Shopify Card Reader: Complete Guide

shopify card reader

Last Updated: May 2024

Welcome to the comprehensive guide on Shopify Card Reader, your go-to resource for understanding and maximizing the potential of this essential retail tool. Whether you’re a seasoned merchant or just starting your e-commerce journey, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about Shopify’s card reader functionalities, from setup to troubleshooting.

Get ready to streamline your payment process and enhance your customers’ shopping experience with expert tips and insights tailored just for you.

Table of Contents

What is a card reader?

A card reader is a device used to read information stored on various types of cards, typically magnetic stripe cards or chip-enabled cards. It works by scanning the encoded data on the card and transmitting it to a computer or other electronic device for processing. Card readers are commonly used in various industries for tasks such as processing payments, accessing secure areas, tracking inventory, and more.

They come in different forms, including handheld devices, built-in readers on electronic devices like smartphones and tablets, and standalone machines at point-of-sale terminals.

The Complete Overview of Shopify Card Reader

What is the Purpose of Using a Shopify Card Reader?

Discovering the significance of incorporating a Shopify Card Reader into your business operations unveils a realm of benefits and features that streamline your payment processes. Let’s delve into the details below to understand why this innovative tool is a must-have for your company.

1. User-Friendly Functionality

Gone are the days of complexity in payment systems. Shopify Card Readers boast exceptional user-friendliness, characterized by their compact size, lightweight design, and portability. With seamless connectivity to your smartphone or tablet, accepting payments becomes effortless, whether you’re stationary or on the move. This streamlined approach not only saves time but also delights your customers with swift transactions.

2. Cutting-Edge Security Measures

In today’s digital landscape, prioritizing security is paramount. The Shopify Card Reader leads the charge in safeguarding your customers’ payment data through advanced tokenization and encryption technologies. With built-in EMV compatibility for chip-enabled cards, transactions are fortified against potential threats, instilling peace of mind in both you and your customers.

3. No Dependency on Wi-Fi

Concerns about Wi-Fi connectivity become obsolete with the adaptable nature of Shopify Card Readers. While internet-based transactions remain viable, these readers operate independently of Wi-Fi, seamlessly integrating with mobile networks, wired internet connections, or Wi-Fi environments. This versatility ensures uninterrupted payment processing, irrespective of connectivity limitations.

4. Robust Fraud Prevention

Combatting fraud is a constant challenge for businesses, but Shopify’s card reader rises to the occasion. Utilizing secure transmission methods and leveraging tokenization, sensitive payment data is transformed into impenetrable codes, thwarting cybercriminals’ attempts to intercept or exploit information. This robust defense mechanism ensures the integrity of your transactions.

5. Enhanced Payment Convenience

Beyond security, Shopify Card Readers elevate the payment experience by enhancing convenience for both merchants and customers. Eliminating the hassle of cash handling and offering rapid transaction processing, these readers cater to today’s demand for instant gratification. Whether scanning, swiping, or utilizing contactless payments, customers enjoy seamless transactions that foster loyalty and satisfaction.

6. Effortless Transaction Tracking

Every transaction facilitated by Shopify Card Readers is meticulously tracked and recorded by your point-of-sale software, simplifying bookkeeping tasks and providing invaluable insights for business management. From managing refunds to processing employee payments, this feature ensures seamless financial oversight and accountability.

7. Trust-Building Measures

In an era where trust is currency, Shopify Card Readers serve as pillars of reliability, demonstrating a commitment to data privacy and security. By safeguarding sensitive payment information, businesses cultivate trust with customers, fostering long-term relationships and driving success.

In essence, integrating Shopify Card Reader into your business operations represents a strategic decision aimed at simplifying payment processes, bolstering security, and instilling confidence in your customer base. With features like real-time inventory management, reporting, and analytics, these readers empower businesses to prioritize customer service and business growth.

How to Utilize the Shopify Card Reader

Step 1: Get the Shopify POS App

Ensure you have the Shopify POS (Point of Sale) app downloaded on your smartphone or tablet. Easily locate and download the app for free from your device’s app store.

Step 2: Connect the Shopify Card Reader

Once the app is installed, connect your Shopify Card Reader. Simply plug the reader into your device’s audio jack or charging port. It’s designed for effortless use and should fit seamlessly.

Step 3: Open the App

Launch the Shopify POS app on your device, accessible from your home screen like any other app. Tap to begin.

Step 4: Add Your Products

Within the app, input all the products or services you wish to sell. Utilize any discounts or special offers available on your products to create accurate receipts for your customers.

Step 5: Initiate Payment

When your customer is ready to pay, tap the “Charge” button in the app to start the payment process.

Step 6: Choose Payment Method

Your customer can then select their preferred payment method:

Swipe: For cards with magnetic strips, swipe through the card reader.

Insert: If their card has a chip, insert it into the chip slot.

Tap: For contactless cards or digital wallets, tap to complete the payment.

Step 7: Signature (if required)

Some transactions may necessitate a signature. If needed, your customer can sign directly on your device screen.

Step 8: Confirm Payment

Review all payment details on your device screen before finalizing the transaction, ensuring accuracy in the purchased amount and items. Once verified, confirm the payment.

Step 9: Choose Receipt Option

Select how to send the receipt to your customer. The Shopify POS app offers email or text message options for eco-friendly and convenient delivery.

Step 10: Sale Completion

And that concludes the process! Once payment is confirmed, the sale is finalized. Hand over the purchases to your customer, and you’re all set. The Shopify card reader simplifies the payment experience, ensuring a smooth and secure transaction for both you and your customers.

Cost For Shopify Card Reader

Shopify provides affordable options for card readers, catering to various business needs and budgets. The Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader is a budget-friendly choice at $29, ideal for small businesses or startups venturing into card payments.

For businesses seeking advanced features, there are upgraded options available. The Shopify Dock for Tap & Chip Reader, priced at $39, offers enhanced functionality. Meanwhile, the Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader, priced at $49, provides superior capabilities, particularly suited for businesses with advanced connectivity requirements.

While Shopify offers its own POS technology, businesses also have the flexibility to use third-party card readers. However, using external hardware may incur additional fees ranging from 0.5% to 2.0%. This flexibility allows businesses to tailor their payment solutions to their specific needs while managing costs effectively.

How Does Shopify Card Reader Differ from Other Card Readers?

When comparing Shopify’s card reader to alternatives like PayPal, which offers a similar solution for $45, one might initially perceive Shopify’s pricing as higher. However, making a direct comparison proves challenging due to varying subscription plans and distinct features offered by each provider.

Another factor to consider is the type of card terminal typically used in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. These terminals often come with lower payment processing costs due to long-term contracts and minimum monthly payments. Surprisingly, for businesses processing over $2,000 in total monthly transactions using both a mobile card reader and a standard terminal, the mobile reader option can be more cost-effective.

Therefore, while Shopify’s card reader pricing may seem higher at first glance, the overall cost-efficiency depends largely on specific business needs, transaction volumes, and a thorough comparison with the plans and terminal options offered by other providers.

How to Obtain a Complimentary Shopify Card Reader

Step 1: Verify Your Eligibility

Access your Shopify account and navigate to the ‘Settings’ page.

Select the ‘Billing’ tab and proceed to the ‘Payment Methods’ section.

If ‘Shopify Payments’ appears as a payment method, your business qualifies for a free card reader from Shopify.

Step 2: Review Shopify Plans

If ‘Shopify Payments’ isn’t listed, there are alternative methods to acquire a free card reader.

Option 1: Shopify or Basic Shopify Plan

Opt for either the Basic Shopify or Shopify plan, both of which include a complimentary card reader.

Option 2: Shopify POS App Trial

Sign up for a trial of the Shopify POS app, granting you access to a free card reader for a generous 14-day period before any long-term commitments.

Exercise caution when availing of free card reader offers. Some users have reported unexpected fees, which can reach up to $30 per month. Thoroughly review the terms and conditions to avoid such expenses.

By following these steps, you can procure a Shopify Card Reader for your business, simplifying in-person sales and elevating the payment experience for your clientele.

Discover the Top 5+ Best Card Readers for Shopify

1. Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader


The Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader is a versatile digital device that seamlessly connects wirelessly to your iPad, iPhone, or Android device. Whether you’re on the move or just starting to accept card payments, this reader offers convenience and flexibility. Its reusable mounting stickers allow you to attach it to other devices or flat surfaces, making it ideal for both stationary and mobile transactions.

Plus, with automatic power-off features, it ensures a hassle-free payment experience.

Choose the Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader for effortless payment processing wherever you are.

2. Introducing the Shopify Tap & Chip Reader

shopify card reader

The Shopify Tap & Chip Reader is an innovative card reader compliant with EMV standards, seamlessly connecting to your Mac, iPhone, or Android device. Paired with the Shopify POS app, this reader enables effortless acceptance of contactless payments, expanding your payment processing capabilities. It’s important to note that the Tap & Chip Reader is exclusively available in the United States via the Shopify Hardware Store.

To use this card reader with Shopify POS, ensure it’s linked and paired with your POS computer. Initiate a contactless transaction by pressing the front of the card reader and holding your contactless payment card or device close until all four blue lights illuminate. Once the Shopify POS displays the receipt message, the transaction is complete.

This reader offers a fast and secure method to handle transactions, enhancing your payment process and customer satisfaction.

3. Shopify Swipe Card Readers

1. Swipe Card Readers With Auto Jack


For online retailers, the Swipe card reader with an audio jack offers a practical and budget-friendly solution. Users can simply insert their iPhone, iPad, or Android device into the audio socket to process card payments. On iOS devices, disabling the card reader in General Settings allows access to the audio jack for music playback. 

Follow these straightforward steps to accept payments with ease:

    • Navigate to the checkout screen.
    • Select “Credit” to initiate the payment.
    • Alternatively, opt for “Existing Terminal” if you prefer to use a different payment terminal.

This user-friendly card reader ensures seamless payment collection, providing customers with a hassle-free shopping experience.

2. Swipe (lightning) card reader

shopify card reader

The Swipe (lightning) card reader, compact and fit into most card pockets, offers a wireless and cable-free experience, perfect for mobile retailers. While primarily available in Canada, its durability makes it a preferred choice for businesses handling frequent credit card transactions. Here’s how to set it up:

    • Plug the power connector into your iPad or iPhone.
    • Utilize the supplied micro-USB cable to charge your device while using the card reader.
    • Ensure a card with a magnetic strip is placed on the back of the card reader for proper functionality.

As with any digital payment system, a stable internet connection is crucial for efficient payment processing. Shopify POS relies on internet connectivity, whether through your phone’s wireless internet or cellular data, to facilitate transactions seamlessly.

4. Shopify Tap, Chip, and Swipe Card Reader: Accept Payments with Ease


The Shopify Tap, Chip, and Swipe card reader enables you to accept both credit card and contactless payments, including Android Pay and Apple Pay, using the Shopify POS app. Pairing the card reader with your countertop is essential for seamless transactions in your physical store.

Before using the card reader for the first time, ensure it is fully charged, which typically requires a 4-hour charging period. Follow these steps to use the card reader effectively:

    • Press and hold the device’s power button until the Shopify logo appears on the display to switch it on.
    • Press the power button again to put the card reader in sleep mode.
    • Wake the device up by pressing any button on the card reader.

It’s important to note that this card reader is only available for businesses located in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

5. Shopify Moneris Card Reader (iPPP320 terminal)

If you’re using Shopify POS on an iPad, consider the Shopify Moneris Card Reader (iPPP320 terminal) for seamless card transactions. This versatile terminal accepts major credit cards, debit cards, and contactless payments like Apple Pay. It minimizes transaction errors, ensuring efficient and accurate processing for a seamless shopping experience.

To get started, register a Moneris merchant account and receive the preconfigured terminal, or order a customized one for existing Moneris accounts. With the Moneris iPPP320 terminal, you prioritize business security and offer competitive rates to your customers.

Steps to Configure the Right Shopify Card Reader for Your Business Needs

Step 1: Prepare Equipment and Software

Begin by ensuring you have a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet and a stable internet connection. Access your device’s app store to download the Shopify Card Reader app, available for both iOS and Android users. Additionally, ensure you have a Shopify account to synchronize with the card reader, enabling seamless integration of products, inventory, and sales data.

Step 2: Install the Shopify Card Reader App

Download the Shopify Card Reader app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Launch the app and log in to your Shopify account or create a new one if needed. Connect your Shopify card reader to your device via Bluetooth, following the app’s instructions for a trouble-free setup.

Step 3: Create a Shopify Account and Link to Your Card Reader

Sign up for a Shopify account or log in with existing credentials. Navigate to the settings menu within the app and select “Card Readers” to initiate Bluetooth pairing between your card reader and device. This seamless connection ensures efficient processing of payments.

Step 4: Pair Your Card Reader with Your Mobile Device

Activate Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet and initiate the pairing process within the Shopify Card Reader app. Follow the prompts to set your card reader to pairing mode and select it from the list of Bluetooth devices on your device. Once paired, your card reader and mobile device can work together seamlessly.

Step 5: Test and Verify Connection

Utilize the test payment feature within the Shopify Card Reader app to ensure a smooth connection between the card reader and app. Complete a test transaction to confirm the functionality of your setup. If any issues arise, Shopify’s customer support is available to assist.

Step 6: Configure Payment Options and Settings

Access payment settings within the Shopify Card Reader app to customize payment methods according to your business needs. Choose preferred payment options and fine-tune other features to optimize the payment experience for your customers.

Step 7: Accept Payments with Confidence

With your Shopify card reader configured and tested, you’re ready to accept payments securely and efficiently. Whether in-store, at events, or on-the-go, the card reader enables seamless transactions, automatically updating your Shopify account with sales information for informed business decisions.

Troubleshooting Common Connection Problems with Your Shopify Card Reader

When utilizing a Shopify card reader, many users encounter challenges during setup and struggle to address them effectively. These issues commonly revolve around connectivity, device compatibility, and linking difficulties to your Shopify account. However, fret not, as below are some remedies to consider.

  • Connectivity concerns: If you’re facing connectivity issues, ensure that Bluetooth is enabled and your device is set to be discoverable.
  • Device compatibility: Verify that your smartphone or tablet is compatible with the card reader.
  • Linking challenges: Should you encounter difficulties linking the card reader to your Shopify account, reach out to Shopify for assistance. They offer comprehensive guides and responsive customer support to aid you in troubleshooting.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can successfully connect your Shopify card reader and commence accepting credit and debit card payments. Remember to select a suitable card reader tailored to your business needs. With a reliable and secure payment system in place, you can redirect your focus towards business expansion and enhancing customer shopping experiences.

Secure customer payment data with your Card Reader for protection and safety

Ensuring the protection and security of customer payment data is paramount when utilizing your card reader. Shopify prioritizes the safeguarding of this sensitive information through rigorous security measures.

Compliance with the security standards set by the Payment Card Industry (PCI) is meticulously adhered to by Shopify card readers. This PCI compliance serves as a robust layer of security, safeguarding your customers’ data. Furthermore, payment data transmitted through Shopify card readers is encrypted, offering an additional level of defense against potential data breaches.

To maintain an airtight security system, it’s crucial to remain vigilant and stay informed about best practices. Educating your employees on handling customer payment issues is also essential. Regularly updating your card readers and devices with the latest security patches is imperative to uphold the trust of your customers and ensure the integrity of their information.

Optimize your Shopify Card Reader with these handy tips and tricks

To ensure optimal performance and enhance customer satisfaction with your Shopify card reader, implementing some helpful tips and tricks can make a significant difference. Once your Shopify card reader is operational, it’s essential to adhere to the following practices:

Maintain a fully charged Shopify card reader at all times to avoid disruptions in service. Keep a spare charging cable and power adapter readily available to ensure uninterrupted usage.

Familiarize yourself with the card reader’s features and functionalities, including tip-to-setup and inventory management capabilities. Understanding these features enables you to maximize the efficiency of your business operations. for E-commerce customer service and order management offers comprehensive solutions for e-commerce customer service and order management. With its intuitive platform, businesses can efficiently handle customer inquiries, manage orders, and streamline their e-commerce operations. Whether it’s providing timely support or optimizing order processing, empowers businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences and drive growth in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

shopify card reader

Key Features

    • Customer Inquiry Management: Efficiently handle customer inquiries from multiple channels, including email, live chat, and social media, in one unified platform.
    • Order Tracking and Management: Track orders in real-time, manage order statuses, and streamline the order fulfillment process for improved efficiency.
    • Multi-channel Integration: Seamlessly integrate with various e-commerce platforms and communication channels to centralize customer interactions and order data.
    • Automated Responses: Set up automated responses and workflows to handle common customer inquiries and repetitive tasks, reducing response times and improving productivity.
    • Ticketing System: Organize and prioritize customer inquiries using a ticketing system, ensuring that no customer concerns slip through the cracks.
    • Analytics and Reporting: Gain valuable insights into customer behavior, agent performance, and overall support operations through comprehensive analytics and reporting tools.


In summary, the Shopify Card Reader offers a seamless and secure solution for businesses of all sizes. From its user-friendly interface to its robust security features, it’s a versatile tool that enhances payment processing efficiency. By prioritizing customer trust and convenience, Shopify empowers businesses to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

With its various options tailored to specific needs, implementing the Shopify Card Reader is a smart move for businesses looking to streamline operations and drive growth in the digital marketplace.



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