Apple Pay made its debut in Japan today, although it didn’t completely get off to the best start.
The reason? One of the most eagerly-anticipated selling points of the service — the ability to use it on the subway — didn’t work properly. While East Japan Railway Co. says things were fixed within a few hours, the rush hour outage has made some users worried about future system stability.
The issue apparently related to the Mobile Suica contactless payment system Apple Pay works with. This card allows people to pay subway fare rides. Tim Cook was recently in Japan, where he was shown passing through train states gates using a Suica-enabled iPhone.
The problem came down to the large numbers of users who tried to use Suica cards on Apple Pay, which far exceeded the quantities expected. This is reminiscent of the debut of Apple Pay in China, where tens of millions of people overloaded the system on its first day by trying to register with the service.
In other words, this is good and bad news for Apple: good in that it shows that Japanese customers are excited about using Apple Pay, and bad because it immediately makes commuters wary about one of the most highly-touted integrations — even if Apple itself wasn’t necessarily at fault.
At present, Apple Pay is available on a variety of credit cards in Japan, although some cards issued by American Express, DC, UC and MUFG are currently excluded.