Suica and PASMO are prepaid transit cards for Japanese nationwide rail and bus transit, for shopping and many kinds of purchases. Anybody from anywhere with iPhone 8 / Apple Watch Series 3 or later can add and use Apple Pay Suica•PASMO. Enjoy the benefits of contactless transit and payments in Japan thanks to Apple Global NFC support.
Apple Pay Suica launched in October 2016, Apple Pay PASMO launched October 2020. PASMO and Suica are identical except for commuter pass coverage.
- Add Suica•PASMO to iPhone or Apple Watch
- Inbound Tips
- Express Transit / Suica•PASMO Transit and Payments Coverage
- Battery / Network
- Apple Pay Suica•PASMO Shinkansen
- JRE POINT for Suica
- Support and Troubleshooting
Add Digital or Plastic Suica•PASMO to iPhone or Apple Watch
•Any iPhone 8 / Apple Watch 3 or later
•Apple Pay credit/debit/prepaid card already in Wallet, cards issued in your home country work fine but some Apple Pay Wallet cards might not be accepted. Set up Apple Pay with a credit/debit card if you are not using Apple Pay
•Latest iOS and WatchOS and outside of the 2am~4am JST Mobile Suica / Mobile PASMO system maintenance window
•To add a PASMO card, you need to have your Apple ID set up for two-factor authentication.
•Suica•PASMO can only exist on a single device, if you have iPhone and Apple Watch choose which one you want be your Apple Pay Suica•PASMO device. You can easily migrate cards between paired iPhone/Apple Watch.
1. Add Suica•PASMO in Wallet
Create a new Suica•PASMO card directly in Wallet without an app:
- Set iPhone Region to Japan if Suica•PASMO option does not show in the Card Type screen.
- (note: changing the region setting to Japan is only for adding Suica•PASMO and has nothing to do with using it, changing the region does not affect Apple Pay cards already Wallet and can be any region preference after adding Suica•PASMO).
- Open iPhone or Apple Watch Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”.
- Tap Continue.
- Tap Suica or PASMO.
- Select a ¥ amount to put on your card.
- Follow the steps to create a new transit card on your iPhone.
- Return Region to desired preference.
2. Transfer a plastic Suica•PASMO card: have your JR East issue Suica card or PASMO ready and the last 4 digits of the ID number on the back. Suica cards issued by Tokyo Monorail or Rinkai cannot be transferred to Apple Pay. Follow instructions and screenshots below:
- Set iPhone Region to Japan if Suica•PASMO option does not show.
- Open Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”, tap Continue, tap Suica, tap transfer existing card.
- Enter the last 4 digits of the Suica•PASMO ID number.
- If transferring My Suica/registered PASMO or Commuter Suica•PASMO enter your date of birth.
- Transfer the card by resting the top of your iPhone on the middle of the card and leave without moving it, this may take a few minutes to complete.
- The ¥500 card deposit is automatically added to the balance when the transfer is successfully completed.
- You cannot use the plastic Suica•PASMO after transferring it to iPhone.
- Return Region to desired preference.
Add or Transfer Suica•PASMO to Apple Watch: add a virtual Suica•PASMO or transfer one from iPhone with Watch app. See “Move your Suica or PASMO from your iPhone to your Apple Watch” in the Set up a Suica or PASMO card in Apple Pay support page for details.
Add Money/Recharge with Apple Pay:
- Tap Suica•PASMO card in Wallet.
- Tap Add Money.
- Choose the amount, tap Add.
- Pay with Apple Pay: select the card you want to pay from and use Face ID/Touch ID to pay. Apple Pay credit/debit/prepaid card already in Wallet including cards issued in your home country work fine but some cards might not be accepted. (Note: Japan issue Visa cards do not support in-app purchase and Recharge in Wallet, see Recharge page for details and workarounds)
Add Money/Recharge with Cash
Suica•PASMO can be recharged with Japanese cash. This is the best option for inbound visitors without an Apple Pay credit/debit card or from a country where Apple Pay is not available yet:
- Convenience Store Recharge: recharge at any convenience store cash register. Tell the store clerk “Suica/PASMO Charge”, and follow checkout screen instructions as shown on the Recharge page.
- Station Smart-Charge Kiosk: available in Tokyo area train and Metro stations shown on the Recharge page. 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.
- 7-Eleven ATM Cash Recharge: 7-Eleven ATMs are plentiful and open 24 hours.
Q: Is there any difference between using Suica or PASMO?
A: For inbound visitors Suica and PASMO are identical for transit and payments. Choose either one. PASMO has an advantage for 2 kinds of visitors:
1) Visitors without Apple Pay support in their home country
Add PASMO in Wallet without any Apple Pay credit card with PASMO App. Download and open PASMO App, follow the screenshots to add an unregistered PASMO card to Wallet with a ¥0 balance. Add a balance with cash and use Apple Pay PASMO without credit card recharge.
2) Visitors from China with Apple Pay China Union Pay cards
Apple Pay PASMO supports Wallet recharge with China Union Pay cards which Apple Pay Suica does not.
Express Transit is automatically turned on when you first add a Suica•PASMO card to Apple Pay. With Express Transit Touch ID/Face ID is not necessary, you don’t need to wake or unlock your device or open an app to use transit or make the purchase. Simply hold the top of your iPhone or display of your Apple Watch within a few centimeters of the contactless reader until you see Done and a checkmark on the display. For transit gates glide through holding iPhone just above the blue reader area:
At some store terminals you might need to select the Suica•PASMO payment option on a checkout screen before you pay (AEON), most of the time just say, “Suica” or “PASMO” to the sales clerk then hold iPhone or Apple Watch to the reader. Express Transit is secure, here are a few points to be aware of:
- Express Transit only works while Face ID/Touch ID is active. Express Transit stops working when Face ID/Touch ID is disabled. Face ID disables itself and turns off Express Transit after 5 unsuccessful face read attempts. For trouble free Express Transit use with Face ID, turn off ‘Raise to Wake’ in Settings > Display & Brightness.
- Express Transit on Apple Watch remains active for 10 minutes after taking off Apple Watch, after 10 minutes Express Transit deactivates until the Apple Watch passcode is entered.
- Suica•PASMO is a pre-paid card, it only holds the amount of money that you add to it with Apple Pay, or with cash
- Only one Suica•PASMO card can be set for Express Transit. If you have multiple cards switch the Express Transit card in Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay, tap Express Transit Card, choose a new card, then authorize with Face ID/Touch ID.
Transit and Payments Coverage
Transit: Apple Pay Suica•PASMO can be used nationwide on all major transit systems covering rail and bus. This includes compatibility with other regional transit card areas: TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, Kitaca, manaca, nimoca, Hayaken, piTaPa.
Payments: Apple Pay Suica•PASMO is also good for contactless purchases nationwide at convenience stores, vending machines, taxis and any store displaying the Transit IC or payment terminal acceptance logo marks for: Suica, PASMO, TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, Kitaca, manaca, nimoca, Hayaken.
Battery and Network
- Apple Pay Suica•PASMO works without a network connection for transit, purchases and Cash Suica Recharge.
- Use Apple Pay Suica•PASMO in Airplane mode for transit and purchase to preserve battery life, do not run out of battery with iPhone 8/X and Apple Watch before reaching your final destination.
- iPhone XS and iPhone XR and later have Apple Pay Express Transit with power reserve that works when the battery is run down. Let iPhone run down automatically into power reserve mode. You can use Apple Pay Suica•PASMO Express Transit power reserve mode up to 5 hours for transit, purchases and Cash Suica Recharge. See ‘Using Suica or PASMO on iPhone or Apple Watch in Japan’ for details.
Apple Pay Suica•PASMO Shinkansen
Suica•PASMO are the only mobile transit card in the world that can be used for both Shinkansen and regular transit. Apple Pay Suica•PASMO can be used for Shinkansen travel on all the major lines. However, Shinkansen eTickets are more about convenience over price: paper tickets usually have better discounts unless you are willing to dig deeper into the online system with Japanese issue credit cards.
There are 3 ways to use Apple Pay Suica or PASMO for Shinkansen travel:
- Eki-net Shinkansen eTicket Service: with an Ekinet account account register Apple Pay Suica•PASMO to reserve and purchase JR East Shinkansen eTickets for travel on Tohoku, Yamagata, Akita, Hokkaido, Joestsu and Hokuriku Shinkansen lines. Details on Ekinet.
- Touch and Go Shinkansen: register Apple Pay Suica for ticketless Shinkansen travel in the JR East Shinkansen Touch and Go region. Details on Touch and Go Shinkansen.
- EX App with a smartEX or Express Reserve account to reserve and purchase eTickets for travel on JR Central Tokaido (Tokyo~Osaka) and JR West Sanyo (Osaka~Hakata) Shinkansen. Details on Apple Pay Suica EX Quick Guide.
JRE POINT for SUICA
If you are in Japan and using Apple Pay Suica long term, set up a JRE POINT account and earn JRE POINT when you use Suica for transit and purchases. Use JRE POINT for free Suica Recharges.
From October 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020 the Japanese government has a cashless rebate program for using credit/debit card, prepaid e-money cards such as Apple Pay Suica and QR Code apps. JAPAN CASHLESS rebate program information here.
I will update with section with PASMO member points but it will take time as the PASMO point landscape is much more fragmented.
Express Transit Savvy Store Readers
Express Transit is great, however some old store readers are not Express Transit savvy and require Face ID/Touch ID. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Good: Fortunately, all convenience stores and almost all NFC store readers are Express Transit savvy with new readers and POS systems rapidly being deployed. Just say, “Suica” or “PASMO” to the cashier then hold iPhone to the reader. NFC readers like the ones pictured below work great.
The Bad: a few old NFC readers are not Express Transit card savvy. Older J Mups NFC readers force you to manually select the Apple Pay Suica•PASMO card in Wallet and perform Touch ID/Face ID authentication like regular Apple Pay. Be patient as transaction speed is sluggish. Be wary when you encounter the old model black JREM NFC readers pictured below on the left, new model JREM readers pictured on the right work great and are wicked fast.
The Ugly: UT1-Neo NFC readers show below are Express Transit card savvy but sensitive how iPhone/Apple Watch is held. The trick is to keep your device still until the reader beeps and ignore the Apple Pay ka-ching ‘transaction complete’ sound. UT1-Neo NFC readers are found in smaller stores and coffee shops such as Ueshima Coffee and Tsubakiya Coffee. Newer UT-X10 readers with the EMV contactless acceptance mark logo hit area work great.
Support and Troubleshooting
Apple Pay Suica•PASMO cards are linked to your Apple ID
When you sign out of iCloud, the Apple Pay Suica•PASMO Wallet card is deleted on iPhone and stored on iCloud. See Migrate Suica•PASMO to a new iPhone below to restore the card. You must sign in with the same Apple ID used to add Suica•PASMO, if you sign into iCloud with a different Apple ID than the one used to add Suica•PASMO, you cannot restore Suica•PASMO to Wallet.
Mobile Suica•Mobile PASMO Cloud Maintenance
From 12:30 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. JST daily many Suica•PASMO functions are not available: adding cards, Apple Pay Recharge, using Suica App or PASMO App, removing Suica•PASMO cards via iCloud.com.
JR East Support
JR East Suica Intro page (English)
JR East Apple Pay Suica Support (English)
JR East Apple Pay Suica Guide (PDF) (Japanese)
PASMO Support (English)
Set up a Suica or PASMO card in Apple Pay
Using Suica or PASMO in Japan
Get help transferring Suica or PASMO cards to your iPhone or Apple Watch
Information & Troubleshooting
Basic Suica•PASMO Troubleshooting
Migrate Suica•PASMO to a new iPhone
Recover Apple Pay Suica•PASMO from Lost or Wiped iPhone
Remove Suica•PASMO from Wallet but not lose Suica•PASMO
Suica•PASMO Commute Plan Renewal or Purchase
Apple Pay Suica•PASMO Commute Plan Guide
Suica•PASMO Notifications and Sounds
Suica•PASMO Notification and Reminder Settings
Suica•PASMO Gate Sounds and What They Mean
Other General Suica Topics
iPhone X NFC Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
Fixing the Suica Lockout
Apple Pay Suica Battery FUD
Suica Inbound Battery Strategies
No Foreign Transaction Fee Apple Pay Suica•PASMO
Mizuho Suica for Apple Pay
Apple Pay Express Transit with power reserve
Apple Pay Express Transit Tips
Unlocking Suica App Security Lock
Apple Pay Suica Paper Receipts
Suica Withdrawal Refund