eCommerce platform eCommerce tools Shopify

3 Shopify payments limitations and how to overcome them

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While Shopify is a powerful online platform that allows store owners to build and launch their store in a matter of days, their payment system has limits on how and what you can sell. From limitations on selling certain things like CBD and supplements to high transaction fees if you choose to use a payment gateway other than Shopify Payments, store owners often find themselves bound and optionless by Shopify’s current payment systems. 

But, when there’s a will – there’s a way! There are third-party apps and other solutions that lift some of these restrictions and allow store owners the freedom to sell what they want, how they want it. Let’s explore these limitations and how they can be overcome. 

1. Shopify Payments Limits the Sale of Certain Products 

Which Industries Are Not Allowed on Shopify?

While Shopify has an extensive list of goods and services it prohibits being sold using their payment gateway, we will be focusing on the following two:

Cannabis Products
US merchants are out of luck because Shopify doesn’t allow for the sale of CBD products derived from marijuana using its native payment system. While you may build your store and populate it with marijuana-derived CBD products, you cannot sell or ship them through Shopify’s system, meaning that you’re on the hook for transaction fees (read: penalties) for not using Shopify Payments. Seems unfair, doesn’t it?
What Shopify does allow is the selling of CBD products lawfully derived from “hemp”. To do that, you must use Shopify’s approved third-party apps for accepting payment and it only offers only two third-party apps as a solution – DigiPay and eMerchant Brokers. You are not limited to DigiPay and eMerchant Brokers, as other third-party apps can be integrated with Shopify to sell CBD products in the US.
If you’re a Canadian merchant, where CBD products are federally legalized for consumption, you must have a license and you must use Shopify Plus, which is Shopify’s most expensive plan, starting at $2000/month USD. You also cannot offer subscriptions for CBD products and shoppers can only buy them as a one-time purchase.
*A Quick Note on Hemp-derived CBD vs Marijuana-derived CBD
Hemp-derived CBD is made using industrial hemp plants, which are grown for their fiber and seeds. According to US law, hemp plants must not contain more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana-derived CBD is extracted from marijuana plants and is consumed for its intoxicating properties.

Supplements through Subscriptions
Shopify also prohibits the sale of supplements through subscriptions using its payment gateway. Of course, you can still use third-party apps payment gateways but expect to pay transaction fees. The downsides of using third-party apps for checkout and payment processes often mean less-than-perfect UX and flow disruptions for the customer.

2. Shopify Payments is not Available in All Countries

Unless your store is registered and located in one of the following countries, you won’t be able to use Shopify Payments. Here’s the list:

Hong Kong SAR
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States

One of the workarounds is to move to one of the above countries, which we can’t help with. What we can help with is below.

3. Limited Payment Gateways for Subscriptions

If you sell subscription products, then you need to use Shopify Payments as your primary payment gateway. You are locked into using Shopify’s own payment gateway while there are dozens of other payment gateways you may want to use. While Shopify does allow you to use third-party apps for your subscription programs, they still must be integrated with Shopify Payments.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Shopify Payments 

Shopify is an excellent eCommerce platform choice, but the checkout process comes with its fair share of limitations. So why not simply use another checkout solution while still using Shopify to run and manage your store? Using WooCommerce and Bold Checkout, merchants can sell products that are restricted by Shopify Payments .

It is possible to integrate the Bold Commerce Checkout on WooCommerce as well as our Westmount Solutions product sync so seamlessly that your customers won’t notice they’re not actually using Shopify for their purchase! Doing so will open the door to several payment gateways and third-party integrations that plug directly into the Bold product. You will continue using Shopify to showcase and manage your products, but the actual order and payment processing will be handled outside of Shopify, ensuring compliance with their terms and conditions.

Through this innovative solution you get the added possibility of using all the payment gateways supported by Bold Checkout for WooCommerce.

This gives you the best of both worlds – it allows you to use Shopify for theme management, powerful product and collection management, discounts and running your store while using WooCommerce and Bold Commerce Checkout for the actual final purchase.

Get in touch with us to find out more!

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Tatiana Dudin

Tatiana is passionate writer with over 10 years of experience writing for the tech industry.