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

Many of you who use Suica or Pasmo may have had the experience of not being able to pass through an automatic ticket gate due to insufficient balance or an expired commuter pass. In fact, in order to prevent this kind of trouble in advance, transportation IC cards are equipped with a function that alerts you with an audible alarm when your balance or commuter pass expires. Did you know about this?
In this article, I’ll explain what kind of sound will be played under what circumstances, and how to set it up.

What sounds are there?
Actually, there are five different sounds. Not only does it let you know if you have enough money left in your account, but it also lets you know how much time you have left on your commuter pass.

If you look at the JR East website, you will see that

Suica has a function that alerts you when the remaining charge amount is less than 1,000 yen, or when your commuter pass expires within 14 days, by changing the response sound of the voice guidance at the ticket gate.

(Source: JR East – Voice guidance when passing through ticket gates)
(This is a text explanation, not the actual voice.

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”


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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:

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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