Our rating(3.9/5)
Shopify’s card reader works with a decent POS app in sync with your online store.
Shopify Ireland subscribers can buy a card reader that works with a Shopify POS app on iPad and iPhone. In-store transactions are synced with ecommerce sales, but is the card reader any good?
  • Highs: Seamless integration with ecommerce. No long-term contract required. 24/7 customer support.
  • Lows: Requires ecommerce subscription. Slow payouts. Does not work with Android app. Poor customer reviews.
  • Best for: Retailers who sell online primarily and require an iOS-based POS system connected to the online store.

How does it work?

Shopify sells a card reader that works in conjunction with a mobile point of sale (POS) app on iPad or iPhone. It uses the payment system Shopify Payments to process the most common cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Accepted cards

VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressContactlessApple PayGoogle Pay

There are two versions of the POS software: POS Lite and POS Pro. The free Lite plan is suitable for basic retail shops while the paid (in addition to an ecommerce plan) POS Pro is built to enhance the customer experience, coordinate online and in-store sales better and manage a larger inventory library. By default, the POS app contains Lite features, until you upgrade to POS Pro.

Although anyone can buy the card reader, it only works when you’re on one of Shopify’s ecommerce subscriptions.

If you’re only going to use it as a way to accept cards in person, the cheapest online subscription is Shopify Lite (US$9 + VAT/month) that includes access to Buy Buttons and invoices.

The card reader is most beneficial with a Shopify online store because all payments, customer data and inventory are synced in the cloud for seamless multichannel sales.

Shopify pricing

To use the Shopify card reader, you need to buy it upfront for €69 + VAT and choose any one of Shopify’s paid ecommerce subscriptions. New sign-ups get a 14-day free trial. The card reader comes with a year’s warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee if you change your mind within a month.

There’s no contractual commitment for these subscriptions, but paying annually, every two or every three years upfront reduces the monthly cost compared to a monthly subscription that costs the most.

Costs*
Shopify card reader €69
Shipping Free
Shopify Lite subscription US$9/mo (monthly plan)
US$96/yr (annual plan)
Basic Shopify subscription US$29/mo (monthly plan)
US$312/yr (annual plan)
Shopify subscription US$79/mo (monthly plan)
US$852/yr (annual plan)
Advanced Shopify subscription US$299/mo (monthly plan)
US$3,192/yr (annual plan)
Commitment Cancel any time, but fees non-refundable

*VAT is added to the prices.

Costs*
Shopify card reader €69
Shipping Free
Shopify Lite subscription US$9/mo (monthly plan)
US$96/yr (annual plan)
Basic Shopify subscription US$29/mo (monthly plan)
US$312/yr (annual plan)
Shopify subscription US$79/mo (monthly plan)
US$852/yr (annual plan)
Advanced Shopify subscription US$299/mo (monthly plan)
US$3,192/yr (annual plan)
Commitment Cancel any time, but fees non-refundable

*VAT is added to the prices.

Despite being offered to Irish merchants, the ecommerce subscriptions have US dollar pricing. Shopify Lite is the cheapest subscription at US$9 monthly. It includes online selling features, but no full-fledged online store. The online store plans are Basic Shopify for $29/month, Shopify for $79/month and Advanced Shopify for $299/month for the monthly plans, excluding VAT which is added at checkout.

The transaction fee for payments through the card reader depends on the plan: it’s 1.7% on the Lite and Basic Shopify subscriptions, 1.6% on Shopify and 1.5% on Advanced Shopify. Online transaction fees are also lower on the pricier plans (table below).

Shopify plan Card reader
transactions*
Online
transactions*
Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify 1.7% 2.2% + €0.25
Shopify 1.6% 1.9% + €0.25
Advanced Shopify 1.5% 1.6% + €0.25

*VAT is added to transaction fees.

Card reader
transactions*
Online
transactions*
Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify
1.7% 2.2% + €0.25
Shopify
1.6% 1.9% + €0.25
Advanced Shopify
1.5% 1.6% + €0.25

*VAT is added to transaction fees.

Transactions through Shopify Payments are usually settled in your bank account within 6 working days – not fast, but there are no charges for these automatic payouts.

There’s a €15 + 23% VAT chargeback fee if a customer disputes a transaction, which is non-refundable unless the dispute is resolved in your favour. There are no fees for refunds or exchanges when using Shopify Payments.

Card reader and POS hardware

Shopify only sells one card reader in Ireland: the wireless Tap, Chip and Swipe Reader. This Miura 010 model is actually over six years old, but it’s still considered secure and reliable.

As the name says, it can accept contactless (NFC), chip and magnetic stripe cards, but only in conjunction with the iOS Shopify POS app. It does not work with Android devices. The card reader connects to a compatible iPhone or iPad over Bluetooth, then uses the mobile device’s WiFi or mobile network to process payments over the internet.

Image: Shopify

Shopify card reader countertop

The Shopify card reader can be placed in a holder attached to your countertop.

The card terminal weighs 118 grams and measures 103 mm (H) x 71 mm (W) x 18 mm (D), so it is quite small and lightweight. It does not have a receipt printer built in, but features a physical PIN pad.

The card reader can be purchased with a holder to stick onto a countertop. The POS system is also compatible with till drawers, receipt printers and a barcode scanner (all available from the Shopify hardware store).

Equipment sold in Shopify’s hardware store gets a 1-year warranty on the free POS Lite plan, and 2 years on POS Pro.

It is possible to use an external card machine from another payment provider than Shopify, but then the terminal isn’t integrated with the POS software. Instead, you manually have to confirm in the Shopify POS app when the card payment has gone through the external credit card processor.

POS features and online integration

All ecommerce subscriptions include basic point of sale features – Shopify POS Lite (US$0/month) – that are enough for a small shop, market stall holders, pop-ups and mobile merchants. If you trade from more than one location and require more inventory management and till features, Shopify POS Pro (US$89/month per location) is better.

This latest Shopify POS app (pictured below) only works on iPad and iPhone, whereas an older app is available on Android devices. The latter does not process transactions through the card reader and is generally more limited in features than the iOS app.

Image: Shopify

Shopify mobile POS app

With the iPhone app, you can sell on the go together with the card reader.

Shopify POS is designed for retailers selling online, who require a POS system that connects in-store sales with online orders – but you only really benefit from this on the Pro plan. Let us first look at the standard features also included on Lite:

Payments: Accept cards, cash, custom payment types and gift cards. Sell physical or digital digital gift cards (only with Basic Shopify, though). Split the tender, accept deposits/partial payments and do layaways. The till records cash flow so you can always track how much you’re meant to have in the till drawer.

Checkout: The till interface is a customisable ‘smart grid’ with buttons for important functions like discounts, inventory and apps. You can easily search customers, products and orders, accept tips, do refunds (exchanges only on Pro), add products or custom amounts to the bill, and customise discounts if not using preset discounts. Staff can get their own PINs for the till.

Online integration: Print QR codes to attach to products in store so customers can scan it for information or buy online without asking staff. In the online shop, people can see in-store availability, but it requires Pro to order for collection. Customers browsing in person can get email reminders for purchasing their favourite items online.

Image: App Store

Shopify POS app

The Shopify app looks good with the dark theme.

Products: Add unlimited products, variants and product collections. Products can be assigned to different locations (e.g. online, in store, warehouse) and tracked as you can see inventory statuses (e.g. received, transferred, order fulfilment).

Customers: Build relationships through customer profiles where transactions, notes, tags and contact details are saved. You can offer exclusive discounts, events and content through emails, if they have opted in for marketing emails.

Reports and analytics: There are more than a few reports to analyse sales, products sold, discounts given, cash flow and more. You can, however, only get a comprehensive daily sales report on the Pro plan.

On Shopify POS Pro, you get a more sophisticated integration of online-offline features, for instance online ordering for in-store collection or delivery. If customers buy something online, they can return it in person. The till gives personalised recommendations based on customers’ online purchases. You can also customise receipts and save carts to serve multiple people at once. Moreover, inventory and staff management are much more advanced on Pro.

Customer support and reviews

Shopify subscribers get 24/7 customer support via email and live chat. There is also an online help centre with in-depth answers to most queries.

We’ve seen quite a lot of complaints about the quality of service, where issues do not get resolved or Shopify doesn’t respond to basic queries (if you can successfully contact them in the first place).

Many users have had their online store closed or products taken off the site due to Shopify’s security procedures. This has resulted in merchants having a hard time recovering transactions they were meant to receive. Some have been locked out of their accounts, thereby losing the ability to contact support, remove an online store or delete credit card details. Cancelling a Shopify membership also appears to be difficult despite the lack of contractual commitment.

Image: Miura Systems

Miura M010 card reader

The card reader can be placed in a charging cradle or used wirelessly.

There are also users who are quite happy with Shopify’s online store system. Our own tests have found it to be a comprehensive ecommerce platform that is generally easy to figure out for a non-coder. Few reviews actually talk about the POS system and card reader, as those are more of a secondary offering in addition to the ecommerce features.

Our verdict

Given the relatively high price of the mobile card reader (SumUp and Elavon offer cheaper ones) and compulsory monthly cost of an ecommerce subscription, it’s only worth getting the Shopify reader if you’re planning to use Shopify for online selling too.

You do have to accept the fact that payouts can take about a week. This can be a hindrance for some micro-businesses where day-to-day cash flow is important.

Compared to other POS systems in this pandemic-stricken world, Shopify POS Pro in particular makes for a great multichannel solution where retailers can easily switch between socially distanced, online ordering and in-store pickup, delivery and communications integrated in one platform.

Shopify has clearly put a lot of effort into this online-and-in-store integration, but beware that many of these benefits only apply to the iOS app, not the older Android app that doesn’t even connect to the card reader.

As for the card reader – it does the job. There’s nothing spectacular about it except for its pocket-sized convenience. The lack of built-in receipt printer means you need a separate receipt printer if this is important for you, but that’s normal for an app-based card reader.

Pros

  • Trusted card reader that does the job

  • No rental fees – purchased upfront

  • In-person and online sales synced

  • Good free POS features

Cons

  • Requires ecommerce subscription

  • Does not work with Android

  • Slow payouts

  • POS Pro subscription expensive

  • Card reader model over 6 years old

  • Not the cheapest card reader