These are 2 ways to recharge / charge / add money to Apple Pay Suica:
1) Apple Pay
Suica can hold up to ¥20,000.
Apple Pay Suica Recharge
The best way to add money to Suica is Apple Pay. Anywhere, anytime. It’s the single most powerful convenient and unique feature of Apple Pay Suica.
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. Cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve also earn you bonus points for transportation purchases and Suica Recharge.
The Apple Pay support site is short on details but the general rules are:
- Any Apple Pay card you have loaded is good for Suica Recharge. This includes all Apple Pay compatible credit cards/debit cards issued from your home country. I have Visa cards issued from Wells Fargo and Marriott/Chase Bank that work fine for Suica Recharge. It just works.
- One exception: Japanese issue VISA branded cards cannot be used for Suica Recharge with Apple Pay. Visa cards from other countries work fine. See Apple Pay Japan Credit Cards for the full list of JP issue cards that support Apple Pay Suica Recharge in Wallet.
- With Apple Pay Suica Recharge make sure you have a decent network connection. The Apple Pay ‘ka-ching’ sound and ‘Done’ mark do not mean Suica Recharge is completed. The Wallet Suica notification is final confirmation that money has been added to Suica and is ready to use.
- If you encounter problems check with your card issuer or choose another Apple Pay card in the Choose Card screen. Location Services may be causing a fraud prevention problem. From the iOS User Guide:
If you have Location Services turned on, the location of your iPhone at the time you make a purchase (use Apple Pay) may be sent to Apple and the card issuer to help prevent fraud.
Cash Suica Recharge
Suica Smart Charge kiosks are installed at major Tokyo area JR stations and Metro stations as shown below. Simply place iPhone or Apple Watch in the blue 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 machine recharges Apple Pay Suica, then turns blue again when done. You also get a notification on your device.
You can also Suica Recharge with cash at any convenience store, simply tell the clerk “Suica Charge.”
Videos of Cash Suica Recharge at a JR station and a convenience store are shown below.
Suica Recharge with Suica App and Auto-Charge
Another Suica Recharge option is Suica App. I do not recommend Suica App recharge unless your Japanese language ability is solid. Recharge in Suica App offers maximum flexibility with Japanese and foreign issue credit cards, debit cards and pre-paid cards that are not supported in Apple Pay, as well as a Auto-Charge option with JR East View Card. To use these options you must to register a free Mobile Suica account and the credit card in Suica App. See the Suica Recharge with Suica App section in All About Suica App.
iOS 12 and later, watchOS 5 or later recommended for using Apple Pay Suica.
Mobile Suica Cloud Maintenance: from 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. JST daily many Suica functionalities aren’t available, this includes adding cards, Apple Pay Suica Recharge, using Suica App, and suspending and removing cards from Find My iPhone and iCloud.com. Cash Suica Recharge is possible during Mobile Suica Cloud Maintance.