Suica App 3.0 Quick Look

Suica App 3.0 for Apple Pay Suica users is here, a mandatory upgrade following the March 20~21 Mobile Suica renewal maintenance downtime. The new features are mostly for Osaifu Keitai Android Mobile Suica users but there are some new things for Apple Pay Suica users too. The lineup:

  • New commute plan purchase UI for showing route details (iOS and Android)
  • In app Touch and Go Shinkansen registration (iOS and Android)
  • Easy cross OS Suica migration that eliminates the current one-way restriction (iOS and Android)
  • Improved notifications (iOS)
  • Multiple Suica card creation for Android (Apple Pay Suica has always had this feature)

What’s New

New Commute Plan UI
Older versions of Suica App caught a lot of flack from western users who criticized the old style drill down menus. I get it but I don’t think they appreciate that Mobile Suica has had to support a huge variety of very old pre-Android Symbian OS devices that were only recently dropped. The new UI uses a graphic approach for route selection instead of the old text driven UI and is the biggest ‘new’ feature.

Touch and Go Shinkansen registration
Instead of registering your Apple Pay Suica at a JR East station kiosk for Touch and Go Shinkansen ticketless transit (JR East Shinkansen only), you can do the one-time registration in Suica App. This is tucked away in the Suica Management ‘other options’.

What’s Changed

There are many small improvement throughout Suica App 3.0

Improved Notifications
Instead of a tiny mysterious circle appearing on the Suica card in Suica App you now get red banners running with detailed descriptions below it.

Eki-net menu item
The old Mobile Suica Shinkansen ticket purchase menu item has been removed and replaced by Eki-net. Tapping Eki-net doesn’t automatically open Eki-net app even if you have it installed and takes you to the App Store instead. I hope JR East fixes this in Suica App 3.0.1

Account Settings Changes
The Mobile Suica account information menu has been streamlined, a Suica Refund menu item has been added so that you can delete + refund Suica cards parked on Mobile Suica cloud and not in Wallet. You can update registered email addresses, mobile phone number and Japanese Post Code information but name changes are no longer done in-app. A link takes you to an Mobile Suica online application form. System notices are slightly more colorful.

Refreshed Recharge and other UI tweaks
There are some nice tweaks for Suica App recharge, credit card registration and add Suica card.

Behind the scenes are the biggest changes
Up until now Apple Pay Suica cards were locked into the Apple Pay ecosystem. You could migrate to a new iPhone or Apple Watch but not outside the Apple Pay walled garden. This has changed and you can now migrate your Apple Pay Suica card to Android Osaifu Keitai. These is no specific menu item for this, you simply remove Suica from Wallet and then add it from the Android device. The most important aspect is that Android Mobile Suica and iOS Suica App are now equal and cards move both ways. Mobile Suica implements this using onetime confirmation codes to confirm your registered email when starting Suica App 3.0 for the first time after upgrading.

With these changes in place on the backend, Mobile Suica Cloud can finally move forward with a unified set of features in future updates for both iOS Suica App and Android Mobile Suica.

What’s Missing

Suica App is still Japanese language only…😔