Thoughts on Google Pay Suica

Investor-writer Ichiro Yamamoto shares his Thoughts on Google Pay Suica on Yahoo Japan. If you ever need proof that Keio University Business School grads can be idiots look no further. Instead of getting his facts straight, Yamamoto san feels Google’s pain and blames the Google Pay Suica debacle not on Google, but on the FeliCa / Osaifu-Keitai standard because it is “Japanese” and not “Global”. Yes folks another ‘FeliCa must die because it’s proprietary’ rant. How 1990s can you get? I guess Yamamoto san is invested in Alphabet.

Yamamoto san then goes completely off the rail saying that Japanese iPhone Apple Pay cannot be used abroad and that QR Codes are shaping up to be the future of a cashless economy.

Ichiro Yamamoto Yahoo Japan
Yamamoto san says Apple Pay Japan can only be used by ‘Japanese iPhones’.

What a load of crap. I guess Yamamoto san never heard the news about Global FeliCa iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch 3. I guess he never heard of NFC Switching or used a Japanese iPhone X Apple Pay d CARD to buy things in America. Yes Yamamoto san, it does work:

A lot of “experts” make the mistake of mixing up the open global NFC hardware standard (NFC A and NFC-F are required) with the proprietary software stacks that run digital wallets: EMV, FeliCa, MIFARE, etc. Smartphone manufacturers will always have to license  software stacks and keys to make digital wallets work. There is no free ride.

What it comes down to is that Apple can create and sell a smartphone that is truly ‘Global’ and Apple Pay just works everywhere because Apple owns the software and hardware.

Android smartphone makers have yet to take up the challenge to make a global Android phone and actually sell it globally. Google isn’t going to help them.

The iPhone X Suica Golden Boy

1️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Q&A Exchange Guide
2️⃣ iPhone X Suica問題Q&A交換ガイド (Japanese)
3️⃣ Apple Denial and iPhone X Users
4️⃣ iPhone X Suica Problem Index


The ongoing iPhone X Suica Problem is, well, a continuing problem for many. But not all! Twitter user yuya-310 has been a loyal reader sharing his iPhone X Suica problems and thoughts. He alerted me to the XPERIA Z5 Suica problem which suspiciously resembles the iPhone X problem, he thought it might be related to the OLED power saving function part of iOS 11 for iPhone X unique to X hardware.

An iPhone X exchange at the Omotesando Genius Bar did not fix my Suica problem, 4 other readers told me their iPhone X exchange didn’t work for them either. Despite the negative reports yuya-310 bit the bullet and exchanged his iPhone X on May 14. He has not experienced a single Apple Pay Suica error since.

Do we have a winner? Time will tell but 3 weeks of daily problem free iPhone X Suica use, with an iOS upgrade to boot, is good enough for me. Congratualtions yuya! But why did his iPhone X exchange fix the Suica problem while everybody else lost out?

iPhone X Apple Pay Suica Problem Hardware or Software?

A few things to consider:

  • iPhone 8/8 Plus do not have the Suica problem
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus/iPhone X all use the same NXP NFC chip
  • The iPhone X OLED screen and battery are considerably different from iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus
  • There are separate iOS 11 builds, one for iPhone 8/iPhone 8 Plus and one for iPhone X

Because they all use the same NXP chip and because iPhone 8/8 Plus do not have the Suica problem, we can eliminate the NXP Chip, Mobile FeliCa stack and Suica stack from the iPhone X Suica problem matrix. This leaves us with the different screen, the different battery and the unique iOS 11 build of iPhone X. The screen or battery or something else might use slightly modified parts and revised drivers that are different from early iPhone X production units.

There is also the possibility that iPhone X production quality is uneven with good and bad NFC iPhone X models rolling off the assembly line with Apple Q&A unable to spot the difference. This kind of scenario is a whole different kettle of fish and I think highly unlikely.

Only Apple engineers know the answer. Let’s hope they find the answer and solution for all iPhone X Suica users sooner than later. We deserve to be golden boy winners too.

How to Use Suica with Apple Pay when Traveling to Japan

How to use Suica with Apple Pay


I love reading inbound Apple Pay Suica user experiences, there are always new insights and observations to learn about. Mason Simon has posted a helpful Apple Pay Suica guide, far simpler and easier than my overgrown one.

His problem with a USA iTunes Store account/Apple Music subscription gumming up his attempt to add plastic Suica sounds like an edge case, and one that I have never heard of before, but the Apple ID/iCloud/credit card account region setting thing has given me problems with iMessage.

Mason says,

You can also designate one of your virtual Suica’s to be your “express” card. You must do this…Not “must” like it’s necessary. “Must”, like, you have no idea how amazing this is.

It is amazing. Once you get used to Apple Pay Suica it spoils you forever. Using Apple Pay outside of Japan just isn’t as fast or fun.

Japan Transit IC Card Daily Transactions Top 7 Million

Japan Transit IC card daily transactions top 7 million

The Japan Transit IC Card Association announced that daily Transit IC card e-money transactions, which include e-money purchases with plastic transit cards, Apple Pay Suica and Mobile Suica, have topped 7 million. The growth curve is a good indication of the power of a transit platform like Suica when matched with a digital wallet platform like Apple Pay.

More Google Pay Suica MIA

Apple Pay Suica transaction list includes transitJapanese Twitter users are posting lots of interesting details and the list of Google Pay Suica limitations continues to grow: one Suica per phone, no Suica Commuter support, no Shinkansen e-tickets, Google Pay Suica transaction records only cover purchases, not transit, and so on.

Is this a HCE-F limitation thing to keep the JP carriers happy?

Osaifu-Keitai Android users will continue to rely on the Mobile Suica app to cover the functions that Google Pay Suica does not support.

Google Pay Suica only records purchase transactions not transit