Business

New iPhones to include Suica-friendly pay system in Japan from next month

STAFF REPORT, KYODO

Apple Inc. said Thursday people in Japan can use the latest iPhones and Apple Watches to pay electronically at stores and transportation rides starting in October.

In an unveiling event of the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch series in California the same day, Apple said the payment service called Apple Pay will enable users to commute and pay for everyday items with the technology used in the local transit card Suica from East Japan Railway Co.The announcement is something that many users in Japan have been waiting for, as this will be the first time Apple’s popular iPhone series will be e-money payment-ready in Japan since the handset made its Japan debut in 2008.

In Japan, the use of cellphones equipped with a special chip to make payments by simply passing the handsets over card readers has been around over a decade, a function known as osaifu keitai (cellphone wallet) in Japanese.

Many smartphones powered by Google’s Android OS have had this function for years, so the iPhones’ lack of the mobile payment service has been a bottleneck for some people to switch to Apple’s smartphones.

From October, Apple said users can check the balance of their Suica accounts and can add money on the new iPhones that will debut next week.

The tech firm also said Apple Pay will also feature iD and QUICPay, which are also e-money payment systems, run by NTT Docomo Inc. and JCB Co., respectively.