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How to Purchase Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA Card

Looking to purchase Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA cards? Learn how to get these convenient IC cards using Apple iPhone or vending machines.

Introduction

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of purchasing a Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA card in 2024. These IC cards have become an integral part of Japan’s public transportation system, offering a convenient and cashless way to travel and make purchases. We’ll also cover how the suspension of Suica and Pasmo card sales impacts travellers and alternative methods of acquiring these cards.

How to Purchase Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA Card in 2024

The process of purchasing a Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA card is relatively straightforward and can be done using different methods. However, officially the sales of Suica and Pasmo cards are still suspended due to the shortage of IC chips. There are alternative ways to get these cards, including using the wallet app in Apple iPhones.

1. Wallet App on Apple iPhones

With the advancement of technology, purchasing a Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA card has never been easier. Apple iPhone users can simply use the wallet app on their devices to acquire and manage these IC cards. The wallet app allows for easy integration and smooth navigation, providing users with a seamless experience when using their cards for transportation and other purchases.

To add Suica, Pasmo, or Icoca cards to the iPhone Wallet, follow these simple steps:

  1. Change your phone’s region to Japan (Settings > General > Language & Region)
  2. Open the “Wallet” app on your iPhone.
  3. Tap the “+” sign to add a new card.
  4. Select the appropriate card type (Suica, Pasmo, or Icoca).
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions to link your card to the Wallet.
  6. Reload the virtual IC card using Amex or Mastercard. If you do not have a credit card that works with Apple Pay, you can register for a Wise Virtual Card.
How to purchase Suica, PASMO or ICOCA

Once the card is added to your iPhone Wallet, you can use it just like a physical card by holding your phone near the card reader at the transportation gates or for the purchase of items at vending machines, convenience stores, or restaurants. This digital alternative ensures a seamless travel experience without the need for a physical card.

2. Purchase Welcome Suica at Haneda Terminal 3 Monorail Station

Apart from using the wallet app, you can purchase the Welcome Suica from authorised vending machines or the JR East Travel Service Center at Haneda Terminal 3 (Tokyo Monorail) Station. Please note that the Welcome Suica is intended for visitors to Japan and expires 28 days after purchase. The Welcome Suica cards are available in two denominations, ¥1000 and ¥2000. No deposit is required.

3. Purchase Suica from Tokyo Station

According to our local source in Japan, the Suica card can be purchased at Tokyo Station and JR East Tourist Information – Marunouchi North Exit (Map). They’re available at ticket windows catering to foreign tourists. Priced at ¥2,000, the card includes ¥1,500 worth of credit and requires a ¥500 deposit. The card can only be purchased with cash.

JR East’s Suica and PASMO Card Suspension and Its Impact

Starting from 02 August 2023, JR East and Pasmo Co. has suspended the sale of all Suica and Pasmo cards. However, the announcement did not specify a date for resumption, indicating that the suspension will be in effect until further notice.While this suspension may affect some potential buyers, existing Suica or Pasmo cardholders can continue using their cards without any interruption.

The Suspended Products

The temporary suspension applies to the following cards:

  • Suica
  • モノレールSuica (Monorail Suica)
  • りんかいSuica (Rinkai Suica)
  • PASMO

However, there is no news of the suspension of ICOCA, the IC card for the Kansai region. This means that travellers in the Kansai region can purchase the ICOCA without any disruptions.

How To Purchase Suica, Pasmo and ICOCA
Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA cards can be used for store purchases

Utilising Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA Card Beyond Transportation

These IC cards offer more than just a convenient way to travel. They have extended their usability to various establishments, making them essential for both tourists and locals alike.

1. Cashless Payments at Vending Machines

With Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA cards in hand, you can make cashless payments at vending machines, ensuring you never miss out on your favorite beverage or snack during your adventures.

2. Dining at Restaurants

In our recent trip to Tokyo in April 2024, we found that many restaurants and cafes in Japan now accept these IC cards as a method of payment. This feature comes in handy, especially when you’re exploring new places and don’t want to carry around too much cash.

3. Convenience Stores and Shops

From convenience stores to shops, Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA cards are widely accepted, enabling you to shop with ease and avoid the hassle of handling loose change.

4. Reducing the Need for Coins

One of the significant advantages of using these IC cards is reducing the need for coins. In Japan, coins are commonly used for small transactions, but they can become cumbersome for travellers, as they cannot be exchanged easily when you return home. By using IC cards, you can streamline your purchases and travel experience.

FAQs About Suica, PASMO or ICOCA Cards

Can I still use my existing Suica card even though JR East has suspended its sales?

Yes, if you already have a Suica card, you can continue using it without any issues. The suspension only affects the sale of new Suica cards.

Are Suica, Pasmo, and ICOCA cards interchangeable between different transportation companies in Japan?

Yes, these cards are interchangeable and can be used on most major transportation systems, including trains, and buses operated by different companies.

Can I get a refund on my unused balance on the Suica card?

Yes, you can request a refund for any remaining balance on your Suica card, subject to a refund fee. To process the refund, please visit any JR East station or designated service centers.

What if I don’t have an iPhone to use the Wallet feature?

If you don’t have an iPhone or prefer not to use the Wallet feature. You can purchase a Welcome Suica card which can be used for 28 days from the date of purchase at major train stations and at the airports in Tokyo

Is there any update on when the suspension will end?

As of now, JR East has not provided a specific date for resuming the sale of Suica and PASMO cards. Travelers are advised to stay updated through official announcements from JR East.

Conclusion

In conclusion, purchasing a Suica, Pasmo, or ICOCA card in 2024 is more accessible than ever, thanks to technological advancements and various purchasing options. Whether you prefer using your Apple iPhone’s wallet app or visiting authorised vending machines and stores, these IC cards provide a seamless and cashless experience for all your transportation and payment needs in Japan. Additionally, with their versatility in dining and shopping establishments, you can enjoy a hassle-free and enjoyable journey throughout the country.

Remember, if you already have a Suica card, you can continue using it despite JR East’s suspension of sales. So, get your IC card, explore Japan, and embark on unforgettable adventures with ease and convenience!

Eugene Ooi
Eugene Ooi

Eugene is the co-founder of Travelution Holidays. He has been a part of the travel industry since 1996. With over a decade of experience as a certified Club Med specialist, he is a travel enthusiast, and food lover. He enjoys sharing travel experiences, updates, and tips to help you explore the world.

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