Apple Pay Suica Auto-Charge Confessional

I have a confession to make to my brothers and sisters of the Apple Pay Suica Super Smart Shopping League (Apple Pay 4S): I never used Suica Auto-Charge. Until now.

I know, I know, it was a really stupid thing to do even though I had all the power tools at my disposal: Apple Pay Suica card, BIC CAMERA View JCB card, JRE POINT card, Mobile Suica and JRE POINT accounts, Suica App. Somehow I could never quite bring myself to take that final step of turning on the Auto-Charge option in Suica App.

You see, I’m a very manual man. I think it was my addiction to the Apple Pay ‘ka-ching’ sound. Even though it’s audio confirmation that my money is going down the drain, it just sounds so good. That and my addiction to Suica Notification shortcuts, they were always there but never really worked right until iOS 12.3. Those are flimsy but valid excuses. But now that notification shortcut recharge is working good in iOS 13, I knew I had to take the last step. The final blow was the Dr. Shump/Arale-chan JR East View card campaign ads. I always had a soft spot for Arale-chan, I mean if she didn’t originate the pile of poo emoji, nobody did. And so I turned on Auto-Charge.

What can I say? Auto-Charge makes the Apple Pay Suica experience better and smoother in every way. It’s far better than futzing with credit cards, even Apple Pay credit cards, but fellow Apple Pay 4S members already knew that.

I keep the auto-charge amount at the lowest setting, ¥2,000, because my manual man side is uncomfortable with large recharge amounts and prefers manual Apple Pay recharge to keep an eye on the money before it goes down the drain.

I look forward to the day when Suica Auto-Charge functionality extends from Suica/Pasmo gates to all transit gates nationwide. It would be insanely great if JR East opened up Auto-Charge to non-JR East View credit cards, but that will probably remain an exclusive incentive. If Super Suica delivers nationwide transit gate Auto-Charge compatibility, I’ll settle.

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Golden Week Golden JRE POINT

Golden Week 2019 is going to be an extraordinarily long one, 10 days in all. It would not be Golden Week without a few marketing gimmicks and JR East has not disappointed: 15X bonus JRE POINT running May 2~6 with any JRE POINT registered Suica purchases at yellow sticker Suica JRE POINT stores (NewDays, Becks Coffee Shop, Kiosk, etc.) .

To be sure setting up Apple Pay Suica with JRE POINT is a pain, but once done it’s nice to rack up the points. Until May 6, goodbye Starbucks and hello Becks.

When you purchase things with Apple Pay Suica at Suica JRE POINT stores you earn JRE POINT automatically

Decision of the day

OK, you are the manager of the Kaldi Coffee Farm in the JR East Asagaya station Beans mall. Your store offers JRE POINT and is taking part in 3 day free 500 JRE POINT present campaign that starts Friday.

Today, Tuesday, is double JRE POINT day at Asagaya Beans mall. It is also raining which means foot traffic is down. Do you

    Offer double Kaldi Coffee points and screw shoppers coming for the free 500 JRE POINT campaign on Friday?
    Offer double Kaldi Coffee points on Friday so that shoppers get the girl, the gold watch and everything?

The answer of course is #1 screw the shoppers. Kaldi management must have graduated from the ‘dangle the carrot don’t let them eat it’ school of business.

Update: Interested piqued, I asked a Kaldi clerk if coffee double points would be in effect during the 500 JRE POINT Campaign. “We only do it on the 25th of every month, but sometimes on other (unannounced) days, it changes each month.” Other unannounced days…hmm. I then asked a Japanese friend to confirm things, “Kaldi has been doing that a lot recently. They used to have ‘store anniversary sale’ days on actual anniversary days but those are all unannounced now. I guess food imports business is not so profitable these days with the exchange rate so all the sales campaigns are unannounced. Maybe they’ll start announcing them again when they get desperate.”

Bingo.

Suica Platform Update: JRE POINT September Point Campaign

JRE Points

Now that you have your JRE POINT account setup on the JrePoint iOS App, we have the perfect opportunity to get free JRE POINT with the just announced September Premium Point Campaign running September 28~30. If you purchase a grand total of ¥5,400 worth of goods on those three days you automatically get an additional 500 free points in addition to the regular points (¥5400=540 points). At least 1040 JRE POINT that you can turn around for a free ¥1,040 Suica Recharge.

In order to get the 500 free points you must first sign up for the campaign in JrePoint App. Launch the app, tap the Yellow campaign banner, scroll down the campaign page, tap “Entry” and you are done.

The only thing left to do is shop at any store that offers JRE POINT. Look for the green logo below. At the register give the cashier your plastic JRE POINT card and pay anyway you want to: Suica, credit, cash.

There is a Kaldi Coffee Farm store in the Asagaya Station Beans Mall. I need some coffee and things and can kill ¥5,400 in less than a minute there. I’ll pay with my BIC CAMERA View JCB card and get JRE POINT + BIC CAMERA POINT. The latter will kick me over the line so I can pick up a new Apple iPhone case there for free.

Now that’s what I call platform lock in.

Setup and Use JRE POINT

JRE Points

The previous Suica Platform update outlined the upcoming migration of various JR East point systems for Suica, View Card, etc., into one single JRE POINT system. That happened on June 28 and is now complete. Here’s a quick overview guide to help you get the most out of using Apple Pay Suica and JRE POINT. The initial setup seems convoluted but is gradually getting better and more streamlined. Once setup is complete you can start racking up points for free Suica Charge or purchases.

JRE POINT Setup

You will need a few things:

The first step is the JRE POINT Card. Get one at any JR station area store displaying the green JRE POINT logo and get a free JRE POINT Card by filling out a simple form with name, address and email.

Next step is creating an online account on JRE POINT WEB:

  • Create a temporary account with a email address and password. I strongly recommend using the same email address and password you have for Mobile Suica. It will make your life easier. JRE POINT WEB Online offers the option to sign in with JR-EAST ID but strongly recommend not using it.
  • After creating the temporary login and password you receive an email to complete the account setup. Follow the link and complete your JRE POINT WEB account. In addition to the regular login PW you also need to set a 6 number PIN that is called #2 Password. Be sure to write this down, I guarantee you will forget it otherwise.

The next important step is registering your card numbers in JRE POINT WEB:

  • JRE POINT Card# (You can register multiple JRE POINT Cards)
  • Apple Pay Suica ID# (You can register multiple plastic Suica cards but only one Apple Pay Suica card)
  • View Card JRE POINT Card# (You can only register one View Card)

Install JrePoint App on iPhone and log in with your JRE POINT ID and password. The first time you log in you may encounter an annoying ‘confirm you are a person’ step where you have to find all the photos with car, a sign, etc.

If all is set up probably JrePoint App should display your current JRE POINT balance at the top of the main screen. You can also confirm the cards you have registered with JRE POINT.

Jre Point App Main Screen
When successfully logged into JrePoint App the main screen will show your ID and JRE POINT balance.

Getting JRE POINT

There are 3 ways to earn JRE POINT:

  • Use JRE POINT Card at stores displaying the green JRE POINT logo
  • Use Apple Pay Suica at stores displaying the yellow Suica JRE POINT logo
  • Use a JR East View Card for making purchases anywhere and for Apple Pay Suica Recharge

JRE POINT Card is a manual affair, present it when paying at a JRE POINT store and pay anyway you want to: Suica, credit, cash. Apple Pay Suica purchases at Suica JRE POINT stores and View card purchases anywhere automatically add JRE POINT to you account. Points are posted as follows:

  • JRE POINT Card points are added to JRE POINT account instantly
  • JRE POINT from Apple Pay Suica are added within 24 hours
  • JRE POINT from View Card are added at the end of the View card billing month

Do some research to find a card combination that makes your money work harder. For example: BIC CAMERA VIEW JCB Card + Apple Pay Suica + JRE POINT earns you JRE POINT and BIC CAMERA Points with store purchases and Apple Pay Suica Recharge that you can then turn around use for free Suica Recharge, buying anything at BIC CAMERA, exchange for gift coupons, etc.

JrePoint App Suica Recharge

We have finally arrive at the fun part of this whole exercise: exchanging hard-earned JRE POINT for a free Suica Charge. Open JrePoint App, login, tap ‘Use Points’, tap ‘Points Exchange for Suica Charge’ then tap ‘Suica ID#’.

The next screen shows you your current JRE POINT balance. 1 JRE POINT converts to 1 yen, 500 JRE POINTS for a 500 yen Suica Recharge, etc. Enter the number of points you want to exchange then tap ‘Confirm’. Check your information then tap ‘Apply’.

Suica Pocket in Suica App

You should instantly receive an email from JR East confirming your Suica Charge amount with a Suica Pocket ID# and a link. Tap the link which will take you to Safari page that says in Japanese ‘Open Suica App/Launch Suica App’. Tap Launch Suica App.

Suica App will launch and present you with a ‘Select Suica’ screen. Tap your Suica ID# which takes you to the Suica Pocket screen. Tap ‘Suica Charge’ and your Apple Pay Suica card should recharge immediately.

That’s it. Your JRE POINTS have been converted into Suica e-money you can use for Apple Pay Suica transit or purchase thus earning more JRE POINT. This guide barely scratches the surface. There are many more options and configurations available. Take some time with it and you’ll be rewarded much smarter e-money.