The FeliCa Fabulist NFC TIMES

The EMV TIMES trashed FeliCa Suica again NFC TIMES posted a story today: Mobile Suica Still Accounts for Disappointing Share of Suica Users and Transactions in Japan (paywalled).

The article revolves around information (not a direct quote) that NFC TIMES claims they got from JR East deputy general manager of Suica IT and business development, Tomohiko Umekawa. Umekawa “told” the NFC TIMES that Mobile Suica issue is 9.5% of total Suica issue: 7.2 million out of 76 million, no fiscal year was given. Mobile Suica transaction volume is then explained in the article as being 10%.

The slight of hand swapping card issue numbers for transaction volume numbers disconnect was so odd that I contacted JR East Public Relations with a link to the NFC TIMES piece and the JR East executive supplied information, asking if they could confirm the information and fiscal year. JR East PR said that while Suica issuance numbers are public, Mobile Suica transaction numbers have not been released or made public. It looks like NFC TIMES made it up.

Dan Balaban says:

Mobile Suica and Osaifu-Keitai-Keitai in general have largely been a disappointment…even with Apple Pay supporting Mobile Suica for the past four years

What exactly qualifies as a disappointment, or a success here? And to who? More importantly, who exactly are we making look good by comparison…EMV Open Loop? Balaban concludes:

FeliCa Mobile Payments and Ticketing Nothing New in Japan, as Apple Strains for Apple Pay Developments to Spotlight

Let’s count, shall we? Apple Pay Suica launched on October 25, 2016. That makes it “almost four years” in that Apple Pay Suica is almost turning four, not “the past four years” as in a full four years going on five. Buddhists count birthdays starting at year one, the day of birth, so I guess Balaban is a Buddhist. Or he’s making shit up, again.

It’s a sad state of affairs and a comment on the current state of industry newsletter sites. Given all the cut and paste context and apparent fabrication in the piece, I say call the whole thing off and compare real honest numbers after: the JAPAN CASHLESS rebate, the Tokyo Olympics, and the big bad Rakuten Suica tie-up which is going to be huge. Believe me, things are only getting started.