Suica/Pasmo: Can I check my balance with the sound of the ticket gate?

Many of you who use Suica or Pasmo may have encountered the inconvenience of being unable to pass through an automatic ticket gate due to insufficient balance or an expired commuter pass. To proactively prevent such situations, transportation IC cards come equipped with an audible alarm function. This feature informs you when your balance is running low or when your commuter pass is nearing expiration. Were you aware of this?

In this article, I’ll elaborate on the different sounds these cards produce under various circumstances and how to configure them.

What sounds are available? In fact, there are five distinct sounds. These not only notify you of your remaining account balance but also indicate how much time remains on your commuter pass.

When you refer to the JR East website, you can learn that Suica provides an alert by modifying the voice guidance response sound at the ticket gate. It notifies you when your remaining balance drops below 1,000 yen or when your commuter pass is set to expire within the next 14 days.

(Source: JR East – Voice guidance when passing through ticket gates) (Note: The information provided here is a textual explanation and does not represent the actual voice alerts.)

If you are using a commuter pass

There are two kinds of sounds.

Passable/Valid for over 14 days “bi”
Passable/Valid for 14 days or less “bi (stop) bi”

Using the balance

There are two kinds of sounds.

Passable / remaining balance over 1,000 yen “bi bi”
Passable / remaining balance within 1,000 yen “bi bi bi”

If you can’t get through

A common sound is played whether you are using a commuter pass or a balance.
Unable to pass / Insufficient remaining amount / Out of section or out of period → “bi—“.

How to set up

Suica and Pasmo in Kanto, as a default, the voice guidance function is turned off. For your information, the Pasmo website refers to “voice guidance” as an “electronic sound notification function”.

It is very easy to enable this useful feature:

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If you want to use this function, please ask the ticket gate attendant after purchase.

The official website says this.

If you go to a ticket gate attendant and tell them that you want to enable the voice guidance function, they will set it up for you in just a few minutes.

You can even set up Mobile Suica!

Open the app, tap on “Ticket Purchase/Suica Management” at the bottom right, and at the bottom, there is a button called “Voice Guidance Service Usage Settings”.


After tapping the “Configure Voice Guidance Service Usage” button, you will jump to a new screen.


Select “Use” and click “Change” at the bottom to complete the settings.

It’s a very easy way to use this useful feature, so please give it a try.

What about in Kansai, ICOCA

Suica and Pasmo in the Kanto region have the voice guidance function turned off as a default, but ICOCA in the Kansai region has it enabled by default without the need to ask the station staff.

(Source: ICOCA Official Website)

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