What Is Shopify Payments - A Complete Guide

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on March 4, 2024
In the bustling world of e-commerce, choosing the right payment gateway is akin to selecting the best engine for your race car—it can significantly impact your journey's speed and efficiency. Enter Shopify Payments, a beacon for online retailers navigating the vast sea of transaction processing. As the default payment processor for one of the world's leading e-commerce platforms, Shopify Payments offers a streamlined, integrated solution designed to propel online stores towards success. This guide dives deep into the workings of Shopify Payments, elucidating its setup process, operational mechanics, fees, advantages, and potential hurdles. Whether you're polishing your digital storefront or sketching the blueprint of your online empire, understanding Shopify Payments is pivotal.

What is Shopify Payments?

Shopify Payments represents a paradigm shift in the ecommerce realm by embedding payment processing capabilities directly within the Shopify ecosystem. This strategic integration facilitates a streamlined operational workflow, eliminating the dependency on third-party payment gateways. By consolidating sales, payments, and financial reconciliations under one roof, merchants can enjoy an unparalleled level of convenience and efficiency. The essence of Shopify Payments lies in its ability to simplify the complex landscape of online transactions, providing a cohesive and user-friendly platform for both newcomers and seasoned ecommerce veterans. Through this integrated payment solution, Shopify aims to empower merchants by offering a seamless, end-to-end ecommerce experience. The direct integration not only enhances operational efficiency but also significantly reduces the friction typically associated with online payment processing, allowing for smoother customer transactions and improved sales conversion rates.

Who Can Use Shopify Payments?

Shopify Payments is designed to cater to a wide array of merchants, yet its availability is strategically aligned with specific geographic locales, adhering strictly to Shopify's comprehensive terms of service. This geographical consideration ensures that the platform remains compliant with regional regulations and financial service standards, thereby safeguarding merchant interests across diverse markets. The benefits of adopting Shopify Payments are manifold. Merchants can relish in the streamlined payment processing mechanism, which directly contributes to an optimized cash flow through prompt payouts to their bank accounts. This not only simplifies the financial management aspect of running an online store but also enhances liquidity, allowing merchants to reinvest in their business with greater agility. The platform's inclusivity and the direct benefit to merchant cash flows underscore Shopify's commitment to facilitating ecommerce success at a global scale.

How Does Shopify Payments Work?

At its core, Shopify Payments is engineered to provide a frictionless payment experience, seamlessly integrated into the Shopify store's operational framework. This integration ensures that customers can make secure payments directly on the merchant's website, thereby maintaining a cohesive brand experience throughout the checkout process. The mechanics of Shopify Payments revolve around simplifying the transaction process, with funds promptly deposited into the merchant's bank account following each sale. This direct and efficient process underscores Shopify's dedication to facilitating smooth operational workflows for merchants, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. The streamlined payment process, devoid of unnecessary intermediaries, not only speeds up the transaction cycle but also instills a sense of trust and security among customers, further bolstering the merchant's reputation in the competitive online marketplace.

Is Shopify Payments Safe To Use?

Security and compliance are paramount in the digital payment landscape, and Shopify Payments stands at the forefront of safeguarding merchant and customer interests alike. By employing advanced security measures, Shopify Payments ensures that every transaction is protected against fraud and cyber threats, thereby maintaining the integrity of sensitive data. The adherence to Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards exemplifies Shopify's unwavering commitment to meeting the highest security benchmarks, providing merchants and their customers with peace of mind. This comprehensive approach to security not only protects financial transactions but also reinforces the trustworthiness of the Shopify platform, making it a preferred choice for businesses aiming to build and maintain a reputable online presence. Through its robust security framework and strict compliance with global standards, Shopify Payments embodies a safe and reliable payment processing solution, tailored to meet the evolving needs of the ecommerce industry.

Shopify Payments Requirements

For merchants to leverage Shopify Payments, a series of prerequisites must be fulfilled, ensuring that the platform remains accessible yet secure for a broad spectrum of users. Foremost among these requirements is the necessity for a valid bank account in one of the countries supported by Shopify Payments. This foundational requirement guarantees that funds can be securely and efficiently transferred from sales transactions directly into the merchant's account. Additionally, adherence to Shopify's acceptable use policy is critical, underscoring the platform's commitment to ethical business practices and compliance with legal standards. This policy outlines the types of goods and services that can be sold via Shopify, thereby maintaining a safe and trustworthy environment for both merchants and customers. Meeting these criteria is the first step for merchants aiming to activate Shopify Payments within their Shopify store, paving the way for a streamlined payment processing experience that integrates seamlessly with their online store's operations.

Multi-Currency Support

The global ecommerce landscape demands flexibility in payment options, and Shopify Payments addresses this need with its robust multi-currency support feature. This allows merchants to sell their products and services in multiple currencies, significantly widening their potential market and enhancing the customer experience by allowing shoppers to view prices, make payments, and receive refunds in their local currency. Such flexibility not only attracts a broader audience but also fosters trust and transparency between the merchant and customers, reducing the friction associated with currency conversion and potential misunderstandings related to pricing. Multi-currency support is a testament to Shopify Payments' position as a leading payment provider, offering an inclusive platform that accommodates the diverse needs of global merchants and shoppers alike.

Security Measures

In today's digital age, the security of online payments cannot be overstated. Shopify Payments rises to the occasion by implementing stringent security measures designed to protect merchants and their customers. Among these is the mandatory two-step authentication process, which adds an extra layer of security by requiring a secondary verification step before access is granted to sensitive account information. Additionally, Shopify Payments employs rigorous fraud detection measures that scrutinize each transaction for suspicious activity, leveraging advanced algorithms and real-time monitoring to prevent unauthorized access and fraudulent transactions. These security protocols are essential in cultivating a secure ecommerce environment, allowing merchants to focus on growing their business with the confidence that their online transactions are protected against the evolving threats in the digital payment landscape.

Additional Considerations

When deciding to use Shopify Payments, merchants must also consider several additional factors to ensure smooth operation and compliance. Among these is an awareness of the supported payout currencies, which may influence the choice of currencies offered to customers. This decision has direct implications for processing customer’s payment fees and currency conversion fees, which can affect a merchant's bottom line. Furthermore, compliance with local laws and Shopify's policies is paramount, as it ensures that merchants operate within legal boundaries and adhere to industry standards. This comprehensive approach to compliance and operational consideration underscores Shopify Payments' role not just as a payment processor but as a comprehensive solution for merchants aiming to optimize their payment methods and enhance their ecommerce strategy.

By meticulously addressing these requirements, security measures, and additional considerations, Shopify Payments solidifies its position as a premier payment gateway for online merchants. It offers a seamless, secure, and inclusive payment processing solution that caters to the diverse needs of the global ecommerce community, facilitating smooth and efficient transactions that benefit both merchants and customers alike.

Shopify Payments Fees

Navigating the fee structure of Shopify Payments is a critical step for merchants aiming to maximize their ecommerce strategy. Understanding these fees is not just about keeping costs in check; it's about strategically aligning your business model with the right payment processing solution to enhance profitability. With Shopify Payments, the fee structure is designed to be transparent and adaptable to various business sizes and volumes, underscoring Shopify's commitment to providing a versatile payment gateway that supports the growth of online stores across different geographies and sectors.

Payment Processing Fees

The payment processing fees associated with Shopify Payments are a fundamental aspect of its operation, directly influencing the economics of each transaction. These fees are levied on every transaction processed through Shopify Payments, acting as the cost for the convenience and security of using Shopify's integrated payment system. The structure of these fees is carefully crafted to be competitive, varying by the merchant's selected Shopify plan and the country in which they operate. This tiered approach ensures that businesses of all sizes can access a pricing model that aligns with their transaction volumes and growth aspirations. For higher-tier plans, Shopify incentivizes merchants with lower transaction fees, reflecting the platform's support for scaling businesses. This nuanced fee structure enables merchants to forecast their costs more accurately and plan their pricing strategies accordingly, ensuring that they can maintain healthy margins while offering competitive prices to their customers.

Third-party Transaction Fees

One of the distinct advantages of using Shopify Payments is the elimination of third-party transaction fees. Typically, these are additional costs incurred when merchants opt for external payment gateways to process online payments. By integrating payment processing within the Shopify ecosystem, merchants can bypass these extra charges, streamlining their financial operations. This direct integration not only simplifies the payment process but also translates into significant cost savings, particularly for stores with high transaction volumes. The avoidance of third-party transaction fees is a compelling reason for merchants to activate Shopify Payments, as it enables them to retain a larger portion of their sales revenue, enhancing overall profitability.

Currency Conversion Fees

In the global marketplace, the ability to accept payments in multiple currencies is invaluable. Shopify Payments facilitates this flexibility, but it's important for merchants to understand the associated currency conversion fees. These fees are applied when a customer makes a purchase in a currency different from the merchant's payout currency, necessitating a conversion to deposit the funds into the merchant's bank account. Shopify adds a small percentage on top of the base exchange rate for this service, ensuring that merchants can cater to international customers without navigating the complexities of currency exchange themselves. While these fees are an additional cost, they are typically lower than those associated with traditional bank currency conversions, making it more economical for merchants to expand their global reach. By accepting a wide range of payment methods, including major credit cards, Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, Shopify Payments empowers merchants to cater to a diverse customer base while managing the financial implications of currency conversion.

Shopify Payments Benefits

Choosing Shopify Payments as your payment provider opens a world of opportunities for enhancing the operational efficiency and profitability of your Shopify store. This integrated payment solution is engineered to streamline payment processes, offering a suite of benefits tailored to meet the needs of modern ecommerce businesses.

1. Quick and Complete Integration

The hallmark of Shopify Payments is its seamless integration within the Shopify ecosystem, offering a frictionless checkout experience that keeps customers within your store's environment from start to finish. This integration goes beyond the mere acceptance of payments, embedding itself into every facet of the Shopify platform, from inventory management to customer analytics. By ensuring that the checkout process is as smooth and efficient as possible, Shopify Payments significantly reduces cart abandonment rates, directly impacting your store's conversion rates and revenue. The ease of setup also means that merchants can swiftly activate Shopify Payments and start accepting payments online, eliminating the technical challenges and delays often associated with third-party payment gateways.

2. Savings on Transaction Fees

One of the most tangible benefits of using Shopify Payments is the savings on fees when customers pay. By bypassing third-party gateways, merchants can avoid the additional fees that these services typically impose on transactions. Shopify Payments offers competitive rates that decrease as merchants scale up their operations by upgrading to higher-tier Shopify plans. This cost-effectiveness is particularly beneficial for growing businesses looking to maximize their profit margins without compromising on the quality of the customer payment experience. The savings on processing customer’s payment can be redirected towards other areas of the business, such as marketing or product development, further fueling growth and profitability.

3. Offline Sales

In today's retail environment, the ability to offer a cohesive shopping experience across both online and offline channels is invaluable. Shopify Payments, in conjunction with Shopify POS, enables merchants to unify their sales channels, offering customers a seamless brand experience whether they're shopping in-store or online. This integration is crucial for businesses that operate brick-and-mortar stores alongside their ecommerce platforms, allowing for real-time synchronization of inventory, sales, and customer data. The ability to accept a wide range of payment methods in-person, just as easily as online, not only enhances operational efficiency but also improves customer satisfaction by offering flexibility and convenience in how they choose to shop.

4. Flexible Payment Methods

Flexibility in payment options is a key factor in providing an excellent customer experience, and Shopify Payments excels in this area. By supporting all major payment methods, including credit cards, Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, Shopify Payments ensures that customers can use their preferred payment method when making a purchase. This inclusivity helps to broaden your store's appeal, catering to a diverse customer base with varying preferences for payment. The convenience of being able to offer customers their choice of payment method can significantly enhance the likelihood of purchase completion, directly impacting your store's sales and growth.

5. Fraud Analysis

In the digital age, protecting your business from fraudulent transactions is paramount. Shopify Payments includes advanced fraud analysis tools that scrutinize each transaction for potential signs of fraud, providing merchants with the information needed to make informed decisions about order fulfillment. This level of security not only protects the merchant's revenue and inventory but also safeguards the store's reputation by minimizing the risk of fraudulent activity. The peace of mind that comes from knowing your transactions are being monitored for fraud 24/7 allows merchants to focus on other aspects of their business, secure in the knowledge that Shopify Payments is working to protect their interests.

Shopify Payments Challenges

Despite the numerous advantages offered by Shopify Payments, it's important for merchants to be aware of certain challenges and limitations that could impact their ability to use the service effectively. Understanding these potential hurdles is crucial for planning and executing a successful online retail strategy.

1. Not Available In Every Country

Shopify Payments' availability is one of its most significant constraints, as it is not accessible to merchants in every country. This geographical limitation can be a considerable obstacle for businesses located outside of the supported regions, restricting their ability to leverage the integrated payment solution provided by Shopify. This limitation necessitates the search for Shopify Payments alternatives, which may not offer the same level of integration, convenience, or cost-efficiency. For merchants in unsupported countries, this means dealing with additional complexities related to integrating third-party payment processors, potentially leading to higher processing customer’s payment fee and a less seamless checkout experience for customers. The need to navigate these challenges underscores the importance of a versatile payment strategy that can adapt to the geographic limitations of payment providers.

2. Must Comply With Products T&Cs

Another challenge is the strict adherence to Shopify's terms and conditions regarding the types of products that can be sold through its platform. These regulations can significantly impact merchants whose products fall into restricted categories, limiting their eligibility to use Shopify Payments. The necessity to comply with these terms means that some merchants may have to alter their product offerings or seek alternative platforms for selling their goods, which can be a daunting task. This compliance requirement underscores the need for merchants to thoroughly understand and align their business operations with Shopify's policies, ensuring they can use Shopify Payments without facing disruptions. It also highlights the importance of legal and regulatory compliance in ecommerce, a critical aspect that all online merchants must navigate carefully.

3. High Chargeback Fees

Chargebacks represent another challenge associated with using Shopify Payments, particularly due to the high fees that can be incurred when a customer disputes a charge. These fees not only affect the merchant's profit margins but also require significant administrative effort to resolve. The impact of chargebacks is twofold: financial, as they can lead to substantial costs, and reputational, as frequent chargebacks can indicate issues with product quality or customer satisfaction. To mitigate the risk of chargebacks, merchants must implement clear communication policies, offer excellent customer service, and ensure product descriptions are accurate and transparent. Developing strategies to minimize chargebacks is essential for maintaining healthy profit margins and a strong brand reputation.

4. Sudden Account Frozen

The potential for Shopify to freeze accounts under investigation can cause significant operational disruptions for merchants. This action, typically taken in response to suspected fraudulent activity or policy violations, can leave businesses unable to process payments, impacting sales and cash flow. The sudden nature of such freezes can be particularly challenging, leaving merchants scrambling to communicate with Shopify's support team to resolve the issue and restore account functionality. To minimize the risk of account freezes, merchants must ensure their operations are fully compliant with Shopify's policies, maintain accurate records, and engage in best practices for fraud prevention. Understanding the reasons behind account freezes and proactively addressing potential red flags can help merchants avoid this disruptive scenario.

Navigating these challenges requires a proactive approach and a thorough understanding of Shopify Payments' requirements and limitations. By staying informed and prepared, merchants can better position their businesses for success, leveraging the strengths of Shopify Payments while mitigating its potential drawbacks.

Shopify Payments Alternatives

While Shopify Payments serves as a comprehensive solution for many merchants, certain limitations or regional availability issues may prompt the search for alternatives. Fortunately, the market offers a variety of robust payment solutions that cater to diverse needs, ensuring that merchants have access to flexible and efficient payment processing options.


Stripe stands out as a formidable alternative to Shopify Payments, offering extensive payment solutions that support a wide range of currencies and payment methods globally. Known for its developer-friendly platform, Stripe allows for a high degree of customization, making it an ideal choice for merchants looking to tailor the checkout experience to their specific needs. Its competitive processing fees, coupled with additional charges for international cards, provide transparency and predictability in transaction costs. Stripe's powerful API and comprehensive suite of tools make it a preferred choice for online stores seeking to enhance their payment processing capabilities while maintaining flexibility in payment options.


For merchants who operate both online and brick-and-mortar stores, Square offers an integrated payment solution that excels in unifying sales channels. Its transparent pricing model, devoid of monthly fees, makes it an attractive option for small to medium-sized businesses monitoring their operational costs closely. Square's ease of use and the ability to handle a variety of payment methods, from accepting credit card payments to digital wallets like Google Pay, make it a versatile choice for businesses aiming to provide a seamless payment experience across all customer touchpoints.


PayPal is a globally recognized payment provider that boasts widespread consumer trust and acceptance. Offering a straightforward per-transaction fee structure that varies by country, PayPal facilitates online payments with ease, allowing merchants to tap into its vast user base for potentially higher conversion rates. Its integration into Shopify stores simplifies the acceptance of payments online, providing customers with a familiar and secure checkout option. PayPal's reputation for security and customer protection also adds a layer of trust, encouraging hesitant shoppers to complete their purchases.

Apple Pay

As mobile commerce continues to grow, Apple Pay offers Shopify stores a seamless integration that enhances the mobile checkout experience. By allowing customers to use their Apple devices for payments, merchants can tap into the convenience and security of Apple Pay, potentially increasing conversion rates and customer satisfaction. The absence of additional fees for merchants makes it an economically attractive option for enhancing the mobile shopping experience.

Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay leverages Amazon's extensive user base to offer a quick and trusted payment option for online shoppers. By allowing customers to use their existing Amazon accounts to make purchases on Shopify stores, merchants can benefit from the streamlined checkout process that Amazon Pay provides. Its fee structure, comparable to other major payment gateways, ensures competitive pricing while offering the added advantage of Amazon's reputation for convenience and security.

Meta Pay

Meta Pay introduces a unique value proposition by integrating social media shopping features directly into the payment process. This payment solution is particularly beneficial for merchants leveraging social media platforms to engage with customers, offering a direct and secure payment option within these ecosystems. By simplifying the transition from social media browsing to making a purchase, Meta Pay can significantly enhance the social commerce experience.

Google Pay

Google Pay simplifies online transactions by offering a fast and secure payment method that integrates seamlessly with Shopify stores. It enables customers to pay with the information stored in their Google accounts, reducing friction at checkout and potentially increasing conversion rates. With no additional fees for merchants, Google Pay represents an attractive option for businesses looking to streamline their online payment processes while offering customers a convenient and familiar payment method.

Each of these alternatives to Shopify Payments brings unique features and benefits to the table, allowing merchants to choose the solution that best fits their business model and customer needs. Whether prioritizing global reach, seamless integration across sales channels, or the ability to leverage social media for sales, there's a payment solution available to meet the diverse requirements of today's ecommerce landscape.

How to Set Up Shopify Payments?

Setting up Shopify Payments is a streamlined process designed to integrate seamlessly with your Shopify store, enabling you to efficiently manage your online transactions. This integration not only simplifies your operations but also positions your business to take full advantage of Shopify's robust ecommerce platform. By following a few straightforward steps, you can quickly activate Shopify Payments and begin enjoying its benefits.

Step 1: Decide On Your Store Currency

The initial step in configuring Shopify Payments involves selecting the primary currency for your store and payouts. This decision is crucial as it affects how your products are priced and how you receive payments. Choosing a currency that aligns with your primary market can enhance the shopping experience for your customers by providing them with familiar pricing. Additionally, considering the currency in which you wish to receive payouts is important for managing your financials more effectively. Shopify supports multiple currencies, giving you the flexibility to cater to a global audience and expand your market reach.

Step 2: Go To The Payments Section In Your Store’s Settings

To proceed with setting up Shopify Payments, navigate to the Payments section within your Shopify admin dashboard. This area is the central hub for configuring your payment settings, where you'll find various options to customize how you accept payments online. Accessing this section is straightforward and provides a comprehensive overview of the payment methods available to your Shopify store. It's here that you can begin the process of activating Shopify Payments, marking a significant step towards optimizing your payment processing setup.

Step 3: Choose Shopify Payments As A Payment Provider

Upon reaching the Payments settings, select Shopify Payments as your preferred payment processor. This choice signifies your decision to use Shopify's integrated payment solution, streamlining the checkout process for your customers and unifying your payment management under one roof. Choosing Shopify Payments enables you to take advantage of lower transaction fees, accept a wide range of payment methods, accept credit card payments, Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, and access detailed reporting on your transactions. This integration is pivotal in enhancing the efficiency of your payment processing and providing a smoother experience for your customers.

Step 4: Complete Account Setup

The final step involves filling in the necessary information about your business and bank account details to facilitate payouts. This information is critical for ensuring that the funds from your sales are accurately deposited into your account. Providing detailed and accurate information is essential for the smooth operation of your payment processing. Once completed, you'll have successfully set up Shopify Payments, positioning your business to process payments more efficiently and securely.


Shopify Payments offers an integrated solution that simplifies payment processing for Shopify store owners. By embedding payment processing directly within the Shopify platform, it eliminates the need for external payment gateways, reduces transaction fees, and enhances the overall checkout experience for your customers. However, understanding and adhering to Shopify's requirements is vital for leveraging the full potential of Shopify Payments. With careful consideration and proper setup, Shopify Payments can become an invaluable component of your ecommerce strategy, streamlining your operations and contributing to the growth and success of your online store.


Is Shopify Payments Better Than PayPal?

When comparing Shopify Payments to PayPal, it's essential to consider the specific needs of your Shopify store. Shopify Payments offers an integrated solution that is designed to work seamlessly within the Shopify ecosystem, providing a streamlined checkout process for customers. This integration also allows for lower transaction fees for Shopify users, which can significantly reduce the overall cost of processing payments. Moreover, Shopify Payments enables merchants to manage their payments, orders, and payouts all in one place, offering a level of convenience that external payment providers like PayPal may not match. This consolidation simplifies administrative tasks, making it easier for merchants to keep track of their finances. However, PayPal is known for its widespread acceptance and trust among consumers, potentially offering a broader reach. The choice between Shopify Payments and PayPal ultimately depends on your business model, the importance of integrated payment processing, and your target market's preferences.

Is Shopify Payments Free?

Shopify Payments does not charge monthly fees, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to minimize ongoing operational costs. However, it's important to note that transaction fees and other specific charges do apply. These fees are part of processing online payments and vary depending on the Shopify plan you choose. The key advantage here is the absence of additional fees typically associated with third-party payment gateways, which can add up over time. While Shopify Payments itself is free to activate and use, the transaction fees are a necessary consideration for merchants calculating their overall costs and profit margins.

How Secure Is Shopify Payments, And What's The Approval Process?

Shopify Payments prioritizes security and compliance, adhering to PCI standards to protect both merchants and customers. The platform employs rigorous security measures, including encryption and fraud detection algorithms, to safeguard transaction data and personal information. The approval process for Shopify Payments involves verifying your business and bank account details to ensure they meet Shopify's requirements. This process is designed to be straightforward, with Shopify providing guidance and support to help merchants complete the necessary steps. Once approved, merchants can confidently process payments, knowing their operations are secure and compliant with industry standards.

How Long Does Shopify Payments Hold Your Money?

The time Shopify Payments holds your money before payout can vary by region, but generally, payouts are scheduled to occur within 2 to 3 business days after a transaction. This payout schedule ensures that merchants have consistent access to their funds, improving cash flow management. Factors such as bank holidays and weekends may affect the exact timing of payouts, but Shopify aims to make the process as swift and reliable as possible. Understanding the payout timeline is crucial for financial planning, especially for businesses that rely on timely access to sales revenue.

What Are Shopify Payments Limits?

Shopify Payments imposes certain limits based on your account status, transaction volume, and compliance with Shopify's terms and conditions. These limits are designed to manage risk and ensure the integrity of transactions processed through the platform. For example, new accounts or those with sudden spikes in sales volume might experience temporary holds or additional review processes to verify the legitimacy of the transactions. Adhering to Shopify's guidelines and maintaining a clear record of sales and customer interactions can help in minimizing restrictions and ensuring a smooth payment processing experience. It's also beneficial for merchants to be familiar with these limits and plan their sales strategies accordingly, ensuring compliance and avoiding potential disruptions.

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