Samsung Wallet: Bringing Pay and Pass under One Roof

The new Samsung Wallet is available today and will replace the current Pay and Pass apps, which presently handle payment cards and passwords, respectively.

It also incorporates with SmartThings to store specific digital home and car keys. Samsung’s new Wallet will keep payment cards, car keys, and cryptocurrency accounts in one place.

First, there was Samsung Wallet. Then it became Samsung Pay. Now, because time is a flat circle, Samsung is getting the Wallet app back, bringing many existing Samsung services into one app. And this time, there’s crypto!

And, of course, the new Samsung Wallet integrates with the existing Samsung Blockchain Wallet app, so you can fast check the value of your cryptocurrency portfolio. Or maybe don’t. Samsung also plans to add some features it teased at its Unpacked event earlier this year, including the ability to store your digital IDs and driver’s license.

Samsung’s digital key feature had been previously available in Samsung Pass for one car: the Genesis GV60. Now, the company is expanding compatibility to include the Genesis G90 and Hyundai Palisade, as well as detailed BMW models launched after July 2020.

The new Wallet is also compatible with nine intelligent home security companies via SmartThings so digital house keys can be used. There are other, more pedestrian features, like the ability to store airline boarding passes though that’s currently limited to Korean Air flights.

Samsung Wallet is available today in the US, UK, and Europe for Galaxy phones, with Samsung Pay running Android 9 or later. Not all features will be available with all phones, though some digital car keys require UWB short-range connectivity, and some require a phone with Samsung’s eSE security hardware.

SmartThings Inc. is an American home automation company headquartered in Mountain View, California, with a software development center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Founded in 2012, it focuses on devising eponymous automation software and an associated array of client applications and cloud platforms for smart homes and the consumer Internet of Things.

Since August 2014, SmartThings has been a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics. SmartThings cites its platform as having 62 million active users, which it claims improved 70% through 2019 and 2020.

SmartThings was allegedly conceived by co-founder and once-CEO Alex Hawkinson in the winter of 2011. Hawkinson says that his family’s unoccupied mountain house in Colorado was extensively damaged by water pipes that first froze and burst, resulting in some $80,000 worth of damage.

Hawkinson noted that he could have prevented the damages had he known what was happening inside the house. Through 2011 and 2012, Hawkinson and his SmartThings co-founders worked to build a prototype of their desired solution to such problems.

That prototype would go on to create the basis of a successful Kickstarter campaign which the developers launched in September 2012, and that would go on to secure US$1.2 million in backing, making it the second largest smart-home focussed crowdfunding project to date.

Raising $3 million in a December 2012 seed funding round, SmartThings would go on to commercially launch its products in August 2013 before expanding a further 12.5 million in a Series A funding round in late 2013. In August 2014, Samsung Electronics announced that it had agreed to acquire SmartThings. The deal’s financial terms were never publicly disclosed but were estimated as high as $200 million by some trade publications at the time.

Initially, SmartThings produced custom hardware and software services, including smart home hubs and sensors. In June 2020, SmartThings’ engineering head Mark Benson revealed that SmartThings would pivot away from manufacturing its hardware and instead focus on software.

The company expects to enlist other companies to manufacture and distribute SmartThings hardware. In October 2020, SmartThings announced that Aeotec would take over its European hardware line. In December 2020, Aeotec announced that it would also manage the SmartThings hardware portfolio throughout Canada, Australia, the UK, and the United States.

As of February 2021, SmartThings is developing software and cloud services.