Everyone’s traveling life is made easier by using one of the many e-money cards available in Japan, making it quick and painless to breeze through train station gates or make small purchases throughout the country. Of course, when you’re ready to go home, you’re going to want to get your balance refunded.
While IC cards such as Suica and Pasmo can easily be purchased through a ticket vending machine, getting a refund is location specific and there are some rules. So to help you out, we’ll introduce the methods of refund and show you how it’s done.
Which card do you have?
Suica：JR East offices (Tokyo area)
Pasmo：Offices for Tokyo Metro and most private lines (Tokyu, Toei, Keisei, Keikyu) in the Tokyo area
ICOCA：JR West offices (Osaka / Kyoto area)
While each card can be used between different train lines and payment systems (for example, Suica can be used where it says Pasmo), you can only get your money refunded from the office for that particular card.
It also means that if you purchase a card in Tokyo but depart Japan from Osaka you won’t be able to get a refund because the operators are different.
Also, Tokyo Monorail Suica and Rinkai Suica are not issued by JR East, so you need to contact the issuing company of each card directly if you want a refund.
different types of IC cards
If you purchased your Suica using Apple Pay, you need to complete the withdrawal procedure through the app, at which point your membership information will be deleted, along with your commuter pass.
And keep in mind that Suica purchased using Apple Pay on an iPhone cannot be refunded if you don’t have a bank account in Japan.
Read more :
Welcome Suica - Japan Railway Prepaid IC card
When you purchased your Suica card, you paid a 500 yen deposit, which was included in the total price.
For example, if the remaining amount on your card is 1,000 yen, your repayment amount will be 780 yen (minus the 220 yen fee) plus your deposit of 500 yen. This brings it to a total of 1,280 yen that will be refunded.
Pasmo cards don’t have any commission fee charged on refund, so you will receive your remaining balance, plus the 500 yen deposit charge in full.
Other IC cards have different rules depending on the issuing company, so check with the station staff or on their relevant websites prior to purchase.
Go to the office
If you want to get a refund for your Suica card at a JR office, it’s clear as to where you should go as they are prominent in most major stations and the same place where you would redeem a Japan Rail Pass. Alternatively, there are also smaller JR offices at every station along the JR line.
However, if you purchase a Suica card on a non-JR line (such as the Tokyo Monorail when coming from Haneda Airport), you’ll need to go to that specific line to get your refund.
Suica cards are not refundable at Haneda Airport (as it’s not on a JR line) but can be refunded at the ticket office or using the refund machines at Narita Airport. You should also be aware that JR Monorail Suica and Rinkai Suica are not refundable on JR lines. It’s more confusing than it needs to be at this point in time, so just be aware.
Refund machine at Narita Airport
If you’re using Pasmo or another card, you’ll need to go to one of their ticket offices, such as stations along the Tokyo Metro and the Keisei or Toei subway lines. You can also get a refund at the Keikyu Line ticket office at Haneda Airport and the Keisei Line ticket office at Narita Airport.
Tokyo Metro ticket office
Ticket offices for Pasmo card refunds can be harder to find and the English level of the staff in these offices can be hit or miss. So your best bet would be to show them this phrase:
“I would like to refund my e-money card please”
If you don’t have time to get a refund
Since you can only load each card with up to 10,000 yen each time, most people won’t have large balances left over at the end of their trip. Still, since you want to use the rest of the money on your card you have a lot of options to spend it.
Nearly any convenience store in Japan accepts the cards for payment, so load up on interesting food and snacks for your trip, or to bring home for friends! You’ll also be able to use the cards in certain shops in the airport, so that could be the best option for you to unload that balance and return home with some interesting things.
Of course, another great option is to just hold on to the card for your next trip to Japan!
get some interesting food at convenience store with IC cards