Apple Pay Japan Card Guide

Intro
Japan has the longest history of mobile payments on a large scale thanks to the early cooperation of NTT DOCOMO and Sony to create Mobile FeliCa and the Osaifu Keitai mobile payment platform adopted by all Japanese carriers. This standard was in place 10 years before the EMV contactless standard for credit cards came together that was the basis for Apple Pay in 2014. The pre-EMV Mobile FeliCa contactless standard means the Japanese mobile payments landscape is richer and more elaborate than anywhere else.

Inbound Apple Pay Payment Cards
Q. Do credit-debit-prepaid payment cards issued in other countries work with Apple Pay in Japan?
A. This is changing rapidly but Japanese issue cards work best for using Apple Pay in Japan. Payment cards issued in other countries only use EMV NFC and do not support FeliCa NFC based QUICPay, iD and Suica•PASMO•Transit IC payment networks.

That said, work around this limitation easily and plug Apple Pay cards from home into the Apple Pay Japan payment network.

Do this by adding Suica or PASMO to Apple Pay (any model iPhone 8 • Apple Watch Series 3 or later) and add money to Suica-PASMO with your Apple Pay payment cards from home. This is highly recommended as having both EMV and FeliCa cards in Apple Pay gives you the most payment flexibility. Apple Pay Suica-PASMO work nationwide for transit and store purchases, anywhere, anytime. You can also add nanaco and WAON e-Money cards. Problem solved.

Stores like Doutor Cafe, McDonald’s, Lawson accept NFC Pay/EMV cards. Support is growing rapidly.

Don’t say ‘Apple Pay’ and ignore the NFC reader marks
Support for Apple Pay EMV contactless payment cards is growing very rapidly. The challenge is knowing what works before checkout, there is no comprehensive online resource and store POS systems are constantly updated with new readers and software with expanded payment support.

Always check the payment acceptance marks to find out what works at checkout…and remember: the EMV logo on the reader device tap area is only the physical compatibility mark that indicates the NFC antenna location, it does not mean the store accepts EMV contactless payments.

Only when you see any of the Visa-Mastercard-Amex contactless acceptance marks at the payment terminal shown below, your corresponding Apple Pay cards from home are good for payment. Don’t say ‘Apple Pay, tell the checkout staff you want to pay using: credit” or “touch“.

EMV contactless acceptance logos
NFC Pay in action on terminal, note the acceptance logos for Visa and Mastercard contactless, the EMV reader logo on the tap area does not mean the store accepts EMV contactless. Always check the store payment acceptance logos.

Apple Pay Japan Cards

From the iOS User Guide:

Use Apple Pay at stores in Japan. You must have a model that supports Apple Pay in Japan (iPhone 8 • Apple Watch Series 3 and later) and either Suica or PASMO card, (also nanaco or WAON) or credit/debit card issued by a bank in Japan. Let the cashier know if you’re paying with Suica, PASMO, iD, QUICPay, WAON or nanaco. Simply look for the logo on your card in Wallet. To use the Suica or PASMO card that’s set as your Express Mode/Express Transit card, simply hold the top of your iPhone near the reader.

Apple Pay Japan Cards
Major Japanese plastic issue credit and debit cards on Apple Pay are listed below and can be used at stores displaying QUICPay and iD payment acceptance mark logos at checkout. Suica- PASMO, iD, QUICPay are commonly found together. NFC dual mode cards support both FeliCa and EMV payment networks for seamless Apple Pay international use are available from Mastercard, American Express, VISA and JCB, and are marked accordingly.

(Horizontal view recommended for smartphones, Recharge refers to Wallet and Suica App • PASMO App recharge, In-App refers to Apple Pay in-app and web purchase support)

Issuer Brand FeliCa EMV Recharge In-App
SMBC Cards Visa id Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“MC” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
Docomo d CARD Visa id Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
Life Card Visa id App only
“Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB id JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
AEON Visa id App only
“Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB id JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Cedyna • SMBC Finance Service Visa id Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB id JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Pocket Card Visa id App only
“Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB id JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
MerPay “Mastercard” id Wallet+App “Apple
SoftBank Visa id Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
SBI NeoBank “Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
MIRAINO CARD “Mastercard” id “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
AMEX AMEX QUICPay Amex NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Dinners Club QUICPay App only
Trust Club Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
MUFG Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
DC Card Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
Nicos Card Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
Luxury Card “Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
APLUS Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
View Card Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
J-West Card Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Yahoo Japan Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
PayPay Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Rakuten Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Orico Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
JACCS Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Saison Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
AMEX QUICPay Amex NFC Wallet+App “Apple
UC Card Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
EPOS Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
TS Cubic Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Seven Card Credit Visa QUICPay App only
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
Recruit Card Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
UCS Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay Wallet+App “Apple
JCB QUICPay Wallet+App “Apple
MICARD Visa QUICPay Visa Touch Wallet+App “Apple
AMEX QUICPay Amex NFC Wallet+App “Apple
au Wallet Credit Visa QUICPay App only
“Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
Lawson Bank “Mastercard” QUICPay “MC Wallet+App “Apple
Mizuho Debit JCB QUICPay JCB NFC Wallet+App “Apple
MUFG Debit JCB QUICPay Wallet+App “Apple
Kyash Visa QUICPay App only

The complete Apple Pay Japan list covering local bank card issue is on the Apple Pay Support Page.


Debit cards
There are 2 types of debit cards. VISA JP does not support currently support Apple Pay for debit card issue.
Digital only: ‘Smart Debit’ JCB Apple Pay cards issued via Mizuho Wallet App, MUFG App or Minna no Ginko App, bank account required. JCB Debit Apple Pay cards can be used for QUICPay (FeliCa) and JCB Touch (EMV) payments.
Digital + plastic: Sumisho SBI NeoBank has Mastercard • iD for Apple Pay

Prepaid cards
Apple Pay Japan supports au Wallet Prepaid and Docomo d Card Prepaid plastic issue cards for adding to Apple Pay Wallet. There are also instant Wallet issue digital only prepaid cards via 3rd party apps: Toyoto Wallet (iD + Mastercard or QUICPay + JCB), Line Pay (iD + VISA) , T-MONEY (iD + Matercard), SMBC V Point Prepaid (iD + VISA). Like digital only debit Apple Pay cards, digital only prepaid cards require an app account and can only be added to Wallet with their respective app.

e-Money cards
Apple Pay WAON and Apple Pay nanaco e-Money cards joined the Apple Pay Japan lineup October 21, 2021. Wallet supports direct creating and transferring WAON and nanaco cards. WAON and nanaco require iPhone 8 or later running iOS 15, Apple Watch 3 or later running watchOS 8 and Apple ID set up for two-factor authentication. See the Apple Support page for adding eMoney cards to iOS 15 Wallet.

Outbound Tips
If you work and live in Japan and plan to use Apple Pay regularly, rearrange your credit/debit card collection to fit your needs:

  1. Apple Pay Suica Users
    If you are a daily Suica commuter, sign up for the Bic Camera JCB VIEW Card and link it with a Bic Camera Point Card number. Next, get a JRE POINT Card and setup an JRE POINT account to tie Suica, VIEW Card and JRE POINT together into one supercharged point package. You will quickly rack up substantial JRE POINT and Bic Camera Store points just by using and recharging Apple Pay Suica with View Card and using VIEW for credit card purchases.
  2. Outbound Apple Pay
    You can use a Japanese issue cards for Japanese and overseas Apple Pay dual mode use, Docomo d Card Mastercard is a good choice for Docomo customers with a low annual fee. Mastercard issue cards from au Wallet, TS Cubic and JACCS are also good options.

Mastercard is an excellent overall choice for Japanese issue cards. Mastercard gives you the best foreign exchange rates when traveling abroad, and Mastercard has robust dual mode (EMV/FeliCa) Apple Pay support for seamless use in Japan and abroad. Be sure to check Mastercard contactless dual mode support (NFC Pay) in the list above.

Updated: 2022-09-29