Translated by Takuya Erik Watanabe
Refund Your Suica or PASMO IC Card - How To And Where
During your trip to Japan, you might not spend all the money charged to your Suica IC card. If you would like to get the money and the deposit on your Suica refunded we tell you where and how.
Written by Mako Hayashi
Suica and PASMO are IC card used for traveling by train in Japan. It's a prepaid type card it prevents wasting time with figuring out train fares and buying singular tickets. You can buy these kind of IC cards all over JApan but they are named differently in different regions.
As the Suica Card is a prepaid card, you might charge a large sum of money at once to prevent charging over and over again. This might result in a larger sum of money left on your Suica when you leave Japan.
You can not use these cards outside of Japan. Some people like to keep them as a souvenir or to use when they come back to Japan. The money on the card doesn't expire for ten years, so it possible to use it again if you plan on returning to Japan.
However, if you do want to exchange your Suica Card and get your money back instead, we'll tell you how.
Where Can I Refund My IC Card?
Suica refunds can only be done at East Japan Railway Company stations where Suica cards are issued. If you leave the Greater Tokyo Area, you can use your Suica card but won't be able to refund it. Be mindful about this in case you are planning to travel around Japan.
This rule is the same for all the other IC cards available in Japan. For example, you can perform the refunding process for ICOCA cards in the West Japan Railway Company area, and in the Central Japan Railway Company area for TOICA cards.
Even if you are in the Tokyo area, you won't be able to get a refund at stations or bus offices other than those operated by JR. JR stations have the JR mark.
At JR stations, there are consultation and travel offices called Midori-no-Madoguchi also known as Ticket Office. This is where you can refund your Suica card. Just look for their green writing. All you have to do is tell the staff that you want a refund, and they will start the procedure. Don't worry, most of the staff should speak at least simple English.
How is the Suica Refund Calculated?
Please note that you will be charged a commission fee of 220 yen in order to get a refund of the money in your Suica card. However, you will also get back the 500 yen deposit you paid when purchasing your Suica card. If your remaining money in your card is less than 220 yen, you will only receive your deposit of 500 yen.
The amount you receive will be calculated like this:
Remaining Balance - Commission Fee (220 yen) + Deposit (500 yen) = Refundable Amount
Refund or Keep your Suica Card?
You will have to return your Suica card if you want your refund. If you don't want to pay a commission fee of 220 yen or want to keep your Suica card as a souvenir, you can't get a refund.
An IC card can be a fun souvenir from your trip with many memories attached, so chose wisely!