Android 10 devices: the Osaifu Keitai supported devices list is limited to modern Android 10 devices that support multiple transit cards (Suica + PASMO + ICOCA) with only one card set as the default ‘Express Transit’ card.
WESTERID required: this new point system + single ID for multiple JR West online services was put in place just for Mobile ICOCA and a registered account is required for Mobile ICOCA. Similar to JRE POINT, users earn points from transit use, recharge and purchases at participating stores. WESTER POINT to Mobile ICOCA recharge is built in and self contained, more streamlined than JRE POINT app to Suica app recharge. J-WEST credit cards earn the most WESTER POINT for recharge and commute plan purchase.
Users can register 3-D Secure 2.0 credit cards for recharge in the Mobile ICOCA app but ‘some foreign issue cards’ are not supported (looking at you foreign issue VISA)
No wearables (Garmin, Fitbit, etc.) yet, Apple Watch will be first hopefully followed by WearOS devices later
No auto-charge support…a real pain point, stick with plastic if you want this feature.
Mobile Commute Plans: most regular and university student commute plans are supported including JR West + Osaka Metro/Hankyu/Keihan/Nankai/Hanshin routes, but other commute plan types/routes are not. These include, FREX Shinkansen plans, HS/JHS student plans (launching on Mobile Suica and PASMO March 18), disability discount commute plans, bus and trolley routes, and routes that include the JR West Tsuruga~Ishikawa Hokuriku line that will transfer from JR West to third sector ownership in 2024. Stand alone ICOCA commuter passes for Hankyu, Keihan, Osaka Metro routes that do not include JR West lines are not supported.
Suica and PASMO together account for roughly 80% of all Japanese transit card issue, ICOCA added in makes that 90%. In other words, 90% of the issued transit card market has mobile service. It will be very interesting to see how the Mobile ICOCA migration works out. I’ll update this post with details as they become available.
Notice: The VISA payment network is blocking foreign issue VISA credit cards for Apple Pay In-App use with Suica, PASMO, ICOCA. Apple Pay Wallet users cannot add or rechargeSuica, PASMO, and ICOCA cards with foreign issue VISA credit cards, attempts to add money to the card in Wallet result in a ‘Payment Not Completed’ error shown below:
The issue has been ongoing since early August 2022. Use Mastercard, AMEX credit cards, UnionPay credit cards for adding money to Apple Pay Suica, PASMO, ICOCA in Wallet app. More foreign issue credit and debit cards work for Apple Pay Suica than PASMO or ICOCA. Here’s the current situation based on online user feedback:
Non-JP VISA: credit cards are blocked by VISA for adding money to Suica, PASMO, ICOCA. Some credit cards may work sporadically but only temporarily. Some VISA debit cards work for adding money to Suica: DKB, Hyundai Zero, ANZ. Boursorama, Revolut and WISE work depending on the country of the account, no other issuers confirmed though more seem to be working over time. Non-JP Mastercard: cards work for adding money to Suica, some credit cards are not working for PASMO depending on the issuer. Some debit cards may be limited by the ATM withdrawal limit. Mastercard is not currently working for adding money to ICOCA. Non-JP AMEX: cards work for adding money to Suica, PASMO, ICOCA. UnionPay: cards work for adding money to Suica, PASMO, ICOCA.
Pass-through workaround option for inbound VISA card users from EU • UK (VISA credit and debit), US (VISA debit only): link VISA with a Curve Mastercard added to Apple Pay Wallet to add money to Suica indirectly with VISA.
New developments will be posted to this page, feedback from users is much appreciated.
Recharge and Network Issues The majority of Apple Pay Suica • PASMO issues are due to poor network connection issues, usually when using free WiFi, auto-connect carrier WiFi, or in crowded areas with maxed out mobile connectivity. Always make sure your device has a robust internet connection when recharging in Wallet app or using Suica or PASMO apps.
When recharging a Suica or PASMO card with a poor network connection, Wallet appears to hang during the process. When recharge fails or hangs, don’t panic. Cancel the recharge process by hitting the sleep button, then check to make sure iPhone has a robust network connection: turn off WiFi and use 4G • 5G. Toggle Airplane Mode on and off to clear a bad mobile connection. When you have confirmed a robust network connection try recharge again.
One important thing to remember about recharge: if you see failed charges on your credit or debit card, these are temporary charges that are not processed and automatically resolved by the Mobile Suica • PASMO • ICOCA system during the 2 am ~ 4 am JST nightly system maintenance period. Temporary charges on your card are erased but they may not show immediately depending on your card company system, contact your card company to confirm.
If you still have recharge hang problems do this first:
Make sure you have the latest iOS • watchOS installed
Restart iPhone or Apple Watch and make sure they are paired
Make sure your iPhone has a robust internet connection.
Make sure you are not in the Mobile Suica / Mobile PASMO / Mobile ICOCA 1 am~5 am JST maintenance window.
It’s also a good idea to check Apple’s Japanese System Status page to make sure Apple Pay & Wallet services are online and not experiencing local region issues.
If you still have recharge issues follow these additional steps (note that you cannot do these steps if you are in transit and have not tapped out at your final destination):
Confirm that you are logged into the same Apple ID used to add Suica • PASMO • ICOCA
Open Wallet > select Suica, PASMO or ICOCA > tap the more button ‘…’ > scroll to the bottom of the card > tap ‘Remove this card’.
Wait 5 minutes.
Tap add card ‘+’ in Wallet, tap Previous Cards in Add to Wallet screen
Select your Suica, PASMO or ICOCA in the Previous Cards screen, tap Continue.
In Add Card the Suica, PASMO or ICOCA you removed from Wallet should be showing with the balance, tap Next to complete.
If recharge still fails, download and open Suica App or PASMO App. It may display an error number or a red exclamation mark. Tap the red explanation mark if you see one on the card, then tap ‘OK’.
This operation will clear most error problems. Give it 10 minutes or so to clear the problem.
When the card remove operation appears hung If the Suica•PASMO•ICOCA card removes from Wallet but appears hung as “Removing/Deleting” in the iCloud device list, or if Wallet says the card cannot be removed because it is “In Transit”, sign out of Apple ID on your iPhone, restart the device, then login with the same Apple ID.
Card Unavailable Message In some cases you may get a Card Unavailable screen when attempting to re-add Suica•PASMO in Wallet:
This means there are some issues that the Mobile Suica / Mobile PASMO systems will clear during the maintenance period. Simply wait for the end of the next 2 am~4 am JST maintenance window, then re-add the card.
**Troubleshooting notice for Apple Pay Commuter Suica users: Suica App 3.0 introduced a new process when re-adding Commuter Suica cards. There are cases when re-adding a Commuter Suica to Wallet the stored fare balance will be 0. Don’t panic if this happens, your stored fare balance is not lost. This is done so that commuter passes can be re-added and used immediately even if there are remaining stored fare issues to fix during the Mobile Suica nightly maintenance reset. The previous stored fare balance is restored manually via the Suica Pocket option in Suica App and will show up as a Suica App notification.
Bricked iPhone If your iPhone or Apple Watch becomes bricked due to damage the first step is following the same steps for a lost or wiped device: login to your Apple ID account on the web or from another trusted Apple ID device and remotely delete the Apple Pay cards from the bricked device.
Restoring Suica etc. is exactly the same as transferring Suica to a new iPhone. Once you successfully delete the card on the bricked device and are ready to restore the card to a new device, simply add the card using the iOS 15 or later Wallet app Previous Cards category.
Mobile Suica account users also have the option to reissue the Suica from a bricked device via the Mobile Suica members site. Once signed in you can check the online status and balance of the Suica card. Select the reissue option and follow the instructions. Users can also quit Mobile Suica and refund the remaining card balance to a Japanese bank account with a ¥220 handling fee.
Transit Gate Issues When exiting the last station the user failed to tap correctly. The gate will flash red with an alert sound but sometimes the user continues on leaving the Suica card status as ‘in transit’. The next time you enter a transit gate it flashes red with an alarm sound. Take your iPhone to the station attendant and they will reset it but they will have to deduct fare from your previous trip to reset the card. Be aware that you must do this at the station of the same company line used for the last trip. Suica, PASMO, ICOCA cards cannot be used again until you have settled the fare. You cannot at any station or different company line.
If you enter a transit gate with Suica but exit outside of the Suica/PASMO region, you will have to pay cash fare for the entire trip. The station attendant will give you a piece of paper validating that you paid the fare. When you are in the Suica/PASMO region again, give the paper and iPhone to a station attendant and they will reset it for you.
Mobile Suica Operational Hours (24 hour format) Operational times for specific functions are listed. All times are Japan Standard Time (JST) Basic services run 22 hours from 4:00 (am) to 2:00 (am), with a 2 hour system maintenance window. Special system maintenance schedules and other important Mobile Suica system info is posted here (Japanese only). Mobile PASMO and Mobile ICOCA operational hours are the same.
Account Registration 04:00~02:00 Create new Mobile Suica account 05:00~00:50 Register and transfer Suica commuter pass to Mobile Suica account
Stored Fare Balance 04:00~02:00 Wallet App or Suica App recharge* *(Cash recharge at stations, 7-11 ATMs, convenience stores is always available 24/7) 04:00~02:00 Auto-Charge registration/change settings/cancel (VEIW CARD) 05:00~00:50 View transaction history in Suica App 05:00~00:50 Download PDF receipts from Mobile Suica members site
Suica Commute Plans 05:00~23:45 Purchase, renew, refund or change commute plan route
Suica Green Car Tickets 04:00~00:50 Purchase Green Car Tickets in Suica App 05:00~00:50 Refund Green Car Tickets in Suica App
Suica Day Pass 05:00~23:45 Purchase Day Pass in Suica App 05:00~23:45 Refund Day Pass in Suica App
Other 05:00~23:45 Mobile Suica reissue 04:00~02:00 Transfer Suica to new device 05:00~23:45 Suica withdrawal refund
If I had an Australian dollar for every online complaint of Mobile myki, the mobile version of Public Transport Victoria’s (PTV) myki transit card in the Melbourne region, I could probably purchase a nice bit of property there. Reddit forums regularly erupt with mobile myki mind melting nonsense, invariably bashing Apple for refusing to put myki in Apple Pay because Apple ‘doesn’t support HCE’ or because they charge a ‘30% commission’. Neither of them true. myki is MIFARE which has never used HCE and Apple Wallet already supports lots of MIFARE transit cards.
The whole HCE thing is a straw man anyway: embedded secure elements (eSE) are standard on NFC smartphone chips these days. The reason why Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM) chose HCE for Smart Navigo on Android for example, had nothing to do with Android devices lacking an eSE, it was simply that IDFM didn’t want to deal with Android manufacturer ‘gatekeepers’. Imagine the nightmare of asking every Android manufacture to issue firmware updates for older devices to support Calypso on the eSE. There was no chance in hell they would listen or do it for free, so IDFM and Calypso spent a lot of time and money creating a special HCE version of Calypso, that doesn’t support Express Transit Mode, just for Android (but not for Samsung Pay devices which use native eSE and support Express Transit Mode).
Why IDFM and Calyspso did this is all you need to know about the chaotic mess that is Android NFC. When Smart Navigo comes to Apple Wallet later this year, it will run on iPhone 8/Apple Watch 3 and later without a hitch in full Express Transit Mode glory because firmware, eSE and software are upgraded in a single iOS update. That’s the advantage of having a good gatekeeper who’s on the job.
As for the 30% commission straw man, Apple Pay doesn’t ‘charge a commission’ for using transit cards, they only take a negotiated commission when a credit card is used to add money to the transit card. Why PTV and Apple haven’t reached an agreement yet is a mystery, but judging from myki user complaints, the mobile myki backend system might not be up to Apple’s user experience high-bar. And the myki system is about to get much more complicated: PTV is hitting the reset button.
Open loop envy PTV has Opal open loop envy and want EMV contactless cards to replace most of myki. This is certainly doable but there is the issue of the native MIFARE myki already on mobile. Oyster and Opal cards are MIFARE too but those systems added EMV contactless support as the foundation for ‘mobile’, relegating MIFARE as legacy plastic. By doing this they offloaded the card issuing operation to VISA/Mastercard/AMEX card issuers, who already have digital card systems in place and agreements with digital wallet operators. myki having come this far with mobile however is going to be a real juggling act, can PVT, or whoever wins the service contract, keep all the service balls in the air while going forward?
There is also the problem of Express Transit Mode support. Look carefully at Apple Express Transit Mode small print and you’ll notice that mobile EMV and mobile MIFARE transit card Express Transit Mode don’t coexist on the same system. It’s one or the other, never both. I suspect a smart Express Mode that chooses the right transit card for the job depends on smart modern transit gate reader hardware with the latest firmware and updated backend software. Getting the latest, greatest transit gates/readers installed takes time and money. Mostly money. Buckle up myki users, it’s going to be a bumpy ride to mobile transit card nirvana.
Once in a while I get a surge of traffic from reddit and like to see which post was linked and the attached discussion. This was very hard to do before reddit added comment searches and even so it takes a few days before a new entry shows up in search results. The latest one was about iPhone X and NFC.
Question: What’s the difference between X and XS ? Which is better ? My second question: Recently I bought an X Japanese Version. Is it different from regular X ??
Answer 1: X to XS is Just a small minor cpu upgrade and minor antenna fixes making the iPhone bottom speaker/microphone holes assymetrical, if you bought a X from Japan and are planning to use it for commuting using apple pay there, make sure to check the production date, pre2018 iPhone X has a suica gate problems that got fixed with the Rev B iPhone X. iPhone X suica problem
Answer 2: Also, all Japanese iPhones have a different NFC reader, so they won’t work with non Japanese tap and pay terminals and other NFC points, eg on public transit and similar
Yikes, all the good and bad of reddit in one post. The question is a good one but the good natured answers are equally helpful and utterly misleading.
Answer 1 is a little off in that bad iPhone X NFC was not a Suica problem, NFC was unreliable across the board regardless of type (A-B-F) or protocol (EMV, FeliCa, etc.), with iPhone X NFC crapping out completely later on (after AppleCare expired naturally). The Rev B thing was just my made up name for units manufactured after April 2018 with reliable NFC. And even though most people have moved on to newer iPhone models with much superior NFC performance, the big bad iPhone X NFC problem continues to haunt users. For me, with 3 replacements and a lot of headaches, iPhone X was the worst iPhone ever. iPhone X users deserved a NFC repair program but never got one because at the time Apple Pay Express Transit was only available in Japan. Apple at its Tim Cookian worst.