Apple Pay transit cards (Suica, PASMO, and ICOCA) and e-Money cards (WAON and nanaco) are different from Apple Pay payment cards in that a transit or e-Money card prepaid stored value, the card balance, is stored locally on the card itself and can only exist on a single device. Apple Pay credit/debit cards coexist simultaneously on multiple devices, not Suica, PASMO, ICOCA and other transit cards like Octopus, Clipper, SmarTrip, TAP, or e-Money cards like nanaco and WAON. There are 2 ways to transfer cards: automatic transfer with iOS 17 Setup Assistant and manual transfer in Wallet app.
Automatic card transfer with iOS 17 Quick Start Setup Assistant Quick Start device to device data transfer is the best way to setup a new iPhone. iOS 17 Set Assistant automatically transfers all payment, transit, e-Money cards, and other Wallet items from the old iPhone to the new iPhone. It’s easy to do and highly recommended.
The Apple support pageAdd a Suica, PASMO, or ICOCA card to Apple Walletis updated for iOS 17 and covers moving cards in the Transfer your transit Suica, PASMO, or ICOCA card between devices section. Place the previous iPhone near the new iPhone. The Setup Assistant Wallet section lets you select Wallet cards to transfer in the ‘Make This Your New iPhone’ prompt screen. Either select the Wallet items you want to transfer or leave it up to Set Assistant. Setup Assistant automatically transfers Wallet items to the new iPhone. As always, make sure all devices have a good internet connection.
Manual card transfer in Wallet app Users can manually transfer cards from the previous iPhone Wallet app to the new iPhone simply by adding it from Previous Cards. The old pre-iOS 17 ‘Suica 2-step’ requirement of manually removing Suica from the old device before transfer is irrelevant and unnecessary.
Once transfer is complete, the previous card will remain visible in the Wallet app showing ‘This card cannot be used’. The card can be safely removed, you can also safely wipe the device.
Transfer Suica from previous Apple Watch to new Apple Watch Apple Watch Suica users upgrading to a new Apple Watch is easy with watchOS 10. From the Set up your Apple Watch • Set up as new or restore from a backup section: If you’ve set up another Apple Watch with your current iPhone, a screen appears that says Make This Your New Apple Watch. Tap Apps & Data and Settings to see how Express Setup will configure your new watch. Then tap Continue. If you want to choose how your new watch is set up, tap Customize Settings. Then choose a backup from another previous Apple Watch to restore.
You can also add cards manually in Wallet as outlined in the previous iPhone section via Previous Cards.
What about Suica App and other card apps?
If your Suica, PASMO, ICOCA or e-Money card is registered in the coressponding app, your account and password information will migrate to the new device like any regular iOS app when using device to device data transfer. The apps will automatically pick up the card information from Wallet but you will need to login to access the card app account. If you deleted the app before device to device data transfer, you will need to manually enter account and password information to login when re-adding the app. See the Suica App and PASMO App guide for account setup details.
e-Money card apps ask for the Japanese mobile number used for registering the card in the app and send a verification code via SMS.
Robust network connection is extremely important! Make sure all devices have a good WiFi or mobile connection and confirm you are outside of the 2am~4am JST Mobile Suica • Mobile PASMO system maintenance window. Do not use free WiFi or carrier auto-connect WiFi, they are notoriously unreliable.
Suica, PASMO, ICOCA card ID number changes The Suica or PASMO card ID number may change when transferred to a new iPhone or Apple Watch Wallet. Linked services like EX App (smartEX and Express Reservation), Touch and Go Shinkansen and JR East Ekinet Shinkansen eTickets stop working when the Suica, PASMO, ICOCA ID number changes and users must manually update information with each linked service account to re-link services with the new ID #. For Suica and PASMO getting full ID number requires a transit card issuer app such as Suica or PASMO app, ICOCA displays the full ID number in Wallet card details.
The first thing to do if you have lost your iPhone is put the device in Lost Mode from another device using the same Apple ID or iCloud.com. Lost Mode disables Apple Pay on the device. If you find your iPhone, great, but how can you recover your Suica card when your old iPhone is either lost or wiped and you want to add Suica to a new iPhone?
No matter what the situation, Apple Pay iCloud keeps your transit card (Suica, PASMO, ICOCA, Octopus, Clipper, SmarTrip, TAP, HOP, China T-Union) or e-Money card (WAON and nanaco) stored value information safe on iCloud until you are ready to add the card again. The steps below use Suica but apply to all Apple Pay stored value cards.
Remove cards from the device If iPhone is lost or wiped, remove the cards. If you have another device with the same Apple ID, go to settings > tap Apple ID > select device if is it showing, tap Remove Items in the Wallet & Apple Pay section. If you do not have another device go to Apple ID, and sign in with the same Apple ID used for the Apple Pay device, select Devices > select the lost or stolen iPhone > select Remove Items in the Wallet & Apple section.
Restore Suica Restoring Suica, PASMO, and ICOCA is exactly the same as transferring Suica to a new iPhone. Once you successfully delete the card on the lost iPhone, or if you have wiped iPhone and want to restore the card to a new iPhone, simply re-add the card: tap Add Card “+” > tap Previous Cards, select the card you want to add and tap Continue.
Card Already Exists in Wallet error If for some reason you are having difficulty re-adding Suica, PASMO, ICOCA, WAON, nanaco to iPhone and see and a Wallet error message, “this card already exists in Wallet,” in the last step of the adding process: sign out of iCloud, restart the device and sign back into iCloud with the same Apple ID. This will clear any problems.
Card Unavailable error If you see ‘Card Unavailable’ it means the card is fine but there are some issues that the Suica, PASMO, ICOCA, WAON, nanaco systems need to clear during the offline nightly maintenance window. Simply wait for the end of the next maintenance window: 2am~4am Japan Standard Time, or 24 hours, then re-add the card.
Mobile Suica has had a rough 2 weeks. On June 24 a construction error during server center power supply expansion work left JR East Mobile Suica and Eki-Net online reservation services offline for 12 hours (0:00~12:00). It was an embarrassing mishap but the actual damage was small, limited to refunding Eki-Net ticket holders who couldn’t change ticket reservations. Mobile Suica was offline so no refunding was necessary because nobody could use the Mobile Suica credit card recharge service. No need to refund what people can’t buy.
A shorter but much more problematic outage happened on June 27. Media mistakenly reported that Mobile Suica was down but this was not the case as Mobile Suica on Android was working just fine. It was an Apple Pay problem: Apple Pay servers went down from heavy demand on Apple Pay ICOCA launch day, taking down not only Apple Pay Suica recharge but also PASMO, ICOCA, nanaco, WAON, Octopus, China T-Union, adding credit cards and other Wallet services worldwide. As the outage took place during the Japanese business day, JR East had to refund iOS Suica App users who attempted to buy or use Suica Green Car tickets during the Apple Pay outage.
Just as things were settling down, another even shorter 40 minute period of trouble occurred on July 8 at 12:00~12:40 JST. Again the media reported that Mobile Suica was down, again they were mistaken, and again it wasn’t an JR East or Mobile Suica problem, it was a much wider, and unreported, EMV credit card payment network outage. EMV transactions on readers everywhere were not responding, and they were not working for Apple Pay or Google Pay. However FeliCa payment network cards were working.
And finally there was, yet another, Apple Pay and Wallet outage on July 14 from 17:45 to 18:30 JST, with another round of Japanese media bashing poor old Mobile Suica without checking for the wider Apple Pay outage.
Mobile Suica caught the media blame because they were the only company duly reporting the problems on Mobile Suica support SNS services. JR East never lays an outage blame on Apple Pay, or any other service partner because they know Mobile Suica users don’t care, they only want to know when things are not working and when they will be fixed. This is the way it should be done because they are giving their users fast, accurate, service information…even if that means they have to take the media and SNS blame that comes with it.
But despite all the Mobile Suica outages including the EMV payment network one, the Suica card itself always remained working, both digital or plastic versions. As long as there is money on the card it works for transit and payments, and cash recharge is available 24/7. This is an under appreciated but very important aspect of the Transit IC system: there is always a non-network fail safe cash backup. Japanese never put all their household finances in one basket, cash is always the one thing that works after an earthquake, typhoon, natural or manmade infrastructure damaging disaster strikes.
In the EMV credit card payment network outage there was, without doubt, unreported trouble with open loop system test deployments on Nankai, Fukuoka Metro and other QUADRAC • stera transit operated systems, which all open loop systems in Japan use: it’s the only open loop player in town.
Unlike Mobile Suica however, when the credit card payment processing network goes down, open loop doesn’t have a fail safe cash backup. And while that’s not a problem now with small installation test sites and a tiny user base, it will be when open loop goes big time. The transit companies deploying open loop have an obligation to take care of their customers, but will they take JR East-like responsibility when QUADRAC goes down, or stera goes down, or NTT Data CAFIS, payment processing centers, or mobile carrier networks? Because believe me they will. All highly connected, interdependent networks do. That’s why we always need alternative methods and networks. Too bad that VISA is working to remove the non-EMV transit gate competition in Japan.
Now that WWDC23 has come and gone, it’s time to take stock of what’s changed, and what’s not, for all things iOS 17 Apple Pay and Wallet. On the surface nothing much appears to have changed. Despite some lame last minute Wallet predictions from Mark Gurman, nothing much has changed in the iOS 17 Wallet UI, only a few modest tweaks for the iOS 17 life cycle. But just like iOS 15 Wallet, the fun stuff that tells us what’s happening and how it will play out over the digital wallet landscape in the years to come is hiding below the surface.
One of the things nobody has noticed or pointed out is the interesting connection with the iOS 17 compatible device list and the embedded secure element (eSE). Let’s take a look.
The power reserve secure element iPhone difference iOS 17 clears out the last of what I call embedded secure element v1 iPhone models, iPhone 8 and iPhone X, that do not support Power Reserve. The importance of Power Reserve eSE v2 cannot be overstated: eSE v2 handles Apple Pay transaction process completely independent of iOS. This is why iOS can power down into power reserve mode and let eSE v2 continue to handle Express Mode transactions. iOS 17 code no longer has to babysit the whole Apple Pay and Secure Element transaction process that previous iOS versions had to do for eSE v1 iPhones.
With these legacy devices cleared out, we are left with eSE v2 iPhone models. What can iOS 17 do without all that legacy eSE v1 support cruft? A lot evidently, the old 16 Wallet card limit is gone, blown to bits. The sky is the limit, actually the eSE memory is the limit and that’s a lot because iOS 17 beta users are adding way more than 16 Wallet cards, even more than 40. Card and payments ‘otaku‘ in Japan are rejoicing of course but why is Apple doing this? What’s the point?
Wallet needs secure element space obviously because Apple’s long term strategy has lined up big end user services encompassing payment cards, transit cards, digital keys for home, office and hotels, driver’s licenses and eventually all kinds of IDs including passports. Apple has also lined up merchant side services: Tap to Pay on iPhone, and now Tap to Present ID on iPhone. More on those in a bit. All of these services need eSE space. But there’s more: when iOS 17 beta 1 eSE memory becomes full and the user tries to add a new card, Wallet presents a new screen that displays a list of installed cards, how much memory they consume and the option to swipe delete cards:
If people are looking for evidence that Apple is preparing iOS for EU regulatory purgatory, this is it. Letting customers deal with an overcrowded eSE instead of iOS taking care of everything is…very un-Apple like. Let’s face it, who the heck knows or cares what a Secure Element is?
Apple has cleared the eSE deck for mandated ‘open NFC’ (which really means open eSE) regulation. Apple has an iOS that no longer has to manage and police eSE transactions, if so forced iOS 17 can step aside. Side loaded apps and similar can load whatever eSE applets they want and do their own thing. If they stomp on somebody else’s eSE applets and create mayhem at the payment terminal, well that’s the price of government regulations that remove Apple as eSE gatekeeper. Let users deal with the mess of managing which cards can be safely loaded into the eSE. Dear EU iPhone user…welcome to the Android NFC experience.
Multi-device provisioning Thanks to the streamlined, modern eSE v2, iOS 17 Wallet has an important tweak: multi-device provisioning. All the other ‘new’ iOS 17 Wallet features simply build off of what’s already there and are currently limited to the USA only Apple Card and Apple Cash. Multi-device provisioning is for everybody and will make the Wallet user experience much easier, though most people will never know why. One of the easiest ways to see it in action is that Wallet Previous Cards will display any cards that are on one device but not the other. The Previous Cards Wallet screenshot above shows the transit cards (Suica, PASMO) and e-Money card (WAON) on Apple Watch but not on iPhone.
Stored value cards keep the value on the card itself and can only exist on a single device. This has been caused a lot of confusion over the years for Apple Pay Suica users who assume that all cards work like credit cards and be on all devices. Users panicked when they upgraded to a new iPhone but Setup Assistant didn’t transfer Suica: pre-iOS 17 Setup Assistant only transferred credit cards. Thanks to iOS 17 multi-device provision powered Setup Assistant, everything transfers seamlessly, credit cards, transit cards, keys, ID, etc., so that you don’t have to. Manually moving transit cards in Wallet is much simpler too as users don’t have to remove cards from the previous device anymore.
Features like multi-device provisioning that make Apple Pay and Wallet so easy to use, are very hard to do. It is the greater sum of the parts that will keep customers, and developers too, choosing to stay with Apple as gatekeeper no matter how many rules the EU masters dictate because nobody else offers the same level of integration across devices.
The greater sum of parts will keep growing. Tap to Present ID showcases how Apple continually builds and integrates new services into a compelling whole. A slow burn focus thing. First we got ID in Wallet that was almost useless: Present your license or ID at a TSA checkpoint (do they really exist?). The first real use case arrived with iOS 16 ‘Share your license or ID in an app’ for in-app ID verification. And now we have iOS 17 Tap to Present ID which can transform any iOS 17 eSE v2 iPhone into a cheap payment and ID verification terminal. This combo has a lot of potential, if government ID issuing agencies get their act together, and other government agencies don’t get in the way.
Take Japan’s My Number ID (Individual Number Card) for example. The digital version finally launched on Android in May, after significant delays, but there are significant problems with the whole My Number ID card system. At the same time a different branch of the Japanese government wants to mandate open app stores. When Tim Cook met up with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida at the end of Apple’s Japanese charm offensive tour this past December, Tim gently waffled on committing to support My Number ID in Wallet due to unspecified ‘privacy concerns’. As in ‘you can forgot about privacy, security and My Number ID in Wallet if your government mandates side loading apps’.
Unveiling Tap to Present ID on iPhone now, well before the service actually launches ‘later this year’, works as a defense strategy against such government attempts to recklessly remove Apple as gatekeeper of their own devices. iPhone customers won’t trust using a digital ID unless they can be assured that Apple is playing gatekeeper. No Apple gatekeeper, no digital ID for the rest of us, it’s that simple. It all comes down to privacy and trust.
Notice: The VISA payment network is blocking foreign issue VISA credit cards for Apple Pay In-App use with Suica, PASMO, ICOCA. Attempts to add money to the card in Wallet result in a ‘Payment Not Completed’ error shown:
The issue has been ongoing since early August 2022. Use Mastercard, AMEX and UnionPay credit cards for adding money to Apple Pay Suica 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.
Common issues are explained here in more detail and include Suica App or PASMO App use to resolve network issues not covered in the official but limited English language support pages. There is also a support tip list at the bottom.
Make sure you perform troubleshooting outside of the Mobile Suica • PASMO • ICOCA service maintenance downtime window that runs nightly 2 am ~ 4 am JST .
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, especially when 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 automatically removed 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 the removal may not immediately show on your card account, 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 has a new process for re-adding Commuter Suica cards. There are cases when re-adding a Commuter Suica to Wallet when the stored fare balance will be 0. Don’t panic if this happens. The 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 that will be fixed during the next 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