Global Apple Pay arrives with iOS 11 Apple Pay NFC switching and iPhone 8

スクリーンショット 2017-09-13 4.44.26In addition to the J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless announcement from T-Cubic, other Apple Pay benefits for Japanese users were announced by American Express. With iOS 11 Apple Pay AMEX users can now use Apple Pay Japan abroad.

7-Eleven also announced support for J/Speedy cards from JCB. Translation: 7-Eleven is rollout out support for NFC Pay with the new POS system installation starting next month. A lot of Japanese users think VISA will announce official Apple Pay Japan support soon now that NFC Pay is in place.

Apple’s support of global NFC (A-B-F) in iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3  with the NFC switching improvements in iOS 11 is a game changer. It makes Apple Pay truly global and removes the FeliCa barrier. Inbound visitors can use Suica, Japanese going abroad can use Apple Pay.

It’s unfortunate that people outside of Japan cannot fully appreciate the amazing changes that Apple is bringing to the contactless payments market with iPhone 8 and iOS 11 Apple Pay.


The big Google BGP leak that brought down Apple Pay Suica and lots more

The big August 25 internet outage in Japan that Google apologized for was always a mystery. Nobody in the media explained what caused it. Yesterday I stumbled on the answer: a massive BGP (Border Gateway Protocal) leak. BGPMon has the full story and concludes:

BGP leaks continue to be a great risk to the Internet’s stability. It’s easy to make configuration mistakes that can lead to incidents like this. In this case it appears a configuration error or software problem in Google’s network led to inadvertently announcing thousands of prefixes to Verizon, who in turn propagated the leak to many of its peers… In this case it appears Verizon had little or no filters, and accepted most if not all BGP announcements from Google which lead to widespread service disruptions.

It is very weird, and scary, that Google and Verizon can quickly halt major and important services in Japan. But that is the internet and the world we live in now.

Apple Pay Japan adds support for J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless with NFC Pay…for real


img_0046Update 9/22: The TS Cubic Apple Pay announcement  was originally released September 20 then deleted. It was released again today. I updated the original post with NFC Pay details.

Apple Pay added support for two more Japanese credit cards: JCB J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless. Both are issued under Toyota Finance Corporation’s TS CUBIC Card brand.  J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless are marketed as credit card brands specifically tailored for NFC and contactless payments. JCB issued a J/Speedy Apple Pay announcement as well.

The TS CUBIC press statement says the cards use the EMV Contactless standard but are also used “as QUICPay” with Apple Pay in Japan and require iOS 11. Japanese IT journalist Junya Suzuki reported via Twitter that J/Speedy and MasterCard Contactless both use NFC A-B not FeliCa. This appears to be a new iOS 11 Apple Pay feature that allows smart NFC A-B-F switching using the unique Apple Pay Japan device account two number scheme. This flexibility is an improvement over iOS 10 and a step towards contactless payments that ‘just work’ everywhere.

apple pay japan new
The new NFC Pay (Contactless EMV) logo is on the far left

iOS 11 and Seamless NFC
This finally solves the mystery of the new Apple Pay Japan page NFC Pay (EMV Contactless) payment system logo that appeared after the iPhone keynote. The marketing angle is that customers can use J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless cards with Apple Pay in Japan and abroad. The number of Japanese stores supporting NFC Pay is still very small but expected to grow in time to receive the flood of visitors expected for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

With iOS 11 Apple Pay improvements and NFC Pay/EMV contactless support, VISA is technically able to fully join the Apple Pay Japan parade. Next up VISA payWave aka Visa Contactless?

Using Apple Pay in Japan requires FeliCa (NFC-F) which is fully supported in iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3.

JCB J/Speedy comes to Apple Pay Japan…again

スクリーンショット 2017-09-22 16.34.35Apple Pay J/Speedy has arrived…again. After being announced and quickly pulled by card issuer Toyota Finance Corp’s T-Cubic, Apple Pay J/Speedy has been announced this time by JCB. The press release does not mention any issued cards, simply stating that Apple Pay now supports J/Speedy brand cards. Going by the deleted T-Cubic announcement Mastercard Contactless should be announcing Apple Pay support as well.

J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless use the new NFC Pay payment network based on EMV Contactless not FeliCa. The marketing angle is that customers can use the cards with Apple Pay in Japan and abroad.  The number of Japanese stores supporting NFC Pay is still very small but expected to grow in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

iOS 11 is the software requirement on iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2 devices sold in Japan, and all models of iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3.

New Apple Pay features hidden in iOS 11

Japanese IT Journalist Junya Suzuki, the top journalist covering contactless payment tech in Japan published a new piece in Engadget Japan this morning and is very much worth your time if your Japanese is up to it.

He goes into finer detail over iOS 11 Apple Pay support for NFC Pay and T-Cubics’s deleted J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless Apple Pay announcement (with a screen shot of the deleted page).

iOS 11 Apple Pay Japan credit cards have two device account numbers: one for EMV, one for FeliCa
Apple Pay credit cards in other regions such only have one device account number

In short Apple Pay Japan supports NFC Pay (EMV Contactless) in iOS 11 as I wrote yesterday using the unique Apple Pay Japan device account two number scheme for each credit card. I am not sure how much smart NFC A-B-F switching is involved in the process, but the Apple Pay-NFC Pay back-end does not appear to be ready yet.

This is one reason T-Cubic quickly pulled their September 20 Apple Pay announcement. I suspect Visa Contactless is joining the party and was another reason, probably the real one for the holdup.

The merit for Japanese users is that iOS 11 Apple Pay features allow them to use J/Speedy and Mastercard Contactless Apple Pay cards abroad. While this is convenient for NFC Pay compatible cards, it’s not yet clear if iOS 11 Apple Pay can provide the same benefit for FeliCa cards internationally as well. Perhaps it’s a backend thing.

KDDI au and NTT Docomo told Suzuki san that they are also working on NFC Pay credit card support as well but had no details at this time. It looks like there will be plenty of Apple Pay Japan announcements to look forward to in the coming weeks and months.