Commuters struggling to register their train passes following Japan’s Apple Pay launch

By , Oct 25, 2016

Apple Pay Japan teaser 001

Following its official launch in Japan, Apple Pay has experienced a rocky debut in the 127 million people market as commuters struggled to register their train passes onto iPhones for more than ten hours amid apparent system overload.

Many people in Japan use their rail passes that double as electronic money cards.

According to Bloomberg, the trouble started shortly after 9am in Tokyo as users began reporting issues adding their cards to Apple Pay.

Apple’s own iCloud status dashboard has acknowledged that a portion of users was affected by the inability to add their Suica card to Apple Pay.

JR East said Tuesday’s problems were due to the large number of attempts to access the service. “This may be the first service outage ever for Suica,” said a user on Twitter.

Representatives for Apple in Japan declined comment.

“It’s a shame that systems went down, but it shows just how much user interest there is,” said Eiichiro Yanagawa, a senior analyst for consulting firm Celent. “They’ll be able to learn from today’s experience to improve services for the future. We can probably take this as a positive sign,” he said.

Apple Pay Japan issues

Japanese users can add their Suica prepaid money card, QuicPay or iD to the Wallet app which lets them use Apple Pay to make purchases in stores, online and in apps, as well as commute and pay for everyday items with Suica from JR East.

The iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch Series 2 devices sold in Japan contain a FeliCa chip that enables support for a tap-to-pay technology used in cards such as the Suica and Pasmo rail passes that are widely accepted in Tokyo and Osaka.

Source: Bloomberg

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  • Let me get this straight; thousand of miles away in Japan commuters can board transport using their phones; and watches while in the US; we are still fitzing with paper slips and rusty germ ridden machines trying to board a subway in the nations Capital? Hello?

    • Chris Smith

      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but us Brits can also on the underground

  • ProllyWild

    Particularly the issue was incorporating already held transit cards into Apple Pay. I and many other were able to create new accounts without issue, but there continues to be issue with previous accounts.

    As for the service itself it’s huge. We use these cards and pay services in stores, taxis, train stations, airports and pretty much anywhere really. It’s a huge incentive to have the system working smoothly on iPhones, since up until now only android smart phones had the ability in the smartphone department.