Shop Pay Review: The Pros and Cons
You’ve heard of Apple Pay and have probably heard about platforms, such as Google Pay and Samsung Pay as well. However, there’s one “Pay” option that might not be as much of a household name but is supported by thousands of sites: Shop Pay. While the process of using Shop Pay may not differ too much from a regular online retail experience, there are some benefits — including the ability to earn cash. At the same time, there are some quirks and downsides to be aware of.
So what is Shop Pay and what does it have to offer? Let’s take a closer look at the service.
Shop Pay: What it is and How it Works
What is Shop Pay?
Shop Pay is a feature offered by Shopify. Even if you’re not exactly familiar with Shopify directly, if you’ve shopped online, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered a retailer that utilizes their platform. With Shop Pay, customers can not only make the checkout process easier when shopping at those sites but can also earn cashback.
When you sign up for Shop Pay, you’ll be able to enter your primary shipping address, preferred method of payment, etc. Then, when you arrive at an eligible retailer checkout, Shop Pay will first confirm your identity before auto-filling your details.
Earning and redeeming Shop Cash
Easily the biggest advantage of using Shop Pay is that you can earn 1% back on purchases made using the service. These bonuses are known as Shop Cash and they are earned in addition to any credit card rewards you may be eligible for.
What’s more, in the Shop app, you can find offers that will multiply your Shop Cash. In some cases, these multipliers could be 10x or higher. That said, merchants with larger multipliers may also have high minimum purchase requirements (or just sell really expensive items). Other restrictions may also apply — but, overall, it is possible to make your cashback go further.
One downside of Shop Cash is that it does expire. Typically, your earned Cash will expire three months after it is earned. When you redeem your Cash, the oldest balance will be used first. This is actually fairly similar to how Starbucks Rewards stars work (although those have a six month expiration). Additionally, if you use only part of your Shop Cash balance on a purchase, the expiration on the remainder will be reset with the date of the new purchase.
I realize that may be a bit confusing so, to simply see your Shop Cash balance and what will be expiring when, you can open the Shop app, tap on your balance, and select “View Activity.”
Something else to note about redeeming Shop Cash is that, as far as I can tell, there’s not a great way to explore eligible merchant offers. In the app, you can keep scrolling to browse options. Yet, there aren’t really any filters or search options. For example, you’d think that there’d at least be a way to move the top multipliers to the top or perhaps view merchants by category. The lack of such features does make the process of finding a good deal pretty annoying, so I hope they make improvements soon.
Even if a retailer doesn’t have a multiplier offer, you can still redeem your Shop Cash at face value on eligible sites. Actually, I shouldn’t say “sites” because it seems you need to redeem Shop Cash via the Shop app as I don’t see the option when going directly to the retailer’s desktop site. But, to be sure, you can still earn Shop Cash from eligible retailers when buying on desktop, mobile browser, or in the Shop app.
Pay in 4
Another part of the Shop Pay platform I should mention is their “buy now, pay later” option. Through a partnership with Afterpay, Shop Pay users can opt to split their purchases into four payments. Eligible purchases must be over $50 and less than $30,000. If this option is selected, users will pay for part of their purchase immediately, with subsequent payments due every two weeks for six weeks.
Personally, I’ve never used this feature of Shop Pay nor any other BNPL. Because of this, it’s not something I can recommend.
My Experience with Shop Pay
Something I both love and hate about Shop Pay is how it automatically logs you in (or tries to) when you reach a site’s checkout. In my experience, as soon as you enter your e-mail address on an eligible site, a two-factor authentication text is triggered. Then, once you confirm that code, all of your details are filled in.
Again, on the one hand, this is pretty convenient and makes the checkout process quick. But, the downside is that, as soon as you reach this point in the checkout process, the retailer may sign you up for marketing emails or abandoned cart reminders. I can see why this would be great for Shopify and its retail customers — but it’s not always great for shoppers.
Using my Shop Cash
Knowing that I wanted to make the most of my Shop Cash, I set off to find an option that would multiply my bonus but not cost me much else. Luckily for me, I came across the site Shinesty, which sells a variety of underwear. On the site, I was able to find a pair of boxers that were $27.99, but a 5x Shop Cash offer helped bring that down.
Interestingly, while there didn’t seem to be a minimum order for the 5x deal, the amount of cash that would be multiplied was capped. Specifically, only $4.20 of my Shop Cash was 5x’d, for a total of $21 off. Getting the vibe of the brand, I’m thinking this $4.20 figure wasn’t a coincidence, but it’s hard to say for sure. In any case, I could still use my full Shop Cash balance of $5.48 if I wanted, but the final $1.28 would only be assessed at 1x.
So, faced with the option of using $4.20 of my Shop Cash for $21 or $5.48 of it for $22.28, I opted for the former. With taxes ($1.77) and shipping costs ($5.42) factored in, my $27.99 order came to a total of $14.18. While that may have been slightly more than I intended to pay, I think less than $15 for a pair of boxers is pretty good. Therefore, I think this was a pretty good use of my Shop Cash.
Beyond shopping itself, I’ve found at least one other use for the Shop app: order tracking. Right on the app’s homepage, you’ll see an Order Updates section. This will give you at-a-glance information in regards to when your items are due to arrive. You can also tap this section to view past orders. From here, you can also reorder items if you so wish.
I’ve found this interface to be pretty darn useful — especially when I have multiple orders from Shopify-supported retailers in the works. Rather than searching my inbox and keeping shipping tabs open, I can just check the app to know when my stuff should arrive. Overall, this is a nice function and another reason why I happen to enjoy using Shop Pay.
Final Thoughts on Shop Pay
All things considered, I’d say I’ve become a fan of Shop Pay. In my opinion, it’s an easy way to earn an extra 1% back on many of my online purchases on top of my credit card rewards. Plus, while the multiplier offers can be hit or miss, the ability to 5x or 10x your Shop Cash is a pretty cool feature.
For those reasons, unless you have a reason to use a different option, such as PayPal Checkout or Apple Pay, I think it’s worth giving Shop Pay a shot.