A partnership with Visa to bring mobile payments to all its new phone was not enough for Samsung and so on the third day of the Mobile World Congress they announced the launch of a new mobile wallet. The wallet will not actually offer a payment option – that’s what the Visa partnership is for – but will allow users to store coupons, membership cards, tickets and boarding passes on their Samsung smartphones.
Sounds familiar? That’s because it is. It can be said the Samsung Wallet is very much inspired by Apple’s Passbook and offers pretty much the same services. Below, Samsung demonstrates how to add an electronic airplane ticket into the app.
The lack of NFC might seem odd, but Samsung has justified it by saying that many retailers are not ready to spend on additional hardware yet, and so a barcode system allows them to reach more merchants. The new Wallet already counts Walgreen’s, Major League Baseball, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and Lufthansa as partners. The API is still in beta but will available to everyone in May.
Samsung’s official launch of a mobile wallet, coupled with its Visa NFC partnership might mark a point of no return for smartphones. With Apple and Samsung on board, it seems mobile wallets are here to stay.