These are 2 ways to add money/charge/recharge/top-up Suica:
1) Apple Pay
2) Japanese Cash
Suica can hold up to ¥20,000
Apple Pay Suica Recharge
The best way to add money to Suica is Apple Pay. It’s the single most powerful convenient and unique feature of Apple Pay Suica in 4 simple steps:
- Open Wallet
- Tap Suica
- Tap “Add Money” and choose amount
- Pay with Apple Pay: select the card you want to pay from and use Face ID/Touch ID to pay, any Apple Pay Wallet credit/debit card from your home country is good for Suica 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. Cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve also earn you bonus points for transportation purchases and Suica Recharge. Find the optimum card configuration and you’ll make your money do more.
Apple Pay Suica Recharge Troubleshooting
The Apple Pay support site is short on details but the general rules are:
- Any Apple Pay card you have in Wallet is good for Suica Recharge including all Apple Pay credit cards/debit cards issued in 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: all Japanese issue VISA branded cards cannot be used for Suica Recharge with Apple Pay Wallet. Visa cards issued from other countries work fine. See Apple Pay Japan Credit Cards for the full list of Japanese issue cards that support In App Payments and Apple Pay Suica Recharge in Wallet. Japanese issue Visa card users can register the card in Suica App to use the card for Suica Recharge.
- Make sure you have a good network connection for Apple Pay Suica Recharge. The Apple Pay ‘ka-ching’ sound and ‘Done’ mark do not mean Suica Recharge is completed. Check Suica card status: when the Updating Cards alert disappears and the Balance updates, Suica is ready to go. If the recharge process seems stuck because of a poor network connection, cancel the recharge by hitting the sleep button and try again when you have a better connection. More Suica Recharge hang troubleshooting here.
- If you encounter problems check the Apple Pay Choose Card screen and confirm that your bank card support In App Payments. If you still have problems choose another Apple Pay card in the Choose Card screen, or check with your bank card issuer as 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 can be recharged with Japanese cash the following ways:
- Convenience Store Suica Recharge: you can recharge Suica at any convenience store. Go to the checkout, tell the store clerk “Suica Charge”, and follow checkout screen instructions as shown in video below.
- Station Smart-Charge Kiosk: available in Tokyo area train stations and Metro stations also shown in the video below. 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 kiosk recharges Apple Pay Suica, 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 and open 24 hours.
Always use the latest iOS and watchOS 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 can be done at any time and is not affected by Mobile Suica Cloud Maintance.