Card readers

A credit card reader or terminal is a device that you can use to accept credit and debit card payments by tapping, inserting, or swiping cards, or by manually entering card information. Card readers are typically small card-swipe devices that plug into your Shopify POS device.

An external reader is usually a separate, standalone piece of hardware.

Choose a card reader

Which card reader you choose depends on where you're located, which payment provider you use, and what device you're using to run Shopify POS.

Shopify POS has several supported card readers:

  • The Tap & Chip reader
  • The Chip & Swipe reader
  • The Swipe card readers
  • The Tap, Chip, and Swipe card reader
  • The Moneris iPP320 terminal

These supported card readers are integrated with Shopify POS, so you can take a payment from Shopify POS, and then the details for the transaction appears in Shopify in the order's Timeline. To use a supported card reader, your store needs to be in a supported country and use a compatible payment provider.

You can also use an unsupported external card reader. You can find an external terminal provider anywhere in the world, and because the payment is processed outside of Shopify, you don't have to set up a specific payment provider in your Shopify admin.

The disadvantages of an external terminal are that you need an account with your terminal provider, and that Shopify shows the payment status of an order but not any transaction details.

Supported card readers for Shopify POS
Card reader Supported countries Compatible payment providers (iOS) Compatible payment providers (Android)
Tap & Chip Reader United States Shopify Payments Shopify Payments
Chip & Swipe Reader United States Shopify Payments Shopify Payments
Tap, Chip, and Swipe (EMV) card reader United States, United Kingdom, or Ireland Shopify Payments N/A
Swipe (audio-jack) card reader Canada Shopify Payments or a POS-supported payment provider Shopify Payments
Swipe (30 pin) card reader Discontinued Shopify Payments or a POS-supported payment provider N/A
Swipe (Lightning) card reader Canada Shopify Payments or a POS-supported payment provider N/A
Moneris iPP320 card reader Canada (available only from Moneris) Payment is processed by Moneris via the app's built-in integration N/A
External card terminal Anywhere Payment is processed by your terminal provider outside of Shopify. Payment is processed by your terminal provider outside of Shopify.

External card readers

To use an external card terminal, you need to set up an account with a payment processor, and then buy or rent a terminal from them. When you use the terminal to accept a payment, Shopify POS marks the order as paid while the actual payment is processed by your terminal provider, not Shopify.

You can find an external terminal provider anywhere in the world, and because the payment is processed outside of Shopify, you don't have to set up a specific payment provider in your Shopify admin.

The disadvantages of an external terminal are that you need an account with your terminal provider, and that Shopify shows the payment status of an order but not any transaction details. Learn more about the card readers supported by Shopify.

Accepted card types

Shopify's supported card readers accept payment from all major types of credit card, as well as Debit Mastercard and Visa Debit cards.

In Canada, the Swipe card readers can't accept payment from debit cards that are Interac only (for example, Interac cards that aren't Debit Mastercard or Visa Debit). If you want to accept Interac-only debit cards, as well as other types of credit and debit cards, then you need to use the Moneris terminal (Canada only).

If you are in the United States, then you can also accept Apple Pay Cash payments with the Tap, Chip, and Swipe card reader or the Tap & Chip reader.

If you use an external card reader, then you need to check with your payment processor which card types your terminal accepts.

In this section

Ready to start selling with Shopify?

Try it free