Suica card; the contactless IC card issued by JR East, is a must-have item when traveling in Japan.
You can use this card as a pay-as-you-goo pass for most train lines in Japan, as well as subways, bus lines and streetcars, vending machines, some convenience stores, and public facilities like coin lockers.
With this magical travel IC card, you don’t have to fuss with paper tickets and small changes.
When purchasing the Suica card, you will be asked to pay a 500 yen deposit, and this deposit will be refunded if you return the card before leaving Japan.
However, if there’s a remaining balance in your card, a 220 yen handling fee will be deducted from your Suica card balance when returning the card.
The only way to refund your card without losing your money is to use up your Suica card balance, and today we introduce the easiest way to do that.
The Suica card used in this feature is the Welcome Suica card; a special Suica card for foreign travelers in Japan that comes in cherry blossoms design. Curious about this card? Find more information about it here！
First, make sure to check your Suica card balance using the ticket machines at the station.
This card has 655 yen as the remaining balance.
The easiest way to use up your Suica card balance is to use it as a payment method when shopping at the convenience stores!
All you have to do is just tell the shop clerk that you’ll use Suica as a payment method.
Under normal circumstances, you’ll be able to pay with your Suica if your card balance is higher than the total price of the items you purchase.
When the balance is not enough, usually the transaction will fail.
For example, we purchased an item at a convenience store for 465 yen, so the remaining balance of our card was only 190 yen after the purchase.
After that we went to 7-Eleven to purchase other item, which cost 339 yen with our Suica.
Obviously, the remaining balance of our card was not enough, so a warning sound and red light were announced by the machine (each machine announces differently).
When the balance is not enough, you can either change the payment method or recharge your card before paying, but you still can actually pay with your card if you want to!
All you have to do is tell the shop clerk you want to pay with your card by saying 「Mazu Suica de haraimasu」，which allows you to pay your items partially with the remaining balance.
Your Suica card balance will be deducted to 0, and the remaining can be paid in cash.
Shown in the receipt, we paid our items partially with Suica, which is 190 yen, and the remaining with cash, which is 149 yen.
After using up your Suica card balance, you can refund your card at the JR Ticket Counter (みどりの窓口), without losing your money!
Let us know if there is something that needs to be fixed: Feedback Form