Understanding payments

When a customer goes through your store's checkout, they'll need to choose a payment method to pay for their order. After you set up a payment method in Shopify, then your customers will see it at checkout. You can set up several different payment methods in the Payments area in Shopify.

All Shopify-supported payment methods rely on third-party gateways to process your transactions. These gateways might charge extra fees, as well as enforce rules about what products you can sell using their service. When you set up a payment method, check with the company providing the service to make sure you understand their rules and fees.

Choosing a payment method

There are a few different things to consider when you're choosing what payment methods to support:

  • the countries that your customers live in
  • how your customers want to pay
  • the effort of supporting the payment method.

You can set up more than one type of payment method to make sure you meet your customers' needs.

How you get paid

If you have set up a credit card gateway for your online store, then your customers can use their credit card to pay for their order. The payment must then be processed, so there is usually a delay between when the customer pays for their order and when you receive the payment. After the payment is processed, the purchase amount will be transferred to your merchant account.

Other payment gateways will have their own ways of getting funds from your customer to you. Check with the service you are using to find out how they will pay you.

How often you get paid

If you are using Shopify Payments, then you can check your pay period to see when when you'll receive payouts from credit card orders. Other payment gateways have their own rules on when you receive payouts for credit card orders. Check with your gateway to figure out how often you will be paid.

After the payout is sent, it might not be received by your bank right away. It can take a few days after the payout is sent for it to be deposited into your bank account. Check with your bank if you find your payouts are being delayed.

Note

You will not receive payouts on bank holidays.

How much you get paid

There are several transaction fees that you can be charged for during online transactions. For credit card transactions, the issuer, the acquirer, and the credit card company all charge a small fee for using their services. If you are using a third-party payment gateway with Shopify, then Shopify will also charge you a fee for each transaction.

If you have Shopify Payments enabled, then you won't be charged transaction fees for any orders made on your online store. Instead, you'll instead pay a card rate that depends on your Shopify plan.

How a credit card payment gets processed

When a customer pays for their online order using a credit card, the payment has to be processed before the funds are added to your merchant account. Credit card processing is done for you by your payment gateway. This process has several stages:

  1. Authorization
  2. Capture
  3. Clearing
  4. Funding

Authorization

The customer uses their credit card to pay for the order on your store. The payment gateway you've set up checks with the issuer to make sure the credit card is valid. If the card is valid and has enough funds, then the issuer authorizes the payment. No funds are transferred at this stage.

Sp Auth

Capture

After the payment is authorized, the payment has to be captured. When a payment is captured, details about the payment are sent to the acquirer.

Sp Capture

Clearing

The acquirer reviews the payment details, and then requests the necessary funds from the company that processes the customer's credit card.

The credit card company sends the transaction information to the issuer. The issuer subtracts a small fee from the total transaction amount, and then sends the remaining amount back to the credit card company. The card company subtracts their fee, and then sends the remaining amount to the acquirer.

Sp Clearing

Funding

The acquirer subtracts a small fee from the amount, and then transfers the final amount to your merchant account.

Sp Funding

Payments glossary

Knowing some common terms about payments can help you understand the process more clearly.

Acquirer

An acquirer is a bank or institution that processes credit card purchases on your behalf. When a customer makes a purchase on your store with a credit card, the acquirer transfers the funds to you.

Digital wallet

A digital wallet is a service that allows a customer to pay through a payment gateway without entering their credit card information.

Apple Pay is an example of a digital wallet that works with many different payment gateways. Some digital wallet services, like Amazon Pay, only work with their own payment gateway.

Issuer

An issuer is a bank or institution that issues credit cards. When a customer makes a purchase on your store with a credit card, the issuer bills the customer's credit card.

Merchant account

A merchant account is an account you hold with an acquirer. When a customer is charged for an online order, the funds are transferred from the customer's bank account to your merchant account.

Payment gateway

A payment gateway is a service that helps transfer money from your customers to you. Credit card gateways, like Shopify Payments, allow your customers to pay using a credit card. Other payment gateways can allow your customers to pay using something other than a credit card, like a bank transfer.

Payment processor

A payment processor is a service used by a payment gateway. The processor works with the acquirer to transfer funds between the issuer and the acquirer.

Want to discuss this page?

Visit the Shopify Community

Ready to start selling online with Shopify?

Try it free