Most eCommerce plugins have a few payment gateway options built into the core plugin, and Shopp is no exception. By default, users can enable an “Offline” payment gateway, such as a Check gateway, 2Checkout, and PayPal Standard (a test gateway is also included). However, these gateways may not suit the needs of every store, so several premium payment gateway add-ons are available for purchase.

If you don’t yet use a particular payment processor, you may want to check out our tips on selecting a payment processor first for some help. Our personal favorite is Stripe, but there are some other great options. In this article, we’ll compare some of the top Shopp payment gateway add-ons available, and what features each has. We also have a comparison chart to summarize.

Shopp Payment Gateways Comparison

Shopp provides some cool features in the core platform that you may want to leverage with your payment gateway. For example, you can accept recurring payments, which is very handy for subscription products. The only core payment gateway that leverages this ability is PayPal Standard:

Shopp Core Payment Gateways

Core Payment Gateways

You can also process refunds directly from the Shopp admin with some gateways, which can be a huge time saver for stores that process thousands of orders. Rather than logging into your merchant account and processing a refund, then updating the order status in Shopp, you can simply manage all of this from the order screen.

Shopp Process Refund

Process Refund

While these features are neat and are something to keep in mind, there are other factors we recommend considering when you decide which payment gateway add-on you need for your Shopp-powered store.

Merchant Location

Ensure that the gateway you’d like to use is available in your merchant location. If you’re a US-based merchant, this becomes a far smaller issue, as many payment processors allow US merchants. However, merchants in other countries should pay attention to this when selecting a gateway.

If you’re outside of the US, Canada, EU, and Australia, PayPal may be your only option. However, PayPal doesn’t work for you, you may want to check out First Data – they support merchant accounts worldwide, and the Shopp integration supports all merchant accounts. Our friends from the Netherlands will also be happy to know that Shopp offers an iDeal Mollie integration.

Not only must you ensure that the payment processor accepts merchants from your country, but you should also ensure that the payment gateway integration plugin you’re using will support your country. Sometimes processors use different APIs for different countries, so this is an important point to check when selecting your gateway. For example, Braintree supports several merchant locations, but uses different APIs for these locations. Therefore, some integrations only support US merchants (as Shopp does) while others support all available locations.

SSL Certifications and PCI compliance

We’ve written about selecting an SSL certificate previously, which can add yearly costs ranging from $20 to hundreds per year, and are typically required for on-site payment processing. They typically improve trust while customers access accounts and go through checkout, but not every payment gateway plugin requires an SSL. This is something to consider when selecting a gateway: weigh the costs of an SSL versus the trust and security benefits that come with it (as well as the convenience of on-site payment methods). Most top Shopp payment gateways require an SSL, as they keep customers on-site for checkout. However, you could check out PayPal Advanced if you’d prefer not to keep customers on-site.

PCI compliance is also an issue for some merchants (we wrote a bit about this when we discussed WooCommerce payment gateways). It’s nearly impossible to be fully PCI compliant when using WordPress and an eCommerce plugin to accept payments on-site. In order to do be PCI compliant, you’ll have to use a gateway that redirects payment through your processor’s secure servers via redirecting customers off-site, or using a secure iframe on your checkout page.

Some processors, such as Braintree and Stripe, also offer SDKs, which are code libraries that developers can use. For these processors, the SDKs allow integrations to tokenize or “encrypt” payment information before sending it through your servers. This is an alternative that allows for direct payment processing, but protects payment information before it hits your servers.

These can help achieve PCI compliance if your hosting server is also PCI compliant, but not every integration leverages these libraries. You’ll have to check with the individual developer to see if the integration you’re looking to purchase incorporates these libraries if PCI compliance is mandatory.

Some merchant accounts require PCI compliance while others simply charge a small monthly fee for non-compliance. You should know which requirements are placed on your merchant account, and determine which gateways can fit these requirements.

Captures vs Charges

Shopp also provides the ability to capture (authorize) charges before actually charging a customer account. We’ve written more about authorizing vs. capturing if you’ve never encountered this before.

The ability to only capture details without directly charging a customer is handy for shops that don’t want to charge an order until it’s shipped. Typically, this must be managed from your merchant account. However, some payment gateways will allow you to do this directly from the Shopp admin (though you can only do this for individual orders rather than in bulk):

Shopp Charge Captured Orders

Charge Captured Orders

If this suits your store’s workflow, you may want to start by looking at gateway add-ons that support capturing charges before collecting payment, as you can authorize the payment, then charge the order when you’re ready to ship. You’ll want to view AIM, First Data, PayPal Payflow Pro, and PayPal Pro.

Recurring Billing

As we said before, Shopp supports recurring billing within the core plugin. The ability to accept subscriptions was added in v1.2, so it’s still fairly new to the core plugin. As a result, PayPal Standard (built-in) is the only gateway that can be used for recurring payments at the moment.

This has allowed the Shopp development team to see how users integrate subscriptions products in their stores in order to improve recurring billing.

Currently, subscription products are created by using a “Subscriptions” product type:

Shopp Subscription Product

In the future, this will change from a product type to a “payment/billing profile” that can be applied to any product type (shipped, virtual, download or donation) in order to make recurring billing more flexible. This will also then prompt support for recurring billing across some of the major payment gateways whose APIs will allow this.


Refund processing is something that can be a huge pain for stores that are processing large order volumes. With typical refunds, merchants have to get an order number, look up the corresponding order number in their merchant account, process the return from the merchant account, then go back to the eCommerce plugin and update the order status to “refunded” (or similar).

Shopp cuts this process down tremendously while using select gateways. Instead of splitting the process between Shopp and your merchant account dashboard, you can process the refund from your Shopp admin’s Order page. Find the relevant order and click “Refund”. You can then enter relevant notes and return codes, and process a full or partial refund. Note that you’ll have to back out your own shipping charges (if you do this), as the default refund amount is the full order amount rather than just the item costs.

Shopp Refund from Order Page

Refund from Order Page

Want to process refunds this way? You’ll want to view the same gateways that can support capturing charges: AIM, First Data, PayPal Payflow Pro, and PayPal Pro.

Other Notes

On a final note, you may also want to check out the Manual Payments payment gateway. This provides a connection for merchants that can already run credit cards through a processor that doesn’t have eCommerce capabilities. Manual Processing allows for the secure handling of payment cards in a PCI compliant way, so that merchants can process eCommerce transactions without the need for an additional merchant account.

Comparison Chart

Here are the major payment gateways available for purchase in the Shopp store. Each is available for a $45 purchase.


Want to know what each can do in terms of recurring payments, captures, merchant locations, and more? We’ve go the comparison chart below for help, or you can view this via Google Docs. Note that since this doc is public, you can copy it into your own spreadsheet if you’d like to add to it.

Posted by Beka Rice

Beka Rice manages the direction of Sell with WP content and writes or edits most of our articles to share her interests in eCommerce. Or she just writes as an excuse to spend more time jamming out to anything from The Clash to Lady Gaga. Who knows.