Notice: Apple Pay recharge with non-JP issue VISA credit cards stopped working Friday, August 5 JST and appears to be on again, off again erratic: it was fixed late Monday August 8 but stopped working Tuesday morning August 9 and is ongoing. Recharge situations are different for the major brands with VISA credit cards not working for PASMO and Suica:
USA and European issue VISA credit cards: PASMO and Suica NG (some VISA debit is working)
USA issue Mastercard: Suica OK / PASMO recharge is working for some but not all
USA issue Amex: PASMO and Suica OK
Mobile PASMO / Mobile Suica support both say non-JP issue cards are supported for Wallet recharge and should be no problem. The official line is ‘contact your card issuer’. It’s not clear if the problem is with VISA, Apple Pay or Mobile Suica/PASMO…however the error message (screenshots below) when using Apple Pay recharge in Suica app indicates something going wrong on the Apple Pay authorization side. Hope it’s fixed soon. Updates will be posted here.
These are 2 basic ways to add money (recharge, reload, top-up) to Apple Pay Suica or PASMO:
1) Apple Pay Wallet recharge
2) Japanese Cash
Suica•PASMO can hold up to ¥20,000
Apple Pay Recharge
The easiest way to add money to Suica or PASMO is Apple Pay Wallet. It’s the single most powerful, convenient and unique feature of Apple Pay in 4 simple steps:
- Open Wallet
- Select Suica or PASMO
- Tap “Add Money” and choose amount
- Pay with Apple Pay: select the card you want to pay from to pay, the Apple Pay credit-debit-prepaid payment cards already in Wallet issued in your home country work for Suica•PASMO Recharge*
A little research can save you money and earn bonus points: use a “No Foreign Transaction Fee” Apple Pay credit card and save on foreign exchange fees. Some cards also give travel bonus points for PASMO Recharge. Find the optimum card configuration and you’ll make your money do more.
Suica-PASMO can be recharged without a network connection using ¥1,000, ¥5,000, ¥10,000 Japanese paper currency.
- Convenience Store Recharge: Apple Pay recharge Suica or PASMO at any convenience store. Go to the checkout, tell the store clerk “charge” and follow the checkout screen instructions as shown in video below.
- Station Smart-Charge Kiosk: available in Tokyo area stations shown in the video below. Place iPhone or Apple Watch in the reader bin, select the amount of money you want to add on the touch screen and feed some bills to start the process, The blue bin flashes red while the kiosk recharges the card, then turns blue again when done. You also get a notification on your device.
- 7-Eleven ATM Suica Cash Recharge: not as fast or convenient but 7-Eleven ATMs are plentiful nationwide and open 24/7.
The most important thing about Apple Pay recharge is making sure you have a robust network connection.
- Apple Pay Recharge requires a good network connection, if free WiFi and auto connect carrier WiFi connections are unreliable (often the case), use 4G/5G instead.
- *Cards that do not support In-app payments cannot be used for recharge. Use another card: check the Apple Pay Choose Card screen and confirm that your bank payment card supports In-app payments. If not, choose another Apple Pay card in the Choose Card screen.
- Apple Pay Enhanced Fraud Prevention. If your card is declined either at the payment terminal or in-app Suica•PASMO recharge: check with your card issuer bank as Apple Pay Enhanced Fraud Prevention may be causing them to decline payment based on Apple Pay attempts when traveling outside of your home country. From Apple: For cards with certain enhanced fraud prevention features, when you attempt an online or in-app transaction, your device will evaluate information about your Apple ID, device and location (if you have enabled Location Services) to develop fraud prevention assessments, which are used by Apple to identify and prevent fraud. Apple will share the fraud prevention assessments as well as information about your transaction (such as purchase amount, currency and date) with your payment card network for fraud prevention.
- The Apple Pay ‘ka-ching’ sound and ‘Done’ mark does not mean Apple Pay recharge is completed. Check card status: when the ‘Updating Card’ alert disappears and the Balance updates, Suica•PASMO is ready to go. If the recharge process seems stuck because of a poor network connection, cancel the recharge by clicking the sleep button and try again when you have a better connection. More Recharge hang troubleshooting here.
Always use the latest iOS and watchOS and make sure your device has a robust network connection.
Mobile Suica/Mobile PASMO Cloud Maintenance: from 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. JST daily many functionalities aren’t available, this includes adding cards, Apple Pay Recharge, using Suica•PASMO App, and suspending and removing cards from Find My iPhone and iCloud.com. Cash Recharge can be done at any time and is not affected by Cloud Maintenance.