The Apple Pay Suica Super Smart Shopping League Oath

I aspire to become an Apple Pay Suica Super Smart Shopping League (Apple Pay 4S) member and solemnly swear that the following items are true:

  • I possess a iPhone X, iPhone 8 or Apple Watch Series 3
  • I have a plastic Suica commuter pass
  • I like shopping at Bic Camera and posses a Bic Camera Point Card

I also solemnly swear to follow and uphold the Apple Pay 4S rules:

  • Add my Suica Commuter Pass to Apple Pay
  • Obtain a JCB Bic Camera View Card
  • Duly record my Bic Camera Point Card number in my JCB Bic Camera View Card application and the iPhone Bic Camera App.
  • Add my JCB Bic Camera View Card to Apple Pay Wallet and always use it for Suica Recharge and Suica Commuter Pass without fail.
  • Endeavor to conduct all purchases and public transit with Apple Pay Suica to earn regular Suica points and extra Suica Commuter Pass renewal points to attain massive Bic Camera Points.
  • Endeavor to assist all those who aspire to become Apple Pay 4S members
Online application form for Bid Camera View Card
You can apply for a JCB Bic Camera View Card online or get a paper application form from any Bic Camera – Kojima -Sofmap Store

Congratulations, you are now a member of the Apple Pay Suica Super Smart Shopping League. Happy Transit and Shopping!

Apple Pay Suica Inbound #6: Dead Battery FUD

Now that Apple Pay Suica Inbound is happening it’s interesting to see how people from abroad use and react to it. Some people worry a lot about iPhone dying on route before reaching the end station, a topic that Japanese users don’t mention much.

It is true that you do not want iPhone to die before reaching your Apple Pay Suica transit end point. Fortunately there are 2 easy things to do when your iPhone or Apple Watch battery runs low on route to get you through the final station gate.

1) Put iPhone in Airplane Mode, Apple Pay Suica works perfectly well without network access but few people realize this.


2) Power down iPhone until you reach your final station, when you get there power up and unlock iPhone just before going through the gate.

Some sites offer advice that could be misleading. Kevin Chen’s Creating a new Suica to use in Apple Pay is a decent explanation but suggests carrying a spare plastic Suica in case iPhone dies:

This could be inconvenient if your phone dies but you still need to take the subway home. To get the best of both worlds, keep your physical card active and generate a new Suica just for Apple Pay.

A backup plastic Suica for a complete start to finish trip is one thing, but some people will inevitably misinterpret that to mean either completing a transit with a backup plastic Suica or using it to pay whole fare if iPhone dies on route. You cannot do either one.

If the worst happens and iPhone really dies on route you must do 2 things:

1) Pay whole fare in cash, and only cash, at the end point.


2) Once your iPhone is charged take it to the nearest station and ask the station attendant  to reset Suica (clear the last transit information) so you can use it again.

With Suica coin lockers Suica acts as the electronic key in addition to payment so you must use the same Suica to unlock the coin locker. JR East says to call the help number listed above the Suica coin locker reader in case you run into any problems and need assistance.

Last but not least if the worst happens and iPhone dies, keep calm and be respectful with the station attendants. That way you’ll get the best help they can offer.

More battery strategies and advice here.

iPhone X and Apple Pay Suica Store Reader Errors

My iPhone X experience has been a very positive one that I hope to write about soon, but those finicky UT1-Neo NFC store readers are extremely finicky and error prone with iPhone X. Suddenly there are some irate Japanese tweets about Apple Pay Suica NFC reader errors, what’s going on?

JR East issued a notice via Suica App on November 8: “Issues to be careful of when using Apple Pay Suica for store purchases.” The notice points out 2 kinds of NFC reader errors:

  1. The NFC reader requests Touch ID/Face ID authentication even though your Apple Pay Suica is set for Express Transit. This happens most with vending machine purchases. Open Wallet, select Suica, authenticate and then purchase.
  2. Slow transaction-errors-repeat reads. Keep your iPhone position on the reader still until either the NFC reader beeps a completed transaction sound or the store clerk says the transaction is complete.

If JR East needs to issue a notice it means there are more than a few users experiencing problems. My own experience at Ueshima Coffee shops is that UT1-Neo readers take 2~3 attempts for a successful transaction. The iPhone 7 optimum position doesn’t work anymore.

As the JR East notice says keep iPhone in place until the transaction is done. UT1-Neo readers in other stores are behaving a little better.

It’s not clear what the issue is. iOS 11.1 Apple Pay Suica was a smooth ride on my iPhone 7 but on iPhone X it’s a problem with slower older NFC readers. Convenience stores and large store chains use the latest Panasonic and NEC NFC readers and work fine.

I suspect Apple needs to fine tune the NFC chipset performance on iPhone 8 and iPhone X to be a little more patient with older slower NFC readers along with adjustments on the store POS side as well.

Apple released the iOS 11.2.5 update on January 23, I recommend it for all Apple Pay Suica iPhone X users.

Update 2
For more information please see:
iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide (English Version)
iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド(日本語版)

Recover Apple Pay Suica from Lost or Wiped iPhone

The first thing to do if you lose an iPhone is put the device in Lost Mode from or another iOS device. Lost Mode disables Apple Pay. If you find your iPhone, great; but how can you recover Suica if your iPhone is lost or stolen for good, or accidentally wiped? No matter what the situation, Apple Pay iCloud has you covered and keeps your Suica safe on iCloud until you are ready to use it again.

Delete Apple Pay Suica from iCloud
If iPhone is lost or stolen for good, go to and sign in with the same Apple ID used for Apple Pay Suica. Go to Settings>My Devices and select the lost iPhone:

Apple Pay Suica Recovery E
Remove Apple Pay Suica from the lost device before you delete the device
  1. First delete your Apple Pay cards. This should bring up a Wallet confirmation, confirm and delete your Apple Pay cards, it may take a few minutes to process completely.
  2. After Apple Pay Suica is successfully deleted, delete the lost iPhone device from My Devices.

The same operation can be done on another iOS device or Mac, the process is the same: delete Apple Pay cards from the lost device first, let it process, then delete the device.

Restore Apple Pay Suica
Restoring Suica is exactly the same as migrating to a new device. Once you successfully delete Suica on the lost iPhone, or if you have wiped iPhone and want to restore Suica to the same device or a new device, simply add Suica in Wallet in iPhone. Suica should show up as a card option in Wallet>Card Type. If you don’t see Suica as a card type option, set iPhone Region to Japan then try adding Suica again. After successfully adding Suica to Wallet the iPhone Region can be any user preference.

JR East Mobile Suica support says that Suica card ID numbers can change when removed and re-added to Wallet. Softlinked Apple Pay Suica services like EX App (smartEX and Express Reservation) and Touch and Go Shinkansen stop working when the Suica ID number changes and need to have the registration information updated to re-link the services.

If you see Suica when iPhone Region is not set to Japan, it means you have a Suica card parked on iCloud ready to add to Wallet
Migrating Suica to a new iPhone


Card Already Exists in Wallet
If for some reason you are having difficulty re-adding Suica to iPhone and see and a Wallet error message like, “this card already exists in Wallet,” in the last step of the adding process: sign out of iCloud, restart the device and sign back into iCloud with the same Apple ID. This will clear up any problems.

Card Unavailable
If you see ‘Card Unavailable’ it means the card is fine but there are some issues that the Mobile Suica system needs to clear during the offline maintenance window. Simply wait for the end of the next Mobile Suica maintenance window: 2am~5am Japan Standard Time, or 24 hours, then re-add Suica.

The iPhone X Apple Pay Winner is Suica

Japanese IT Journalist Tsutsumu Ishikawa, one of the few to receive early iPhone X review unit a week ago, field tests Apple Pay and declares Suica is THE Apple Pay card for iPhone X. After one day with iPhone X, I agree: the double-click side button gesture to activate Apple Pay takes getting used to.

Express Transit Suica doesn’t need Touch ID or Face ID.  It was already my favorite Apple Pay feature in iPhone 7, more so than ever on iPhone X. Many Japanese and inbound Apple Pay Suica users are sure to agree.

One thing I notice with iPhone X is that tapping Suica notifications brings up a Recharge option. I didn’t notice this in iPhone 7 but have not confirmed if it is a iOS 11 feature I missed or a iPhone 8/iPhone X feature.

It’s very handy. One tap and you are in the Suica Recharge screen. Face ID activation and payment is the side button double-click.