Japanese Apple Pay launch not going well as transit system experiences outages

Apple Pay’s Japanese launch doesn’t appear to be getting off to the best of starts. Bloomberg reports that commuters have been struggling to register their FeliCa train passes – which double as payment cards – into the system.

East Japan Railway Co. said users are experiencing difficulties connecting to the Mobile Suica contactless payment system, after the rail operator servicing Tokyo metropolitan area began accepting Apple Pay today. The trouble started shortly after 9 a.m. in Tokyo. While JR said services were restored after a couple of hours, Apple’s page showing the status of various services showed that there were still some lingering disruptions.

The problems are being attributed to the high numbers of people attempting to register cards on Apple Pay, which one consultant said was a good sign.

“It’s a shame that systems went down, but it shows just how much user interest there is,” said Eiichiro Yanagawa, a senior analyst for consulting firm Celent. “They’ll be able to learn from today’s experience to improve services for the future. We can probably take this as a positive sign,” he said.

Some consumers seem less convinced.

“This makes me worried about system stability going forward,” @ltdexp_1002M posted on Twitter. “Seriously? This may be the first service outage ever for Suica?” said another user posting under @taturou.

Apple had not responded to Bloomberg’s request for comment at the time of writing, but card registration issues on launch day are not uncommon.

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