East Japan Railway – Bringing Mobile Wallets to Public Transport

East Japan Railway – Bringing Mobile Wallets to Public Transport

 

As Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Olympics in 2020, Japan’s National Tourism Board has set a goal of doubling the number of tourists visiting Japan from 20 million in 2015 to 40 million by 2020. Through the power of NFC technology, East Japan Railway Company (Japan) is making public transport more accessible, efficient and convenient for both frequent and infrequent riders, including foreign visitors.

East Japan Railway Company’s (JR East) NFC-based mobile wallet service, “Suica,” enables local and non-local riders to add and check balances, purchase commuter passes, and secure passage across the high-speed rail from any location and at any hour.

Figure 1: JR East was honored as a semi-finalist in NFC Innovation Award in the “Most Innovative NFC Product, Service, or Implementation” category. As shown above, a JR East rider uses an NFC-enabled mobile phone to gain secure passage. (Image Courtesy of JR East)

NFC Clears A Path For More Satisfied Users And A Foundation For Nationwide Interoperability

“NFC technology allows a user to have multiple services on a single mobile phone, so mobile Suica can work side-by-side with other e-money services, such as Rakuten Edy, Nanaco, and Waon,” noted Mr. Yamada of JR East. “Because NFC is a global standard, it enlarges the number of potential users for mobile Suica.”

“NFC technology allows a user to have multiple services on a single mobile phone, so mobile Suica can work side-by-side with other e-money services, such as Rakuten Edy, Nanaco, and Waon,” noted Mr. Yamada of JR East in a recent NFC Forum Suica transport case study. “Because NFC is a global standard, it enlarges the number of potential users for mobile Suica.”

NFC’s status as a global standard has been a significant factor for JR East, which is working to increase its potential user base by achieving public transport interoperability throughout Japan. Mobile Suica is already accepted by the fare systems of other Japanese transit operators, including the greater Tokyo area’s PASMO and JR West’s ICOCA.