Our rating(3.9/5)
Shopify’s card reader works with a decent POS app that syncs with your online store.
Shopify UK 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: POS-ecommerce integration. No contract lock-in. 24/7 customer support.
  • Lows: Requires ecommerce subscription. No Android compatibility. Slow payouts. Poor service reviews.
  • Best for: Retailers who sell online primarily and want to link up an iOS-based card reader.

Looking for the Irish Shopify card reader?

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 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 £49 + 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 standard year’s warranty (or two years on a POS Pro plan) 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 WisePad 3 Reader £49
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)
POS app Shopify POS Lite: Free
Shopify POS Pro: US$89/mo per location
Commitment Cancel any time, but fees non-refundable

*VAT is added to the prices.

Costs*
Shopify WisePad 3 Reader £49
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)
POS app Shopify POS Lite: Free
Shopify POS Pro: US$89/mo per location
Commitment Cancel any time, but fees non-refundable

*VAT is added to the prices.

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

On top of this, you can choose to subscribe to Shopify POS Pro ($89 per month per location) that includes all of Shopify’s POS system features in the iPad app. This subscription only has a monthly price plan. If you don’t need all the features, it’s perfectly okay to just use the Shopify POS Lite features included free in the app.

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).

Card reader
transactions
Online
transactions
Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify 1.7% 2.2% + 20p
Shopify 1.6% 1.9% + 20p
Advanced Shopify 1.5% 1.6% + 20p
Refunds 1.5%-1.7%
(original payment fee)
1.6%-2.2% + 20p
(original payment fee)
Chargebacks £10
Card reader
transactions
Online
transactions
Shopify Lite, Basic Shopify
1.7% 2.2% + 20p
Shopify
1.6% 1.9% + 20p
Advanced Shopify
1.5% 1.6% + 20p
Refunds
1.5%-1.7%
(original payment fee)
1.6%-2.2% + 20p
(original payment fee)
Chargebacks
£10

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

There’s a £10 chargeback fee if a customer disputes a transaction, which is non-refundable unless the dispute is resolved in your favour. If a refund is processed, Shopify will charge the original transaction fee for it.

Card reader and POS hardware

Shopify only sells one card reader in the UK: the wireless WisePad 3 Reader manufactured by BBPOS. Up until recently, Shopify sold an old Miura 010 model which has finally been discontinued and replaced by WisePad.

The card reader accepts contactless (NFC) and chip and PIN cards, but only in conjunction with the iOS Shopify POS app. It does not work with Android devices. The card reader connects to an iPhone or iPad (running (on iOS 12.5.1 or higher) over Bluetooth, then uses the mobile device’s WiFi or mobile network to process payments over the internet.

Image: Shopify

Shopify POS WisePad 3 Reader

WisePad 3 Reader syncs with the iPad POS app.

The card terminal weighs 130 grams and measures 122 mm (H) x 70 mm (W) x 18 mm (D), so it is quite small and lightweight. No receipt printer is built in, but it has a physical PIN pad.

The card reader can be purchased on its own or with an iPad stand (‘Shopify Retail Bundle’). The POS system is also compatible with till drawers, receipt printers and a barcode scanner – all available from the Shopify hardware store.

It is possible to use an external card machine from another payment provider, 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

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 reliably on iPad and iPhone. The Android app (which does exist) cannot use the POS Pro features.

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 get through to them in the first place).

The Android POS app has received a lot of complaints, but if you’re looking at the card reader, this will only work with iPad or iPhone anyway.

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: Shopify

WisePad 3 Reader counter

The card reader is small and wireless.

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 (competitors 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 also 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 EPOS, 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 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

  • Modern 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 app

  • Slow payouts

  • POS Pro subscription expensive

  • Not the cheapest card reader