These are 2 ways to add money/recharge/charge to 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. 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.
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.
- 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 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 and try again when you have a better connection.
- If you encounter problems check the Apple Pay Choose Card screen and confirm your card works for In App payments. If you still have problems choose another Apple Pay card in the Choose Card screen, or check with your 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 cash the following ways:
- Convenience Store Suica Recharge: simply tell the store clerk at the register “Suica Charge” and follow checkout screen instruction seen in video below.
- Smart Charge Kiosk: available at many 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.
Suica App Recharge and Auto-Charge
Another Suica Recharge option is Suica App. I do not recommend Suica App Recharge unless your Japanese language ability is good enough to navigate Japanese support in case of credit card issues. Suica App Recharge offers maximum flexibility with Japanese and foreign issue credit/debit cards and prepaid cards that are not supported in Apple Pay, as well as an Auto-Charge option for JR East View Card. To use these options you must login with a free Mobile Suica account and enter credit card in Suica App.
The latest iOS/watchOS is 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 can be done at any time and is not affected by Mobile Suica Cloud Maintance.