Mobile payments have become increasingly popular in recent years. There are dozens of digital payment apps out there, but if you own a Galaxy device, the options often come down to Google and Samsung wallets.
Both work in a similar fashion, but certain features may make you prefer one over the other. If you’re not sure which to pick, this head-to-head guide between Google Wallet vs. Samsung Wallet could help you decide.
Google Wallet vs. Samsung Wallet: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Samsung Wallet||Google Wallet|
|Primary use||Mobile payments, coupons, gift cards, passes, loyalty cards, digital IDs, storage of digital assets, and digital keys||Mobile payments, passes, gift cards, loyalty cards, peer-to-peer payments|
|Supported devices||Samsung Galaxy||Android and iPhone|
|Regional availability||21 countries||63 countries|
|Bank compatibility||Selected banks only||Most banks and prepaid cards|
|Payment types||NFC; MST in devices released before 2021||NFC|
|In-store payments||Anywhere you can tap/swipe your card||Anywhere you can tap your card|
|Security||Highly secure||Highly secure|
|Payment authorization||PIN or biometric ID||PIN or biometric ID|
|Rewards||Samsung points on qualifying purchases||Cashback, in-app offers|
Google Wallet vs. Samsung Wallet: What’s the Difference?
Having debuted in 2011, Google’s payment method Google Pay was, at the time, a pioneer of mobile payments. Initially, the app only supported MasterCards issued by Citibank. However, things have changed over the years, and the app is evolving to keep up with the ever-changing user demands.
In January 2022, Google released its Wallet, an app that now includes the original Pay service alongside other functionalities.
Similar to Google Wallet, Samsung Wallet first debuted as a mobile payment service called Samsung Pay. The Korean multinational launched the first Pay app in 2015 and turned it into Samsung Wallet in June 2022, mere months after Google.
While the two services have the same purpose, Samsung Wallet now contains other Samsung apps, including Samsung Pass, which is a storage vault for passcodes and user IDs for online accounts.
Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet serve the same purpose, but each app comes with distinctive features. The former primarily serves as a mobile wallet and peer-to-peer payment app.
Users can save their bank and loyalty card details for seamless access when shopping in-store or online. At the same time, you can also use the app to send money to friends and family.
All that you need to send money via Google Pay is a QR code, or you can search for your friends via their email addresses, phone numbers, or names.
This service is only available in the United States and Singapore, but from the U.S., you can also use Google Pay to send money internationally to India via Wise. You can also use Google Wallet to store event tickets, transport passes, health passes, and gift cards.
Samsung Wallet doesn’t include peer-to-peer payments but is as functional as Google in other aspects. The primary use of this app is for storing bank cards, but you can add loyalty and reward cards, too. Coupons, tickets, and passes can also be saved in the app, so you can have them handy whenever you need them.
The greatest difference when compared to Google Wallet is that Samsung Wallet now includes Samsung Pass. This is a vault app that stores your access details to various online services, including user names, passwords, and passcodes.
When enabled, Samsung Pass can populate various fields for you (biometric or PIN identification is required when using the automatic fill-in). This allows easy access to your various online accounts without bothering to remember or fill in the log-in fields every time.
One of the biggest differences between Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet is device compatibility. Google Wallet works on all Android devices. This doesn’t come as a surprise, seeing as Google has owned Android since 2005. The app also works on iPhones and iPads running iOS 10.0 or higher, but you won’t be able to use it on an older Apple device.
Samsung Wallet is a proprietary app developed for Samsung devices. However, the app isn’t limited to smartphones and tablets. You can find it on all Galaxy devices, including all Samsung phones, tablets, and Galaxy Watches, as well as Samsung TVs.
On mobile devices and wearables, Samsung Wallet works just like the former Samsung Pay for in-store purchases. All you have to do is tap your phone or watch on the contactless card reader to complete your transaction. Otherwise, you can use the app for online and in-app payments.
The advantages of having a mobile wallet fade when you can’t add your payment cards to the app. In this regard, Google is a notch above Samsung. The tech company partners with most banks, credit unions, and card providers. This is great news, especially for those banking with smaller institutions.
Samsung partners with over 100 banks and credit unions, but its list is not as extensive as Google’s. However, the brand is working on expanding their network, and the list of supported banks and compatible cards is updated regularly.
That said, both Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet work with financial services, including American Express and Discover. With some exceptions, you can add any Visa or MasterCard to both wallets.
Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet are both available in America, but if you’re an avid traveler, availability in your destination countries may make or break the deal. Google Wallet wins this round, too, with its widespread availability in 63 countries. Currently, Samsung Wallet is only available in 23 countries.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use the app in unsupported countries. Both Google and Samsung wallets store and use your actual payment cards for purchases.
If your card is issued in a supported country, you can simply add it to the wallet. Then, if your bank enables card use in overseas countries and territories, you can use the mobile wallet as you would at home.
However, you won’t be able to add payment cards issued in unsupported countries to either app. To make sure you can use Google or Samsung Wallet when traveling overseas, contact your bank and let them know about your travel plans.
For a long time, Samsung had the edge over Google thanks to its magnetic secure transmission (MST) type of payment. This groundbreaking technology allowed Samsung phone users to use their devices for purchases at non-contactless terminals, as long as the terminal had the ability to read magnetic bands.
Through wirelessly transmitted magnetic waves, older Galaxy devices were able to replicate the card swipe. Thus, they could turn any card reader into a contactless payment receiver, allowing users to leave their actual wallets and cards at home. Unfortunately, this technology ended with Samsung S20 and is no longer supported.
Without it, there is no real advantage to using Samsung Wallet except for the fact that it now incorporates Samsung Pass. In terms of payment types, the new Samsung devices — and, consequently, the Samsung Wallet app — only support near-field communication (NFC), the same as Google Wallet.
Samsung Wallet and Google Wallet are primarily used for their payment function (Samsung Pay and Google Pay, respectively). As you can expect from a mobile wallet, both apps can be used for in-store, online, and in-app purchases.
As long as you can add the payment card to the app, you can use both Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet in all stores — provided that the store has a contactless card reader. In other words, you’ll be able to use the apps in all major supermarkets but might or might not be able to use them at a small grocery shop located in the middle of nowhere.
Stores that accept Samsung Pay and Google Pay typically display a sticker on the door or near the cash register. You can also use the apps to pay at cafes and restaurants. The same conditions apply — the venue must have a contactless card reader.
If you don’t have a transit pass, but the local transport network allows you to pay-as-you-go with your credit card, you can use the preferred app and tap the device onto the card reader to buy a ticket or pass.
You can also use both apps for online purchases, but only if the seller accepts Samsung Pay or Google Pay as a payment method at checkout. As a rule of thumb, Google Pay is accepted by most sellers. Samsung Pay is a lot more limited.
However, both Wallets can populate the payment fields automatically if the seller doesn’t accept Samsung Pay or Google Pay, so you won’t have to reach for your actual wallet anyway.
Both apps allow for in-app purchases, too. Once again, Google has the upper hand. You can use it to make purchases in most apps found in Google Play (Google’s app store includes all Samsung apps, too). Samsung Wallet can be used for in-app purchases, but it works with fewer apps, most of which must be downloaded through the Galaxy Store.
Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet are apps designed to store sensitive information. Beyond payment cards, Samsung Wallet can also store all your user names and passcodes, so keeping them secure is paramount.
However, you don’t have to worry about security regardless of the app you’re using. Google Wallet uses encryption and tokenization to keep your data safe. Similarly, Samsung Wallet uses tokenization to keep your payment data safe and encryption provided by Knox to store everything else safely.
Both apps allow you to protect the data with a passcode, or you can set up biometric security on your device. This means that you can access the Wallet with your fingerprint, face scanner, or another type of biometric ID.
Google Wallet vs. Samsung Wallet: 5 Must-Know Facts
- Google Wallet and Samsung Wallet are two mobile wallets available on Galaxy devices. Both apps were released in their current form in 2022.
- Previously known as Google Pay, Google Wallet is an app primarily used for contactless payments and peer-to-peer money transfers.
- Originally called Samsung Pay, Samsung Wallet is now used for contactless payments and as a vault for user IDs and passcodes.
- Both Wallets can be used for in-store, in-app, and online purchases. Google typically partners with more banks and stores and is more widely available.
- Both apps can save your payment card details, as well as loyalty cards, passes, gift cards, digital keys, and more.
Google Wallet vs. Samsung Wallet: Which One Should You Use?
As a Galaxy device owner, you might think it makes sense to use Samsung Wallet. In reality, Google Wallet comes with more benefits. It might not store your user IDs and passcodes, but it partners with more banks and card providers, is available in more countries, and is accepted at most stores.
Samsung Wallet may now include Samsung Pass, but that’s about it. The Wallet itself is similar to Google’s but more limited in the number of cards you can add and the stores you can use it at. While it’ll do its job, you might like Google Wallet more.
Are Electronic Wallets Precursors to a Cashless Society?
Apps like Google Wallet (now Google Pay) and Samsung Wallet (now Samsung Pay) are part of the trend toward digital payments and cashless transactions. But it’s important to note that the potential transition to a completely cashless society is far more complex than it may appear at first glance.
Digital wallets offer convenience, security, and accessibility, which have contributed to their popularity. As more people embrace the ability to make payments using their smartphones, the use of cash may decline in certain contexts.
However, it’s unlikely that cash will disappear entirely in the near future. Cash does, after all, have certain advantages, such as offering privacy and anonymity in transactions and being universally accepted. Also, it’s important to note that not everyone has access to a smartphone or reliable internet connectivity. These, and other considerations surrounding financial inclusion, will undoubtedly play significant roles in the move toward a truly cashless society.
Google and Samsung Pay in the News
In April 2023, Google Pay announced an added feature which allows users to store digital car keys. This new feature is currently available for select BMW and Hyundai models. Google Pay is taking another step toward allowing users to leave their homes with the comfort and security of knowing they only need their smartphone to go about their day to day.
As for Samsung Pay, the app announced in May of 2023 that users can now store digital assets. From checking accounts to cryptocurrencies to NFT’s, Samsung Pay now holds all different forms of electronic currencies.
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