Apple Pay Suica • PASMO Guide

Intro
Suica and PASMO are prepaid transit cards for Japanese nationwide rail and bus transit and on the go purchases. Anybody with iPhone 8 • Apple Watch 3 and later can add Apple Pay Suica or PASMO, and iOS 15 Wallet improvements makes adding one easier than ever. Enjoy the benefits of contactless transit and payments in Japan thanks to Apple Global NFC support. PASMO and Suica are identical except for commuter pass use and coverage.

Sections


Add Suica • PASMO to iPhone or Apple Watch

  • Requirements
  • iPhone 8 • Apple Watch 3 and later, latest iOS and watchOS recommended.
  • Apple Pay payment card already in Wallet, credit and debit cards issued in your home country work fine but some cards might not support in-app purchases. Set up Apple Pay with a payment card if you are not using Apple Pay.
  • Apple ID set up for two-factor authentication.
  • Outside of the 2 am~4 am JST Mobile Suica • Mobile PASMO system maintenance window.
  • Robust network connection.
  • Notes
  • Suica • PASMO cards 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 transfer cards between a paired iPhone and Apple Watch.
  • Setting the device region to Japan is not required for iOS 15 • watchOS 8 and later.
  • Add a new Suica or PASMO
    Open iPhone or Apple Watch Wallet App and tap the plus sign “+” (iPhone Wallet) or “Add Card” (Apple Watch Wallet)
  • Tap Transit Card.
  • Tap Suica or PASMO, Tap Continue
  • Select ¥ amount to add on your card and tap Add.
  • Follow the steps to create a new transit card on your iPhone.
  • If you added a Suica or PASMO card previously and removed it, re-add the card by selecting Previous Cards.
  • iOS 14 and earlier:
    Open iPhone or Apple Watch Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”.
  • Tap Continue.
  • Tap Suica or PASMO. (If Wallet does not show Suica or PASMO set iPhone region to Japan and try again)
  • Select ¥ amount to add on your card and tap Add.
  • Follow the steps to create a new transit card on your iPhone.
  • (Return iPhone region to desired preference if applicable)

Transfer a plastic SuicaPASMO card to Wallet
Have your Suica or PASMO card 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 for iOS 15 and later:

  • Open Wallet and tap the plus sign “+”, tap Continue, tap Transit, Tap Suica or PASMO, tap Continue, 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.

Transfer Suica • PASMO to Apple Watch
Transfer Suica•PASMO from iPhone with Watch app. See “Move your Suica or PASMO from your iPhone to your Apple Watch” in Set up a Suica or PASMO card in Apple Pay support page for details.


Add Money/Recharge with Apple Pay
Recharge a Suica or PASMO with Apple Pay, anytime and anywhere:

  • 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 support Apple Pay in-app purchases. (Note: Not all Japan issue Visa cards support in-app purchase and Recharge in Wallet, see Apple Pay Japan Card Guide for details )

Add MoneyRecharge 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.

More Recharge details here.


Inbound Tips
Q: Is there any difference between using Suica or PASMO?
A: Suica and PASMO are identical for transit and payments. Choose either one. The only difference applies to commuter passes. PASMO has an advantage for inbound 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.


Express Transit
Apple Pay Express Transit is automatically turned on when you first add a Suica•PASMO card to Wallet. 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. And you can use Apple Pay while wearing a face mask.

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 checkouts you might need to select the Suica•PASMO payment option on a checkout screen before you pay, 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 prepaid 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.
Wallet can hold both Suica and PASMO but only one card can be set for Express Transit

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 or payment terminal displaying the Transit IC logo or logo marks for: Suica, PASMO, TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, Kitaca, manaca, nimoca, Hayaken.



Battery and Network

Express Card Power Reserve Mode
Still good when out of juice: Apple Pay Express Transit with power reserve mode on iPhone XR/XS and later lasts up to 5 hours. You can use Express Transit power reserve mode for transit, purchase and cash recharge.


Apple Pay Suica • PASMO Shinkansen eTickets

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. There are 3 ways to use Apple Pay Suica or PASMO for Shinkansen travel:



JRE POINT

JRE POINT Beginners Guide Chart

If you are in Japan using Apple Pay Suica long term, set up a JRE POINT account and earn JRE POINT when you use Suica for transit, JR East Shinkansen trips, and store purchases. Use JRE POINT for free Suica recharges and Green Car Seat upgrades. Starting June 27, 2021 you can use and earn JRE POINT for all JR East tickets purchases via the online Eki-Net reservation service.


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 iPhone or Apple Watch completely still until the reader beeps, 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.



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 2 am to 4 am JST 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 and PASMO 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)

Apple Support
Set up a Suica or PASMO card in Apple Pay
Using Suica or PASMO in Japan
If you can’t transfer Suica or PASMO cards to your iPhone or Apple Watch

Information & Troubleshooting

General Troubleshooting
Basic Suica•PASMO Troubleshooting

Transfer/Recover/Remove Suica • PASMO
Transfer Suica•PASMO to a new iPhone or Apple Watch
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

Suica App
Unlocking Suica App Security Lock
Apple Pay Suica Paper Receipts
Suica Withdrawal Refund

General 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

Updated 8/10/2021