FeliCa is a contactless Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology developed by Sony. It is predominantly used for contactless payment systems, public transportation fare systems, and access control systems, allowing quick and secure data transfer between devices. The technology is extensively utilized in Japan, with its applications like Suica and Pasmo cards for public transportation payments.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “FeliCa” is: /ˈfɛliˌkɑ/ (Feh-lee-kah)

Key Takeaways

  1. FeliCa is a contactless RFID smart card system developed by Sony, primarily used for electronic money and access control in Japan and other countries.
  2. It operates at a frequency of 13.56 MHz and utilizes encryption for secure transactions, making it a popular choice for public transportation, electronic wallets, and ID cards.
  3. FeliCa cards are designed for quick and efficient processing, with communication speeds of up to 424 kbit/s, making them ideal for high-traffic situations like subway and bus payment systems.


FeliCa is an important technology term because it refers to a type of contactless Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology developed by Sony, which enables quick, secure, and efficient wireless data transmission between devices.

This technology has become widely adopted, particularly in Asia, for various applications such as public transport ticketing, electronic money, and access control systems.

FeliCa’s significance lies in its ability to provide a seamless and convenient user experience by streamlining transactions, thus optimizing operations in sectors like transport, retail, and secure access facilities.

Overall, FeliCa plays a crucial role in the continued development and proliferation of smart card and mobile payment technologies that contribute to the growth of a cashless society.


FeliCa, developed by Sony, is a contactless RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) smart card technology that has, over time, gained widespread acceptance and usage, particularly in Japan and across Asia. Its primary purpose lies in facilitating seamless, swift, and secure electronic transactions for a plethora of applications, both in public and private spheres.

FeliCa’s practical applications encompass not only public transportation but also retail, key card access, loyalty programs, and various automation services. The ease of use, instant transaction processing, and data encryption capability of the technology contribute to an enhanced user experience while ensuring the maintenance of security and privacy measures.

Beyond the conventional card form, FeliCa’s adaptability has led to its integration into mobile devices, smartwatches, and other wearables, further expanding its reach. As a result, FeliCa has been adopted by corporations like NTT DoCoMo, Japan Railways Group, and East Japan Railway Company to support their services.

By embedding a dedicated integrated circuit chip within a device, FeliCa enables users to conveniently access a wide range of services right from their smartphones or wearables. This technological shift toward cashless, contactless, and efficient transaction systems highlights the potential of FeliCa in driving innovations that directly impact and improve the daily lives of users, paving the way for a smarter and connected future.

Examples of FeliCa

Suica Card in Japan: Suica is an integrated smart card system used in Japan for ticketing and electronic money transactions. Using FeliCa technology, the Suica card allows seamless transactions for various forms of public transportation like trains, buses, and metros throughout the country. Commuters can efficiently board and exit transportation systems by simply tapping the card against a card reader or scanning it using a mobile phone application.

Mobile Wallet and Contactless Payment Services: Sony’s FeliCa technology is used in various mobile wallet applications and contactless payment systems around the world. One example is Apple Pay in Japan, which integrates FeliCa, enabling users to make secure, fast, and contactless transactions at a wide range of retailers, restaurants, and other service providers. Users can also add their Suica card to Apple Pay, making travel within Japan even more convenient.

Electronic ID Systems and Access Control: FeliCa is widely used in identification and access control systems, such as in Japanese universities and corporate offices. Employees and students are issued FeliCa-enabled ID cards that grant access to secure zones, buildings, and rooms. With the help of this contactless technology, users can simply tap their FeliCa-enabled cards on a reader to gain access or verify their identity securely.

Frequently Asked Questions about FeliCa

What is FeliCa?

FeliCa is a contactless RFID smart card technology developed by Sony. It is commonly used in Japan for ticketing, transportation cards, and other applications such as e-money transactions. FeliCa’s high-speed communication and encryption can securely store and read data on these cards, providing a smooth user experience in various situations.

How does FeliCa work?

FeliCa works on a radio frequency of 13.56 MHz and is based on the ISO/IEC 18092 standard. When the FeliCa card comes in proximity to a FeliCa-compatible reader/writer, RF signals enable the communication between the card and the reader/writer. These devices transfer data securely with the help of encryption and mutual authentication, ensuring secure transactions without requiring direct contact between the card and the reader/writer.

What are the common uses of FeliCa?

FeliCa technology is widely adopted in various applications in Asia. Some common uses of FeliCa include transportation systems for ticketing, access control for offices and other facilities, loyalty cards for retail businesses, e-money for various types of transactions, and identification cards for schools and other institutions.

Is FeliCa the same as NFC (Near Field Communication)?

Although FeliCa is based on the same international standard as NFC (ISO/IEC 18092), they are not the same. FeliCa is a specific contactless card technology, while NFC is a broader communication technology that encompasses several contactless card technologies, including FeliCa, MIFARE, and ISO/IEC 14443.

Can FeliCa cards be used with non-FeliCa systems?

FeliCa cards can be used with systems that support the FeliCa specifications, which means they may not work with systems developed for other contactless card technologies. However, multi-protocol reader/writers are available, which can support multiple contactless card technologies, including FeliCa, NFC, and others.

Related Technology Terms

  • Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • Contactless Smart Card
  • RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
  • Mobile Wallet
  • Electronic Ticketing System

Sources for More Information


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