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Suica reading apps


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In anticipation of travelling again, can anyone recommend some good apps to read Suica cards on Android phones?

 

I tried a few out, but most have some kind of issue. Main one being lack of data on station names and bus stops. I imagine there are some apps which are not available in Europe too, i.e. they are limited to the Japanese Play Store so I can't see them.

 

I'm sure you guys already know this, but Suica cards and similar ones only store the last 20 transactions, so you have to read them regularly or data is lost. I read that Google Pay supports Suica a WAON now, but not outside Japan.

 

CardReader: History, CSV export. It's partially in English, the CSV files are in Japanese.

Suikakeibo: Has station names in English, seems fairly comprehensive. CSV export is available in the paid version which is £4.98, I guess maybe 600-700 yen.

ICカードリーダー: Doesn't seem to store history.

SuicaBal Read: Doesn't seem to store history.

Metrodroid: Available on F-Droid, open source, English language. Has maps too. Main issue is that it doesn't merge histories, it stores every scan as a separate batch with overlapping entries. No CSV export either.

FareBot: Same as Metrodroid but with worse support for Japan.

PASMO/Suica History NFC Reader: No history or export.

Suica&PASMOリーダー: Couldn't get it to work properly on my Pixel 5, never read most of the data.

MIRU Ca: Very basic, no CSV export.

ICカードリーダー ~Suica 残高チェッカー~: No history, Japanese only.

 

Is there one I didn't try yet? CardReader and Suikakeibo seem like the two best ones but neither are perfect.

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Tony Galiani

Since it is not Google, this may not be helpful to you but for iPhone users, my wife downloaded her Suica card into Apple Pay and it seems to keep track.  She has all her purchases from two years ago.

And here I thought I was with it just by getting a Suica card!

Cheers,

Tony

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Madsing

I did that too, so it’s not only for Japanese. I have registered my Suica card in the Apple Wallet app at the beginning of 2019. I can still read the list of stations and trips, in English, where I used it.

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I double checked on Google Pay just now. It has the option to add a transport card, but the list does not include any Japanese cards. There is a blog entry on their official site about it, but it says "users in Japan".

 

Next time I'm there I'll see if it opens the option up, but for example it doesn't switch to the Japanese version of Google Play even with a Japanese SIM card installed. It's a shame because Google Pay lets you export your complete history.

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chadbag

Don't have an answer for the OP but for the iPhone users and Suica in Apple Wallet -- the nice thing is you can reload it through Apple Pay (using US credit card).  I've stood in line at Mr Donut (who didn't take a credit card) and once I knew how much and saw I didn't have enough on my Suica card, just added more while in the Mr Donut line using Apple Pay and then used the Suica from the wallet with Apple Pay to buy the family donuts.  Was super easy.  Much easier than earlier with our ICOCA cards and having to feed the machines with cash to reload them.

 

(The wife usually carries most of the cash, and we withdraw less and less cash each time we go as it is easier and most everyone takes a card now or Suica or other compatible regions card)

 

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On 4/27/2022 at 9:54 PM, chadbag said:

Don't have an answer for the OP but for the iPhone users and Suica in Apple Wallet -- the nice thing is you can reload it through Apple Pay (using US credit card).  I've stood in line at Mr Donut (who didn't take a credit card) and once I knew how much and saw I didn't have enough on my Suica card, just added more while in the Mr Donut line using Apple Pay and then used the Suica from the wallet with Apple Pay to buy the family donuts.  Was super easy.  Much easier than earlier with our ICOCA cards and having to feed the machines with cash to reload them.

 

(The wife usually carries most of the cash, and we withdraw less and less cash each time we go as it is easier and most everyone takes a card now or Suica or other compatible regions card)

 

 

It seems that you can't use the Suica in Apple Wallet anymore by refilling with non Japanese cards in Apple Pay.  It used to work but now any attempt to refill it gives a payment error.  I read elsewhere that JR East blocks non Japanese payment cards now for refilling.  My Suica in the Apple Wallet still has a balance so I should be able to use up the balance but otherwise not 😞 ...

 

For iOS I did find

some NFC reader apps that were able to read my son's ICOCA card and get a balance.  It shows up as Suica and does show the history of the card as well showing the various dates (all in 2018) that he last used it.  Called "Japan train card balance"

 

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Bob Martin

The Suica Pay cc issue is very unfortunate, but not a big deal.  You can still recharge at ticket machines, convenience stores, etc but will have to use cash to do so.  It was certainly far more convenient before and you didn’t have to go out of your way to recharge.  When I pass by a recharge machine each day I seem to add ¥10,000. As that seems to be my out of pocket burn rate.

Edited by Bob Martin
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4 hours ago, Bob Martin said:

The Suica Pay cc issue is very unfortunate, but not a big deal.  You can still recharge at ticket machines, convenience stores, etc but will have to use cash to do so.  It was certainly far more convenient before and you didn’t have to go out of your way to recharge.  When I pass by a recharge machine each day I seem to add ¥10,000. As that seems to be my out of pocket burn rate.

 

Yes you just have to go bacj to how we used to do it.  Cash at the recharge machines.   The apps that will allow you to scan your own cards are useful though so you can easily see what you have left.  Now I am just trying to find my old ICOCA card.  It's somewhere around here.

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9 hours ago, chadbag said:

It seems that you can't use the Suica in Apple Wallet anymore by refilling with non Japanese cards in Apple Pay.

I arrived in Japan on Sunday and faced this problem. I searched the web and found out that this problem only happens with Visa cards (so is it a bug or a feature?). Mastercard and American Express cards, even issued out of Japan, still work fine and can be used to add money to a Suica card with Apple Pay. I remembered that I had a Mastercard that I had never used. I activated it, added it to Apple Pay and it worked. I am now able to add money to my Suica card using Apple Pay again. 

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10 hours ago, Madsing said:

I arrived in Japan on Sunday and faced this problem. I searched the web and found out that this problem only happens with Visa cards (so is it a bug or a feature?). Mastercard and American Express cards, even issued out of Japan, still work fine and can be used to add money to a Suica card with Apple Pay. I remembered that I had a Mastercard that I had never used. I activated it, added it to Apple Pay and it worked. I am now able to add money to my Suica card using Apple Pay again. 

 

I'll have to try this.  My Apple Card is supposedly a Mastercard and I thought I had tried it but don't remember for sure.  That would be a great bonus if it worked.  Not sure I have any other Mastercards any longer.  Got rid of my Citi one a while back.

 

I wish they let you use your Apple Cash so then I could send my kids Apple Cash and they could charge Suica on their phone but when I tried Apple Cash it didn't work.  I don't think I can add my Apple Card to my kids' phones. (Other cards I think I can add to multiple).  Will have to try it.

 

THANKS!

 

 

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If MasterCard works, they may have a location block on it.  I tried 2 different MC today to add to my existing Suica on my Apple Watch.  Both failed.  I guess I'll try again when we get there.

 

 

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Bob Martin

Very few cards work (MC, visa, Amex). If yours works consider yourself lucky.  Location has nothing to do with it.  Apparently with the shift in the yen, people were buying it up with foreign credit cards via Suica/Pay, and JR nixed foreign cards.  The other story is increased cc security in foreign cards.  Cards still work everywhere else, just not JR (and some amusement park ticket machines).

Edited by Bob Martin
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Interesting update:  I was able to add a new Suica to my iPhone using my Apple Card (MC) even though my existing Suica on the watch could not be added to (would fail payment transaction).  I had previously tried to use various Visa cards to do the same thing (add a new Suica to the phone) and they all failed.

 

Now to add my kids to my Apple Card and see if they can add Suica cards to their iPhones...

 

ETA:   I was able to try again to add to the Suica on my watch using Apple Card and it worked (earlier today it failed).  I shared the Apple Card with the wife and was able to add to her existing Suica on her phone.   Haven’t gotten the kids updated yet. 

Edited by chadbag
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Frustrating that Apple allows it but Google Pay does not. I'll try adding it when I'm physically in Japan, but usually Play won't let you install Japan only apps if your account is set to "lives in Europe". I had to get the Hard Off app from somewhere else, and manually update it, for example.

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7 hours ago, mojo said:

Frustrating that Apple allows it but Google Pay does not. I'll try adding it when I'm physically in Japan, but usually Play won't let you install Japan only apps if your account is set to "lives in Europe". I had to get the Hard Off app from somewhere else, and manually update it, for example.


Can you temporarily change your “lives in Europe” to “lives in Japan”?

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Update: Adding money with my newly activated MasterCard only worked once. It does not work anymore and the only option left to me for now is adding money using cash (I tried at Shinjuku station this morning and it worked).

 

More info about the issue: 

https://atadistance.net/2022/09/19/foreign-visa-cards-blocked-for-japanese-mobile-and-online-payments/

https://atadistance.net/all-about-apple-pay-suica-recharge/

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I’ve created a new Suica and added to my existing, my wife’s existing, and today created one on my son’s iPhone in the Apple a wallet using Apple Pay using my Apple Card (shared) .   Need to try and add one to my daughters phone.  Strange how it is on again off again.   
 

@Madsing you could add to your virtual card using cash ?

 

ETA:  I’ve tried to create a virtual in wallet PASMO using the same Apple Pay with Apple Card and it has not worked. 

Edited by chadbag
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2 hours ago, chadbag said:

you could add to your virtual card using cash

Yes. There are new machines at JR stations meant for reading and adding money to virtual cards. Just put your mobile phone in the blue slot. 

See the photo below taken at the Shinjuku station. 


2CF19FDB-A4EA-4D30-B1B3-8520A0D5E3B0.thumb.jpeg.b189c55fe5a66c1a65b045ece7fc2a99.jpeg

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I was able to create a Suica and charge it using Apple Pay using Apple Card  MC for my daughter as well tonight.  She kind of complained as she wants to use a real card 😂
 

hit or miss I guess.  

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2 hours ago, Madsing said:

Yes. There are new machines at JR stations meant for reading and adding money to virtual cards. Just put your mobile phone in the blue slot. 

See the photo below taken at the Shinjuku station. 


2CF19FDB-A4EA-4D30-B1B3-8520A0D5E3B0.thumb.jpeg.b189c55fe5a66c1a65b045ece7fc2a99.jpeg


 

those machines look like the older machines.  The blue place looks the same as for charging a physical card.   It I don’t really remember.  I don’t think I’ve used a physical card since 2017 at the latest.  

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Ok, they look new to me, but I don't really remember 😀. I have also not used a machine for adding money to my Suica for many years, and the last time I did I used a machine in which the card has to be inserted into a small slot that swallows the card, which is not possible with a phone. With this "new" (to me) type of machine, the card or the phone is simply put inside/against the blue area.

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17 hours ago, chadbag said:


Can you temporarily change your “lives in Europe” to “lives in Japan”?

 

I found some instructions for doing it but still couldn't add the Suica card. I think maybe it's not possible because most phones sold outside Japan don't support FeLiCa, with the iPhone being the major exception.

 

According to Google the Pixel line only support FeLiCa on the Japanese models, and mine is the "world" model (basically everywhere except Japan and the US).

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railsquid
6 hours ago, chadbag said:

those machines look like the older machines.  The blue place looks the same as for charging a physical card.   It I don’t really remember.  I don’t think I’ve used a physical card since 2017 at the latest.  

 

4 hours ago, Madsing said:

Ok, they look new to me, but I don't really remember 😀. I have also not used a machine for adding money to my Suica for many years, and the last time I did I used a machine in which the card has to be inserted into a small slot that swallows the card, which is not possible with a phone. With this "new" (to me) type of machine, the card or the phone is simply put inside/against the blue area.

 

They've been around a couple of years, I think they pre-date Covid, but not by much. They are certainly current, and very convenient for charging my ancient Pasmo card, which seems too battered to go in the slot (or more precisely it goes in the slot, then causes the machine to emit a loud buzzing sound). Must get a new one, one of these days.

 

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