Friday, July 4, 2014

How to pay for things overseas using your Galapágos docomo Android NFC and PayPass

PayPass™ point-of-sale terminal
Japan adopting tech (NFC) that was originally adopted from Japan (FeliCa)
In the Japanese 電子マネー {denshi manē} (e-cash) world, there are currently six main FeliCa (a Japan-based near-field communication system) based systems for paying for goods at stores and restaurants with Japanese yen using your Japanese mobile phone's おサイフケータイ {osaifu kētai} (Osaifu-Keitai "mobile wallet") app:
#1. iD [credit]
Affiliated with NTT's docomo, it ties primarily to Visa/MasterCard®, and docomo's DCMX credit service. (with some exceptions depending on the issuing bank). iD is not a smartphone-only technology; it can (and often is) embedded in Japanese credit cards standalone.
iD's credit-based competitor
#2. QUICPay [credit]
It ties primarily to JCB and AMEX credit/charge cards (with some exceptions depending on the issuing bank). It is a standalone technology that links existing credit cards to your phone; there are no credit cards that have "QUICPay" NFC chips in them.
#3. WAON [pre-loaded cash]
It is affiliated with JAL for miles; preferred payment system for ÆON (イオン {Ion}) owned businesses.
logo after Bitwallet K.K. acquisition
#4. Rakuten Edy [pre-loaded cash]
It's affiliated with ANA for miles, and also Rakuten Super Points, Ponta (Lawson, KFC, …), Edy de COIN (GREE), T-POINT, Yodobashi Gold Points, EPOS Card, Belle Maison Points, Bic Points, NEXCO, Edy de Matsumoto Points, EDION Points; you can also pay with cash in your smartphone's Edy for goods over the internet — via smartphone or personal computer.
#5. nanaco [pre-loaded cash]
This is the preferred payment system for 7&i Holdings businesses: 7-Eleven, Denny's, Loft, Itō-Yōkadō supermarkets, Sogō-Seibu department stores, ….
モバイル Suica
The penguin sure is cute.
#6. Mobile Suica [pre-loaded cash]
This is the preferred payment system for JR (stores inside atré malls next to big JR stations) compatible nationwide with train and bus stations on the "IC" transportation network: Suica, PASMO, ICOCA, PiTaPa, TOICA, manaca, nimoca, SUGOCA, Kitaca, etc.
Suica, Edy, WAON, nanaco
None of these are directly linked to a credit card
The first two systems, iD and QUICPay, are basically substitutes for credit card "swiping" as they are linked directly to a credit card — although all of the "pre-loaded cash" systems can be "charged" or "top off-ed" (transferring Japanese yen, or converting loyalty points, from one account into the secure separate storage in the phone) directly via various apps; Rakuten Edy also allows topping off from either a Rakuten Bank or a Rakuten account, which can be linked to many types of payment systems, including credit cards.

イーバンク → 楽天銀行
Rakuten allows direct transfers from its bank account to Edy.
Not just any credit card can be linked to iD and QUICPay; both have a list of supported bank/card combinations.

None of these systems, however, worked with the two most popular NFC based payment systems in the North America and Europe: MasterCard/Maestro's PayPass™ and Visa's payWave.

Until recently.

Getting PayPass ability for your Japanese phone

The iD system now works with MasterCard's PayPass system. In addition to paying for things with a swipe of your phone in Japan, you can now also do the same overseas. In order to use PayPass, you must meet the following requirements:

A. You need an Android phone that has hybrid FeliCa / NFC hardware.

FeliCa is Sony developed "Japanese NFC" and is much older than the international NFC system that was inspired by it. Early Japanese phones (smartphone and feature phones) were FeliCa only; newer (all 2014 models and most 2013 models) Japanese market Android docomo phones with NFC are hybrid NFC+FeliCa. Non-Japanese phones are NFC only.

As of July 2014, the docomo models that support hybrid FeliCa+NFC Type A/B are:
NTT docomo NFC Demo Corner
2012: inside or outside Japan NFC
  • GALAXY S5 SC-04F
  • Disney Mobile on docomo SH-05F
  • Xperia Z2 SO-03F
  • Xperia A2 SO-04F
  • Disney Mobile on docomo F-03F
  • G2 L-01F
  • GALAXY Note 3 SC-01F
  • Xperia Z1 SO-01F
  • Xperia Z1 f SO-02F
  • Disney Mobile on docomo F-07E
  • Optimus it L-05E
  • MEDIAS X N-06E
  • ELUGA P P-03E
  • Xperia A SO-04E
  • Xperia feat. HATSUNE MIKU SO-04E
  • Xperia AX SO-01E
  • Optimus G Pro L-04
  • EELUGA X P-02E
  • Xperia Z SO-02E

B. You need a miniUSIM that is compatible with NFC wallets (type A/B).

Upgrade your early hybrid NFC/FeliCa with this for free.
The early miniUSIMs for Docomo phones were usually colored in red livery. The new NFC wallet compatible miniUSIMs are pink. Any docomo shop will replace your legacy SIM for the new pink SIM free-of-charge, and you will be able to keep your phone number (but not any SIM-based contact lists or applications, which are obsolete in 2014 anyway).

You will know when you have a pink Type A/B miniUSIM in your device because the おサイフケータイ {osaifu kētai} (Osaifu-Keitai "mobile wallet") app will have an additional third column (accessible by swiping left or right) in the マイサービス {mai sābisu} (My Service) & おすすめ {osusume} (Recommend) areas:
  • すべて {subete} | All
  • 本体 {hontai} | Phone(FeliCa)
  • UIMカード {yū ai emu kādo} | UIM card
Android Osaifu-Keitai app
Note the UIMカード column;
モバイルcashbee is a NFC UIM app.
If the third "UIM Card" column is not present (even if it is empty), then either your おサイフケータイ {osaifu kētai} (Osaifu-Keitai "mobile wallet") app is too old (version 4.1.1 is the newest version as of July 1st, 2014) or your USIM is not the pink type.

To find out how many blocks of memory (which is completely separate from your phone's memory or USB memory or SD card storage) your FeliCa apps are using, press your phone's physical/virtual menu button while inside the おサイフケータイ {osaifu kētai} (Osaifu-Keitai "mobile wallet") app and select メモリ使用状況 {memori shiyō jōkyō} (Status of used memory). The 本体 {hontai} (FeliCa) / Phone(FeliCa) area will have two areas:
  1. a 共通領域 {kyōtsū ryōiki} (Common Area) that will have around 750 blocks
  2. a 鉄道・バス領域 {tetsudō basu ryōiki} (Transportation Area) that will have around 250 blocks.
A nice feature of storing the data on the USIM card is that you do not need to do the complicated process of 機種変更 {kishu henkō} (model change [procedure]) for every valuable FeliCa application that has non-backed up cash or important data (that is only in the handset) when you need to turn in your phone for servicing or repair — or you are upgrading or replacing a mobile device; all you need to do is transfer your UIM to the new phone. There is no need to put the data in temporary escrow with the app provider or carrier.

C. You need a PayPass compatible Japanese MasterCard.

Orico PayPass MasterCard
This is a compatible card (and one of the first)
It's not enough to have a Japanese credit card that is iD compatible; it must be iD (meaning it's issued by a Japanese bank) and PayPass compatible.

Before you apply for a card, it's best to load the latest app and check the list of support bank/card combinations so you don't get disappointed. If you get a card, you'll probably want one with a contact smart chip in it too, as using a PIN instead of a signature is getting to be pretty standard in Japan and Europe, although it still has a long way to go in America.

D. You need version 8.0 or later of the "iDアプリ {aidī apuri}".

iDアプリ アップデート
PayPass enabled since Feb, 2014
The official documentation says you need version 8.0 or later of the iD software, however, the app's Change Log in the Play Store claims that PayPass ability was added in version 7.0. As of July 1, 2014, the current version is 9.0.

There are two ways to get the iD app: one is straight through the Google Play Store. Another way is through the おサイフケータイ {osaifu kētai} (Osaifu-Keitai "mobile wallet") app, which is usually built-in to your Galápagos firmware and will be in the おすすめ {osusume} (Recommend) section if it is not already installed. If it is installed, it will be in the マイサービス {mai sābisu} (My Service) Installed NFC/FeliCa applications do not appear in the installed apps section of your phone and vice-versa; the NFC/FeliCa applications are isolated from the Android system and the two use a bridge to communicate with each other.

Note that both the おサイフケータイ {osaifu kētai} (Osaifu-Keitai "mobile wallet") app and the iD application are very security sensitive because they deal with money. If you root your phone or replace the firmware, it is unlikely these apps will be able to be downloaded. And even if they are side-loaded, they will refuse to work. The iD app won't even work if Wi-Fi is enabled.

E. Your NFC R/W P2P functionality needs to be "off".

Your PayPass will work even when your phone is off because it is designed to work in "client/slave" mode where the POS NFC/FeliCa terminal acts as the "host/master" providing the main power (by induction through the air). Counterintuitively though, when NFC is "turned on" on your phone, your PayPass/iD will not work.

Fortunately, many phones include widgets and UIs that allow you to "temporarily" activate P2P NFC, disabling it (and saving battery life) after a preset amount of minutes. This way, you won't accidentally forget and have to fiddle with your phone to deactivate R/W P2P while there's a line behind you.
NFC P2P example between two Android phones
If you can do this, your NFC R/W P2P is "on" and NFC iD/Paypass (among other things) won't work.

F. You need to apply (email/phone/postal mail) and register with your credit card company

"Huh? Am I living in the 20th century?!"
Once you get the card, you will need to register it with the iD app. Unfortunately (or fortunately), for security reasons, this is not as simple as inputting the card number, CVC, and expiration date. You will need to tell your card company that you wish to use the service and they will send you a one-time use activation code etc. via certified mail.

In the application, you may set limits for the use (max amount per transaction, max amount per day), as well as PINs to use for amounts over a certain threshold, PINs for the smart chip, and passwords for using or maintaining the status of the card over the internet. The details will depend on the card.

Using your iD at PayPass & PayWave terminals overseas

MasterCard paypass または [PayWave]
Notice how this MasterCard ad doesn't label the right logo as "Visa PayWave".
Even though you can't link your iD to a Visa PayWave card, you can still pretty much pay at any POS NFC terminal that accepts either MasterCard PayPass or Visa PayWave — just like how you can use MasterCard anywhere Visa is accepted and vice versa.

Protecting your device from theft

Android Device Manager
Android Device Manager:
don't leave home without it
With all of the additional security features turned off, your e-money and NFC based credit cards are about as secure as an old fashioned credit card or cash: if somebody steals or you lose your phone, you have to deal with it the same way you deal with a lost or stolen credit card.

However, depending on your preference between balancing convenience versus security, you can make the NFC based payments more secure than cash or credit. Depending on your device, you may be able to do one or more of the following:

Using a plain non-mobile credit card

Visa microtag PayWave keychain
Non-traditional shape of a NFC credit "card"
Of course, you can always use a plain credit card with a PayPass chip in it. The PayPass "card" may not even be in the shape of a credit card; while they're not available yet in Japan, paying by PayPass can be done by a keychain, a bracelet, or a watch.

It's nice to know that if you decide to switch from a phone which supports NFC to one that doesn't, you can continue to use your PayPass with a less high tech device that doesn't run on any power.

Other Options

つづく (to be continued...)
... when I get around to it.
Many of you in Japan that travel overseas might not have a docomo but might use a phone from another carrier. Even more of you might not have a Japanese PayPass MasterCard.

Are there ways to use your Japanese phone to pay for things outside of Japan.

Yes, there are! I will be covering these methods in future posts.

1 comment:

  1. Now that is convoluted. I wouldn't be surprised if less than 10 people ever got all that set up.