Google Wallet Vs. Samsung Wallet: Which Should Galaxy Phone Users Choose?

Google Wallet Vs. Samsung Wallet: Which Should Galaxy Phone Users Choose?
Customers make payments through NFC mobile devices © Ground Picture/Shutterstock Customers pay with NFC mobile devices

There is a lot of science fiction about a device in your pocket that contains all the information you need on a daily basis, from basic computing and communication to payments and public transport to managing everything. Smartphones have come a long way since the first iPhone, and it's not just the cameras, screens and batteries that have grown and improved. New sensors, technologies and protocols continue to change the way we use devices to interact with the world. What was once a portable cell phone has become something many people rely on for important tasks.

When NFC communication technology emerged, app makers and developers quickly realized that they could use it for mobile payments, and services such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay emerged. These payment services have evolved into comprehensive digital wallets that can handle everything from store IDs, vaccination records and concert tickets to contactless payments with virtual credit cards.

What is Google Wallet?

Google Wallet icon on your phone © mundissima/Shutterstock The Google Wallet icon on your phone

Google seems to have a finger in every pie these days, and the recently released Google Wallet makes Google a one-stop shop for apps and services. Launched in July 2022, Google Wallet is an extension of what is technically known as Google Pay, a rebrand of Android Pay in most markets. In the US and Singapore, Google Pay still works with Google Wallet as a standalone payment app. Google Wallet now works as a digital payment system and wallet in all other regions.

Google Wallet's core features include all the basics you'd expect from a digital wallet, including open card storage and payment features and less essential features like travel and event tickets, digital IDs, licenses, COVID-19 vaccination records, and loyalty cards. If you have a phone with an NFC chip, paying with Google Wallet is as easy as choosing the correct payment method and tapping on the reader.

What is Samsung Wallet?

Folding hinge for Samsung Galaxy Z © Bloomberg/Getty The folding hinge for the Samsung Galaxy Z

Samsung Wallet was launched in June 2022 as a service that combines the existing Samsung Pay and Samsung Pass, simplifying user interaction and reducing the number of apps required on the phone while maintaining the same functionality. Although the wallet was initially limited to just six markets, after the launch it gradually expanded to other regions and countries.

Samsung Wallet data is stored in Knox, Samsung's secure environment that stores encrypted data in volatile storage and protects against malware access and malicious attacks. Samsung Wallet is only available on Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 9 and up and Samsung Galaxy S8. Some low-end devices do not support Samsung Wallet due to missing hardware. The most notable limiting factor for support is region, as the app is currently only supported in 21 countries (via NextPit). Like Google Wallet, Samsung Wallet can store loyalty cards, public transport passes, car keys, medical records and more. support

Samsung Wallet offers several special features

Cryptocurrency trading on the phone © Ground Picture/Shutterstock Trade cryptocurrencies on your phone

One advantage that Samsung Wallet has over Google Wallet in terms of features is the integration of a crypto wallet that supports Coinbase and Gemini Exchange. It can store Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies and supports both digital wallet ID document and vaccination ticket storage. However, Google Wallet may have an edge when it comes to public transport maps thanks to Google Wallet's integration with Google Maps. While Google and Samsung Wallet support digital car keys from partner brands, Samsung Wallet also supports digital home keys for SmartThings keys.

Another reason you might consider Google Wallet over Samsung Wallet is smartwatch integration. While Google Wallet works contactless payments with WearOS 2.0 or higher smartwatches with NFC, Samsung Wallet is only supported by Samsung Galaxy smartwatches, limiting your options. Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet have two-factor authentication and biometric login to keep things secure, but the way the services store information differs. Google Wallet stores your data securely in the cloud, so if you have Google Wallet on multiple devices, your cards and data will sync automatically. In contrast, Samsung Wallet stores credit cards locally on each device, which means it's more difficult to transfer devices or use the app on multiple devices.

The Google ecosystem wins most of the time

Add a Google Pay card screen © Tada Images/Shutterstock Google Pay card addition screen

The most notable benefit of Google Wallet is its integration with your Google account, especially for Chrome users. By signing in to your Google Account in any Chrome web browser, Chrome can access your wallet information and use it to facilitate payments. Many websites have Google Pay integration, and even if they don't, Google Chrome can use any card information stored in your Google Wallet and automatically fill it in at checkout to save you time. Linking a Google Account makes it easy to protect and restore your data if your device is lost or stolen. However, many Samsung Galaxy users will have a Samsung account that can perform similar functions.

While many merchants accept both Samsung Wallet and Samsung Pay (like Google Pay), this integration is less common and only available on mobile devices. If the card is stored in your Samsung Wallet, the information can be automatically filled in on the mobile website if your password manager of choice is Samsung Pass or Samsung Wallet. The ecosystem you choose will be the most important factor when choosing between Samsung or Google Wallet. The best reason to choose Samsung Wallet is if you already have a Samsung SmartThings dongle, want to avoid storing everything in the cloud, or need cryptocurrency support.

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