Apple Pay Suica • PASMO Basic Troubleshooting

Notice: Apple Pay recharge in Wallet app with foreign issue VISA credit cards stopped working Friday, August 5 JST. The issue is ongoing, use Mastercard or AMEX cards for adding money to Apple Pay Suica and PASMO. Recharge for the major card brands as follows:

  • Non-JP issue VISA credit cards: Suica NG / PASMO NG, some VISA debit cards are working
  • Non-JP issue Mastercard cards: Suica OK / PASMO OK
  • Non-JP issue Amex cards: Suica OK / PASMO OK

Mobile PASMO / Mobile Suica support both say non-JP issue cards are officially supported for Wallet app recharge and there should be no problem. Their official line is ‘contact your card issuer’. If you contact your card issuer they will tell you there should be no problem and to ‘contact the merchant’.

There are many links in the payments processing chain: Apple Pay, online merchants like Mobile Suica, merchant acquirer, payment processor, VISA, etc. It appears that VISA made security changes on the backend that affect non-JP issue VISA cards for select online payments including some types of Apple Pay (and Google Pay) in-app purchases, in this case Suica and PASMO recharge. However it’s not clear where the issue lays, the context of rampant phishing attacks on many JP online services such as Mobile Suica early this year could be part of the reason. (Last updated 2022-09-30 JST)

Basic Q&A troubleshooting issues are covered on the JR East Suica Apple Pay English language support page and the PASMO Apple Pay English language support page. Common issues are explained below in more detail and include Suica App or PASMO App use to resolve issues not covered in the official but limited, English language support pages. Make sure you perform troubleshooting outside of the Mobile Suica • PASMO 2 am ~ 4 am JST nightly service maintenance downtime window.

The vast majority of Apple Pay Suica•PASMO issues boil down to poor network connection issues, usually when using free WiFi, auto-connect carrier WiFi, or in crowded areas with maxed out mobile connectivity. Always make sure your device has a robust internet connection when recharging in Wallet or using Suica or PASMO apps.

Poor network connection causes an error
When adding / transferring / recharging a Suica•PASMO card with a poor network connection, Wallet appears to hang during the process. Suica•PASMO App may show a ‘H017’ or ‘C102’ error.

One important thing to remember about recharge: if you see multiple failed charges on your credit or debit card, these are temporary charges that are not processed and automatically removed with 24 hours during the nightly system maintenance period.

When Apple Pay Suica•PASMO Recharge fails or hangs, don’t panic. Cancel the recharge process by hitting the sleep button, then check to make sure iPhone has a robust network connection, turn off WiFi and use 4G • 5G, sometimes it helps to toggle Airplane Mode on and off to clear a bad connection. When you have a robust connection try recharge again. If recharge still fails Suica App or PASMO App may display an error numbers.

In all error cases do the following:

  1. Restart iPhone.
  2. Make sure your iPhone has a robust internet connection.
  3. Make sure you are not in the Mobile Suica / Mobile PASMO 2 am~4 am JST maintenance window.
  4. Open Suica App or PASMO App (you do not need a registered account for this operation)
  5. Tap the red explanation mark if you see one on the card, then tap ‘OK’

This operation will clear most error problems, if it does not clear the problem do the next steps:

  • Confirm that you are logged into the same Apple ID used to add Suica•PASMO
  • Open Wallet > select Suica or PASMO > tap the more button ‘…’ > scroll to the bottom of the card > tap ‘Remove this card’.
  • Wait 5 minutes.
  • Tap add card ‘+’ in Wallet, tap Previous Cards in Add to Wallet screen
  • You should see your Suica or PASMO in the Previous Cards screen, tap Continue.
  • In Add Card the Suica or PASMO you removed from Wallet should be showing with the balance, tap Next to complete.

When the card remove operation appears hung
If the Suica•PASMO card deletes from Wallet but appears hung as “Deleting” in the iCloud device list, sign out of Apple ID on your iPhone, restart the device, then login with the same Apple ID.

Card Unavailable Message
In some cases you may get a Card Unavailable screen when attempting to re-add Suica•PASMO in Wallet:

This means there are some issues that the Mobile Suica / Mobile PASMO systems will clear during the maintenance period. Simply wait for the end of the next 2 am~4 am JST maintenance window, then re-add the card.

**Troubleshooting notice for Apple Pay Commuter Suica users: Suica App 3.0 introduced a new process when re-adding Commuter Suica cards. There are cases when re-adding a Commuter Suica to Wallet the stored fare balance will be 0. Don’t panic if this happens, your stored fare balance is not lost. This is done so that commuter passes can be re-added and used immediately even if there are remaining stored fare issues to fix during the Mobile Suica nightly maintenance reset. The previous stored fare balance is restored manually via the Suica Pocket option in Suica App and will show up as a Suica App notification.

Trouble transferring plastic Suica•PASMO to Wallet
If you have problems transferring a plastic Suica•PASMO card to Wallet there are documented tips on the Apple Support page If you can’t transfer Suica or PASMO cards to your iPhone or Apple Watch in the “Try to add a Suica•PASMO card” section. These are reproduced below with some extra notes.

  1. Your birthdate is required only if you’re trying to add a My Suica or Commuter Suica card to Apple Pay. Use the same date of birth that you entered when you purchased your plastic Suica card.
    The three basic Suica card varieties are: Unregistered, My Suica and Commuter. As noted in the Apple page when you transfer plastic My Suica or Commuter cards to Apple Pay you need to enter date of birth. But there are card naming restrictions to be aware of:
    • My Suica, personalized PASMO, or Commuter Suica and PASMO cards that use romaji names or international phone numbers are not supported by Apple Pay.

      The best thing to do if your iPhone cannot transfer plastic Suica•PASMO to Apple Pay is to take your plastic card the nearest JR station or PASMO member station and tell the station attendant that you want to re-issue your card with a katakana name. This is also the thing to do if your plastic Suica card is a very old Suica format that iPhone cannot read. Re-issue of a plastic Suica•PASMO at the station is free.
  2. If you are trying to add a second Suica or PASMO card to use with Apple Pay, make sure the name on the second card matches the first name on your My Suica, or Commuter Suica or PASMO card. If you have different names on multiple cards, download and register in Suica or PASMO App. (Card names can be changed to any preference in Suica or PASMO App)

  3. Make sure that your plastic card is resting on a flat non-metallic surface. Rest the top of your iPhone on the middle of the card. Keep it there until the transfer completes, which can take up to a minute. It might also help to hold your card and iPhone in your hand. (Non-metallic is the keyword here)
  4. Make sure that the value on your Suica or PASMO card doesn’t exceed 19500 Yen. (The card SF balance limit is ¥20,000)
  5. You can add a combo credit card + Suica•PASMO card by tapping Credit or Prepaid Card in Wallet. Only the credit card will be added to Apple Pay. The Suica•PASMO card cannot be added, and the balance of the card remains on the plastic combo card.
  6. Certain Suica and PASMO cards (like Student Commuter Suica cards) might need to be verified before you can add them to Apple Pay. For additional functionality of Suica or PASMO cards in the Wallet app, download and register within the Suica app or PASMO app on your iPhone.

    Be aware that Suica App / PASMO App are Japanese language only. Go to my Suica App • PASMO App Guide for English language help. Student Commuter cards are complicated because Apple Pay Commuter Suica•PASMO purchase and renewal requires a credit card and 18 is legal age for credit cards. Students can work around the no-credit card problem with using a Line pre-paid card registered in Suica App / PASMO App. The student verification process is explained in Japanese here.