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.
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.