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Apple to Expand Apple Pay to Japanese Public Transit Systems

Published: October 23rd, 2016

Japanese railway JR East is due to launch Apple Pay later this month via its Suica payment system. Apple has upgraded the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and Apple Watch Series 2 to support the system and all devices sold in Japan are equipped with FeliCa-compatible NFC chips, which have long allowed mobile payments on other devices in the country.

 

Apple Pay was launched similarly in New York in October, using the MTA eTix app as opposed to Suica. The system is not quite as convenient (Suica allows direct scanning of your phone in place of a ticket) but still allows commuters to buy scannable e-tickets without having to manually enter their card information.

 

Until recently, the biggest backer of Apple Pay in the transit sector was Transport for London, which operates the London Underground and other systems in the British capital. Like JR East, people using Apple Pay with TfL don't have to buy a separate ticket or pass first.

 

It's not hard to see why they want a piece of this pie, given the sheer volume of transactions involved. JR East alone is thought to handle over 17 million commuters per day, and even with only a small portion of users utilising their Apple devices it could mean millions of Apple Pay transactions every week, each generating a small tariff.

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