Help Desk: time to toss the teiki for Mobile Suica?

I’ve abandoned renewing my teiki in favor of just using the suica app on my phone. So much easier, I think it’s worth the money I’m saving by buying a teiki. For some reason though, I’m not getting JRE points when recharging my suica. Any ideas?

Reader question from Fukuoka

In this era of on again, off again COVID infection waves and remote work from home, many people may not need a teiki/commuter pass for the office, even though they still need a transit card for occasional work use. A reader who lives in Fukuoka asked about using Suica in the Fukuoka sugoca/hayakaken/nicoma transit card territory. Is possible for Apple Pay Suica to do the job instead of native area cards?

If you do not need a teiki then absolutely yes, Mobile Suica takes care of your needs. But there are a few gotchas to be aware of. Actually there is only one: points. All of the various transit IC cards are tethered to their respective regions with reward points and company branded credit cards. Each card has a different reward point system, JRE POINT for Suica, JR Kyupo for Sugoca, hayaken point, JR West Point and so on.

If we take the example of using Suica in Fukuoka, there is only one way to earn JRE POINT, Apple Pay Suica recharge with a JR East issue VIEW credit card in Wallet app. And there is only one way to use JRE POINT, Suica recharge with JRE POINT via Suica App. If you can live without points Suica is fine, but if you want to rack up points, this sucks. It comes down to personal choice of using what works best for you, convenience, and/or what gives you the best return.

One thing is clear, the teiki needs to change with the times. If you follow this blog you know I write a lot about Suica 2 in 1 cards that support 2 separate reward point systems and commute passes in one card. Currently these cards are only for JR East region transit affiliates, but the next generation 2 in 1 FeliCa architecture can done anywhere. All the JR Group companies should do this and issue 2 in 1 cards for their respective regions and work with transit affiliates to improve transit IC card compatibility for cross region transit, multiple points, multiple passes, mobile support and so on.

An interesting aspect of Suica 2 in 1 such as the Yamagata cherica card is that commute plans include traditional point to point transit passes and transit zones passes. Japanese transit companies are have to get creative and offer different kinds of passes that appeal to different working styles in the post-COVID era. Tough transit times demand tough transit action. 2 in 1 transit cards that support multiple point rewards and commute passes on mobile is the future for transit IC.