Apple Pay uses two device account numbers with Japanese credit cards. This allows a single card to use both FeliCa or EMV
Apple Pay uses a single device account number for credit cards outside Japan
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inbound Suica officially starts September 22 with the release of iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3. Anybody visiting Japan with these devices can add and use Suica. To mark the official rollout of Apple’s global FeliCa support, here is a basic guide.
Plastic or Virtual Suica?
The choice of plastic or virtual Suica depends on what device you have: with iPhone 8 you can add a plastic Suica card to Apple Pay; the easiest way. With Apple Watch Series 3 you have to add a virtual Suica with the Suica App; a little more work.
iPhone 8 1) Buy Suica at any Tokyo area JR station as shown in the JR East video above (the one minute mark). Set your iPhone region setting to Japan. The iPhone Language setting does not need to be changed. Region can be restored after successfully adding Suica.
3) Use Suica as explained on Apple’s Using Suica page. Not that you really need an explanation.
4) Recharge Suica: In Wallet, tap the Suica card. tap , tap Add Money, then choose the amount, and tap “Add”. Select the card you want to pay from and place your finger on Touch ID to complete the transaction.
Suica Express Transit mode is automatically turned on when you first add a Suica card to Apple Pay. With Express Transit you do not use Touch ID:
Simply hold the top of your iPhone 8 or the display of your Apple Watch Series 3 within a few centimeters of the contactless reader until you see Done and a checkmark on the display. You don’t need to wake or unlock your device or open an app to make the purchase.
Suica Express Transit is convenient and secure. Suica is a pre-paid card, it only holds the amount of money that you add to it with Apple Pay, or with cash.
Apple Watch Series 3
Suica setup on Apple Watch is complicated by Suica App, it’s only in Japanese and only available in the Japan App Store and USA App Store.
Preflight check list
An iPhone 6 or above running the latest iOS version paired with Apple Watch Series 3 also running the latest WatchOS.
Download and install the JR East Suica app.
A credit card already loaded into your iPhone Apple Pay Wallet. The card can be any Apple Pay compatible card issued from your home country.
Requirements when adding Suica
Network access when adding Suica to Apple Pay, recharging Suica with Apple Pay or using the Suica App. Suica can used in Airplane mode for transit and store purchases.
Mobile data app use turned on for Suica, Wallet and Watch apps.
Passcode set for both iPhone and Apple Watch.
Apple Watch wrist detection turned on.
Region setting for both devices is set to Japan. The Language setting can be any language you prefer. Region can be restored after successfully adding Suica.
Launch the Suica app. Note that Suica app will only launch with a successfully paired Apple Watch Series 3.
Now comes the tricky part if you cannot read Japanese. Follow the screenshots and captions to create a new Suica card and add it to your Apple Pay Wallet.
If all went well you should now have a Suica card in your iPhone Wallet app setup for Express Transit. The last step is transferring the Suica card from iPhone to Apple Watch. Read the “Move your Suica from your iPhone to your Apple Watch” section of the Set up a Suica card in Apple Pay support page for details.
Update 9/20 22:00: The TS Cubic press release has been removed from their web site. Update 9/22: The official announcement was made today see the updated post.
Along with the release of iOS 11, 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.
The TS CUBIC press statement [now deleted] says the cards use the QUICPay payment system with Apple Pay and require iOS 11. Japanese IT journalist Junya Suzuki reports via Twitter that J/Speedy and MasterCard Contactless both use NFC A-B not FeliCa. This appears to be a iOS 11 Apple Pay feature that enables smart NFC A-B-F on the fly switching, an improvement over iOS 10 and a step towards contactless payments that ‘just work’ everywhere.
The new NFC Pay (Contactless EMV) logo is on the far leftiOS 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. With iOS 11 Apple Pay improvements and NFC Pay/EMV contactless support maybe VISA will finally throw in the towel and officially 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 globally in iPhone 8, iPhone X and Apple Watch Series 3.
JR Central revised their ExPress Reservation notice section adding two lines of red text:
“From late October Apple Pay Suica can be used as the EX Reservation designated transit IC card.” JR Central will post more details at that time. At present Apple Pay Suica cannot be used with the EXPress system.
The JR Central/JR West EXPress system is a special EX transit IC card for Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen travel. EXPress members can transfer from regular train lines and board the Shinkansen touching a regular transit card in tandem with the EX card.
There is also a paper receipt. Not exactly a streamlined simple process but EXPress members get ticket discounts that are attractive for business travelers.
The streamlined and ticketless JR Central/JR West SmartEX system starts September 30. Apple Pay Suica support is already confirmed for SmartEX.