What is the difference between PASMO and Suica for a transport IC card?

This is the question I have a lot from international people these days when they can’t decide which to have, and my answer is always the same. I’m pretty sure you won’t debate any more after knowing the slight differences below.



The work of PASMO and Suica is the same to be used in the same places

That’s why I usually answer ‘Either is fine’ to the questioners, but some of them care the differences to be convinced well before having. There’re mainly 3 differences between PASMO and Suica that most of us don’t need to care at all.

1, Issuing company

These cards are sold by different companies, that private railways issue PASMO and JR East issues Suica. But as I said before, you can use them in the same way like Mastercard and Visa credit cards.

2, Users

Suica has beaten PASMO by the number of the users for a long time. The 63 million users of Suica is about twice as the 32 million users of PASMO.

3, Smartphone

Suica can be installed to iPhone by using the APP to use it in the same way. But PASMO hasn’t the function which won’t be provided for future as they officially said.


Except for these differences, a cute penguin on Suica may be a good point to be chosen for women. Lastly, I recommend a YouTube video which shows how to return PASMO or Suica for getting back the remaining balance and 500 yen deposit at the end of your trips. Thanks a lot for reading to the end.