VISA Japan finally signs on with Apple Pay (Updated)

UPDATE 5/11/21
Visa JP finally officially joined Apple Pay, launch page here. At last we can recharge Suica and PASMO directly in Wallet with VISA JP issue cards now that VISA JP issue cards support the full range of Apple Pay from NFC to In-App and web purchases. To date these cards could be used in Apple Pay all along since its launched in Japan, but only for store purchases using iD or QUICPay payment networks. The issuer launch list: APLUS, Cedyna, SMBC, docomo, MICARD, Saison, JACCS, Rakuten. Other issuers outside of the launch list are showing VISA logos so the rollout is expanding rapidly (tested kyash but it’s still only QUICPay).

EMV • FeliCa dual mode is supported, users can use VISA JP issue cards with Apple Pay both in Japan and abroad, a customer service that Mastercard JP and American Express JP have provided for years. The EMV Express Transit (open loop) option also appears for first time. Wallet card artwork does not update dynamically, delete and re-add the card to get the updated artwork.

For the background to this 5 year saga see: Why VISA Refuses to Join Apple Pay Japan



Original Post
Japanese credit card otaku tweeted late last night that the Apple Pay Wallet animation started displaying VISA, which it never did until now. Sure enough, VISA displays in the add card animation for the Apple Pay Japan region on iPhone, Apple Watch and iPad. Wallet only displays supported card brands for the selected Apple Pay region so the change means VISA JP is officially on board.

The trouble is we don’t know what that means without a press release from VISA Japan, Apple, or Japanese card issuers. So far we don’t have one. All we have are 2 questions that will hopefully be answered later today or the next few days.

Does it mean current iD/QUICPay VISA cards in Wallet fully support Apple Pay features?
A quick check adding a digital Kyash VISA prepaid card to my Wallet did not show anything new, just the same limitations: no VISA logo, no In App (Suica recharge) or web purchase support, no EMV/FeliCa dual mode. That doesn’t mean anything by itself: virtual Kyash VISA still has the limitations but it may be different for major VISA issuers like SMBC and MUFJ.

Does it mean that Apple Pay is simply matching the EMV only VISA Touch cards already on Google Pay from Sony Bank and others?
This seems more likely but also flies in the face of Apple Pay Japan encouraging ‘it just works anywhere’ dual mode EMV/FeliCa support for Wallet issue. If we don’t get announcements from VISA Japan or Apple, it could be a slow dribble of VISA Touch announcements from VISA JP card issuers, not much fun.

What I really want to know is: did VISA Japan blink, or Apple?

VISA Touch issuers currently on Google Pay

UPDATE 11/24
Somebody in Cupertino uploaded a new JSON payload to Apple Pay servers too soon. After showing in Wallet for almost 24 hours, VISA disappeared from the add card animation lineup around 6 pm JST. With a gaff this long at least we know VISA support is coming to Apple Pay Japan soon and likely with the Line Pay Apple Pay card announced in September for launch ‘later this year’.