Samsung Wallet, an Android alternative to Apple’s Passbook, was quietly unveiled at Mobile World Congress in February and Samsung has, once again, without a media fanfare, launched the service for consumers with an initial rollout in Korea.
An announcement in Korean (via Engadget) states that the service is available for a range of Galaxy device owners — initially those with the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Note 10.1, Galaxy S II HD LTE — who can store their credit card details on their device in order to make transactions with online merchants. Payment is verified using a PIN and a one time password.
The company says that some 30,000 domestic retailers are supporting the service on launch. There are plans to add support for a number of Passbook-like services, including tickets, membership cards, coupons and other services that were showcase earlier this year.
There’s no word on a timeline of other services — we already know NFC payments will be supported in time — nor do we have an update on when it will launch outside of Korea. For now, it looks like this will be a test deployment ahead of a wider expansion.
Like Apple’s Passbook, Samsung Wallet is able to deliver time and location based push notifications, notifying you when you are near a store or location that you can use a Wallet card. Always connected, membership cards and boarding passes can be updated in real-time.
Samsung Wallet includes an open API which allows other services to feed into it for payments. So, once the global launch kicks off, we can expect integration from the existing base of partners which includes including Walgreens, MLB, Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and Lufthansa.
Here’s a reminder of what was announced back in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress:
Headline image via Jung Yeon Je / Getty Images