Shopify POS card readers

Shopify card readers

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Credit card readers - Accept tap and chip payments

A card reader facilitates credit and debit card payment processing by allowing customers to tap, insert, swipe their cards, or enter card details manually into a device. These compact, swipe-enabled devices easily connect to Shopify POS systems, providing businesses with a convenient and efficient payment solution.

Card readers for Shopify POS

Shopify POS seamlessly integrates with compatible card readers, so you’re able to process payments directly within the POS system. The transaction information is then automatically documented in the order's Timeline in Shopify. To utilize a supported card reader, your store must be located in a supported country and employ a compatible payment provider.

The following credit card readers are available in the United States:

  • Tap & Chip Reader
  • Shopify POS Go

These products offer 24/7 support, free shipping, and a free 30-day return policy. They come with a standard 1-year warranty, which can be extended to 2 years for POS Pro.

Card Reader FAQ

  • Do I need a card reader?

    Yes, you need a card reader to take payments in person. A card reader is a device that lets you accept payments from customers using debit or credit cards. It connects to your computer, tablet, or smartphone and helps process the payments securely. Without a card reader, you wouldn't be able to take card payments and could miss out on sales.

    Shopify offers a variety of card readers dependent on your business needs. Choose from the POS Go, which is the all-in-one point of sale hardware and software device or the Tap and Chip Card Reader which integrates with the Shopify Point of Sale app to create a complete point of sale system. All Shopify card readers are portable, reliable, and secure.

  • How do card readers work?

    Card readers are devices that help retail businesses accept payments from customers using credit or debit cards. Here's how they work:

    1. Using the card: When a customer pays, they tap, swipe, or insert their card into the card reader. The card has information stored on it, such card number and expiration date, which it now transmits to the card reader.

    2. Reading the card: The card reader reads this information and shared it with the point of sale system for authentication.

    3. Checking the details: The point of sale sends these details to the bank or payment processor. This is to make sure the card is valid and has enough money for the payment.

    4. Getting approval: If everything checks out, the bank or payment processor sends a message back to the point of sale saying it's okay to proceed. Then, the system completes the payment and the customer's money is transferred.

    Throughout the process, the card reader and the point of sale  work together to handle the card information securely. Card readers help retailers offer a simple and secure way for customers to pay with their cards.

  • What are the accepted payment types?

    Shopify POS card readers accept a variety of payment types. Here are the accepted payment types:

    1. Debit and credit cards: Shopify POS card readers accept payments from major debit and credit cards. This includes Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

    2. Contactless payments: The card readers also accept contactless payments. That means customers can tap their contactless-enabled cards or digital wallets to make a quick and secure payment.

    3. Chip cards: Shopify POS card readers can accept chip cards, also known as EMV cards. Customers can insert their chip cards into the reader and complete the transaction securely.

    It's important to note that the exact payment types accepted will vary depending on your card reader and the payment options set up with Shopify. For example, the Tap & Chip Card Reader can only take tap and chip payments while the POS Go can take tap, chip, and swipe ones.

  • Can I choose an external card reader with Shopify POS?

    Yes, you can use an external card reader with Shopify POS, even if it's not supported by Shopify. This is a good option if you're in a region where Shopify card readers are not available. However, using an external card reader has some drawbacks. First, you will need to have an account with the card reader provider. Also, Shopify will only show the payment status of an order and won't provide transaction details. This can lead to extra work for you and your team, reconciling sales in Shopify POS and transaction with your payment processor.

  • How do I connect a card reader to Shopify POS?

    The process for connecting a card reader to Shopify POS depends on the specific card reader being used. Here are the steps for connecting two different card readers:

    Tap & Chip Card Reader:

    To connect the Tap & Chip Card Reader you’ll need to turn it on and pair it with Shopify POS. Follow these steps to connect your card reader:

    • Turn on the reader by pressing and releasing the power button
    • Open the Shopify POS app on your smartphone or tablet
    • In the Shopify POS, select Menu → Settings → Set up hardware
    • Tap “Card reader,” then select “Tap & Chip”
    • Press and hold the power button on the card reader for 4 seconds, then release. The 4 LED indicator lights will flash back and forth in blue, indicating the reader is ready for pairing
    • When the card reader appears beneath “Available card readers”, tap “Connect”

    Note: To connect to the Tap & Chip Card Reader, ensure Shopify Payments test mode is turned off and location services are enabled in the device settings. For more details, visit Tap & Chip Card Reader in the Shopify Help Center.

    POS Go:

    The POS Go comes loaded with Shopify POS software. To connect it to your store, all you need to do is turn it on and log in. Follow these steps to start selling with your POS Go:

    • Charge the POS Go and turn it on by pressing and releasing the power button until the status light turns on and the Shopify logo appears on the screen
    • Select the country where you are using the POS Go
    • Select the Wi-Fi network, enter the password, tap “Join” and then tap “Connect.”
    • Tap “Log in” then enter your Shopify store username and password.
    • Your POS Go is automatically connected to Shopify POS and ready to start selling.

    For more details on setting up the POS Go, visit POS Go in the Shopify Help Center.

  • What are the best card readers for my business?

    When looking for card readers, consider your unique business needs. Where are you selling? What types of payments do you want to be able to take? What is your budget? Business owners typically think about the following factors when choosing a card reader: location, connectivity, payment methods, and price.

    Location: Where you sell depends on where your business is located as well as the retail experience you want to create. Most businesses sell at traditional retail stores and have counters purpose-built to check out customers. Stationary card readers are great for this type of experience. They often have a wired connection to the point of sale system. Some businesses additionally sell in mobile environments. For example, closing sales on the sales floor or at pop-ups or markets. Portable card readers are better suited for these environments. They typically fit in the palm of your hand and have wireless connectivity, like Bluetooth or WiFi.

    Connectivity: Connectivity is the way in which the card reader connects to your point of sale system. Traditional retail stores rely on wired connectivity, in which the card reader is physically connected to the point of sale system. This is more reliable, and can be a better choice in high volume stores. In contrast, mobile sellers typically use wireless connectivity. Here the card reader is connected to the point of sale through Bluetooth or WiFi. This gives the seller the ability to move around while still being connected to the point of sale system.

    Payment methods: The type of payment the card reader accepts depends on its payment processor. Today customers expect to be able to pay with their method of choice including major credit cards and digital wallets. Additionally, while swipe continues to be popular among customers, they increasingly want contactless payments like tap.

    Price: The cost of a card reader is the combination of the upfront cost plus the transaction fee. Card readers range in price from $60 to $300. Basic card readers start at $60. They typically can only be used to take payments and offer no additional functionality. More advanced card readers start at $300. In addition to taking tap, chip, and swipe payments, these card readers come with additional features such as checkout, inventory management, and customer profile. It's important to consider not only the upfront cost of the card reader but also any associated fees, such as transaction fees or monthly fees charged by the payment processor. Different payment processors will charge different rates per transaction.

  • Do card readers have a fee?

    Yes, all card readers will include a fee per transaction, with different card readers offering different rates. Shopify charges transaction fees each time a payment is processed through its card readers. The fees vary depending on your Shopify plan. If you use Shopify Payments as your payment gateway, you can save on transaction fees. However, if you use an external payment provider, additional fees may apply.

  • How much do card readers cost?

    The cost of a card reader can vary depending on the type and brand you choose.

    Basic card readers cost around $20 to $50. These are often small devices that connect to a smartphone or tablet. They can take payments but they have no additional functionality.

    More advanced card readers cost around $300 or more. These have extra features because they often come with point of sale software on the device. They can take payments but they can also access point of sale data. The means associates can look up product info, manage inventory, and create customer profiles.

  • Can you accept credit card payments on a phone?

    Yes, you can accept payments in person with only a smartphone. Today, Apple has launched a feature called Tap to Pay on iPhone which allows iPhone users to accept contactless payments directly on their phones. This means that businesses can take payments in person without needing a card reader. It also means that businesses can sell on the go at markets, pop-ups, and more without needing to bring all their POS hardware and accessories with them. Shopify POS supports this feature, and payments you accept using Tap to Pay on iPhone will sync automatically with the Shopify POS app. This feature is only available in the United States and only to iPhone users. Learn more about Tap to Pay on iPhone.