fully optimized for Galaxy devices, enabling the best possible user experience thanks to the platform’s strong ties to Galaxy hardware features.

    Samsung Wallet also has a higher level of security through Samsung Knox, ensuring personal user information is protected through the embedded Security Element (eSE). Additionally, Samsung Wallet comes with fast mode and battery reserve options to best fit any user’s needs, while also hosting core functionalities, like digital keys, that are not available in any other Android digital wallet.

    As we continue to launch new devices, we are committed to extending wallet services to all parts of the Galaxy ecosystem. In doing this, we are working to integrate optimized, unique user experiences based on each device’s design – from the external display of Galaxy Flip5 to the watch face of Galaxy Watch6. We believe these key features make Samsung Wallet a strong choice for users in markets where it is available, especially as we work to expand to even more markets in the near future.

    As digital wallet features such as eID and car keys become more common, we’re continuously researching how to create new next generation use cases, such as using Samsung Wallet to track cryptocurrency assets and, one day, using it as a passport to the metaverse.

    Q8: We don’t seem to hear as much about the Samsung Blockchain Wallet anymore. What can you share about how the vision for it has evolved since it was first introduced?

    A: Our Samsung Blockchain Wallet feature lives within Samsung Wallet and is still available to users. We remain committed to making Samsung Wallet a future-ready service, which we see blockchain playing a part in – we see that recent advancements in blockchain technology have helped to reduce the overall impact that transactions have on the environment, as an example.

    We believe the further enhancement of blockchain technology will play a significant role in the future of digital life, and we envision Samsung Blockchain Wallet taking a central position as part of that. We look forward to sharing more soon.

    General Samsung WalletSDC 2023

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