Shopify Payments contraband, and alternatives.

To help you avoid the risks, this article will explain about Shopify Payments. You will learn what is prohibited, what penalties you can receive for violating the rules, and alternatives.

About Shopify Payments

Shopify Payments is a credit card processing solution developed by Shopify. It allows your potential customers to use their credit and debit cards to purchase products or services from your online store. With Shopify Payments, you no longer need to set up a third-party payment service provider or merchant account and enter your credentials into your Shopify store.

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Shopify Payments Pros & cons


- Seamlessly integrated with Shopify.

- Easy to set up and manage.

- Support a wide range of payment methods.

- Competitive rates like no transaction fees.

- Real-time monitoring of transactions.

- Can still use other payment gateways if you’re not satisfied with Shopify Payments.


- Lack of flexibility in terms of refund and accessing information.

- Limitation of supported countries.

- Merchants have to pay chargeback fees.

- Many products and services are prohibited.

What products are prohibited on Shopify?

As said earlier, Shopify allows you to sell many different types of products. The highest trending products for 2021 on Shopify include peel-off face mask, nail polish, exercise bands, water bottles, blankest, yoga and pilates mats, kayak accessories, jigsaw puzzles, kitchen and dining room furniture, rugs, board games, and laptop skins.

Now let’s talk about what you can’t sell on Shopify Payments. Here is everything you need to know about its prohibited items:

1. Financial and professional services

- Investment and credit services: Securities brokerage, mortgage consulting or debt relief services. Credit counseling or repair, investment services, real estate opportunities, lending instruments.

- Money and legal services: Financial institutions, money transmitters and money service businesses, check cashing, wire transfers, money orders.
Currency exchange offices or dealers, bill payment services, crowdfunding, insurance, bail bonds, collection agencies.
A law firm collects funds for purposes other than paying fees owed for services provided by the law firm.

- Virtual currency or stored value: Virtual currency that can be monetized, resold or converted into digital or physical products and services or otherwise exited from the virtual world (e.g., Bitcoin).

- Cryptocurrency mining equipment, initial coin products.

- Digital wallets, the sale of stored value or credit maintained, accepted and issued by anyone other than the merchant.

2. IP infringement, regulated or illegal products and services

Sexually oriented items: 

- Pornography and other obscene material (including literature, images and other media) depicting nudity or explicit sexual acts.

- Sites that offer any sex-related services, such as prostitution, escort, pay-per-view, and adult live chat features.

- Adult toys, adult video stores, and erotic massage parlors.

- Gentlemen's clubs, nude photo bars, and strip clubs.

- Sexually oriented dating services.

Counterfeit or Unauthorized Merchandise.

- Counterfeit goods, unauthorized sale or resale of brand name or designer products or services, sale of illegally imported or exported goods or services.

- Gambling: Lotteries, bid fee auctions, sports predictions, or odds on monetary or material prizes.

- Fantasy sports leagues that offer cash prizes, online games, contests, and sweepstakes.

- Games of chance include legal or illegal forms of gambling, Internet gambling, sweepstakes and contests with buy-in or cash prizes, charity raffles, and sweepstakes for the express purpose of fundraising.

- Infringement of intellectual property or proprietary rights: The sale, distribution or access to pirated music, movies, software or other licensed materials without proper authorization from the rights holder.

- Any product or service that directly infringes or contributes to the infringement of any third party's trademark, patent, copyright, trade secret or proprietary rights or privacy rights.

- Use of Shopify intellectual property without Shopify's express consent.

- Use of the Shopify name or logo, including the use of Shopify trademarks or service marks that do not conform to Shopify's trademark usage guidelines, or in a manner that otherwise damages Shopify or the Shopify brand.

- Any act that suggests a disingenuous endorsement or affiliation with Shopify.

- Regulated or illegal products or services: Marijuana dispensaries and related businesses.

- Sales of tobacco, e-cigarettes and e-liquids.

- Online pharmacies, prescription-only products, including cardless drugs, peptides and research chemicals.

- False references or services that provide identification, age-restricted goods or services, weapons and ammunition, gunpowder and other explosives.

- Fireworks and related merchandise, toxic, flammable and radioactive materials, products and services have different legal statuses in each state.
Goods or services whose sale is illegal under the applicable laws of the jurisdiction to which or against which your business is directed.

- Sanctions: Use of the Payments service or use of Shopify Payments in or for the benefit of any country, organization, entity or person that is embargoed or blocked by any government, including any person/entity on a government sanctions list.

3. legally prohibited and high-risk products or services

Drug paraphernalia

- Any device designed for the manufacture or use of drugs, such as bongs, vaporizers, and hookahs.

High Risk Businesses

- Bankruptcy attorneys, remote technical support, psychological services, essay mills, chain letters, door-to-door sales, medical benefits packages, telemedicine and telehealth services.

- Travel booking services and clubs, airlines, cruises, timeshares, circumvention, jamming and interference devices, prepaid calling cards, phone services, telemarketing.

- Offering high rebates or special incentives as an inducement to purchase products or services, telecommunication manipulation devices.

- Freight forwarding, negative response marketing, subscriptions of more than one year, extended warranties, government grants.

- Embassies, foreign consulates or other foreign governments.

- Charities that are not properly registered.

- Credit card and identity theft protection, use of credit to pay for loan services, any business that would increase financial risk, legal liability or violate card network or bank policies.

- Any business or organization that engages in, encourages, promotes or celebrates unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property.

- Any business or organization that engages in, encourages, promotes, or celebrates unlawful violence against any group of people based on race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or any other immutable characteristic.

Fake drugs

- Nutraceuticals, generic drugs and other products that make health claims but are not approved or verified by the applicable local and/or national regulatory agencies.

Social Media

- Sell Twitter followers, Facebook likes, YouTube views, Instagram followers, and other forms of social media activity.

Substances intended to mimic illicit drugs

- Selling legal substances that have the same effect as illegal drugs (e.g., salvia, kalpa leaves)

Use Shopify Payments in a manner that is inconsistent with its intended use or is expressly prohibited

- Use Shopify Payments primarily as a virtual terminal (for example, to submit card transactions by manually entering card information).

- Processing without selling bona fide goods or services or accepting donations.

- Card testing, circumventing card network refund monitoring procedures, and cross-border acquiring.

- Sharing cardholder information with other merchants for payment cross-selling of products or services.

- Video game or virtual world credits: Selling in-game currency, unless the merchant is a virtual world operator.

4. Unfair, predatory or deceptive practices

Get Rich Quick Program.

- Investment opportunities or other services that promise high returns.

- Facial Photo Posting or Pay-to-Remove Sites.

No Value-Added Services.

- The sale or resale of services without additional benefit to the buyer; unauthorized or value-added resale of government products.

- Sites that we, in our sole discretion, believe to be unfair, deceptive or predatory to consumers.

Consequences of breaking the rules

The Shopify Risk Department is responsible for monitoring prohibited items and removing stores when they feel a policy has been violated. The goal is to protect online merchants like you from risky or fraudulent purchases and protect Shopify from lawsuits and liability.

On their legal page, Shopify makes the penalty clear:

We may, at any time and without notice, remove any Materials, and suspend or terminate your Account or your access to the Services if you engage in activities that violate the letter or spirit of this AUP, including activities outside of your use of the Services.

It’s your responsibility to review Shopify’s policies and ensure your online business follows all of its rules. When it comes to risk, Shopify will shut down your store without zero notice or warning.


Creative Shopify APP, you are using it?

E-Commerce Masterclass From 0 to Pro+ Tutorials

Trending Shopify apps for 2022 - small business favorites

Sync your products to Youtube, Shopify merchants can apply to open Youtube Shopping.

10 Best BigCommerce Alternatives for E-Commerce Stores of All Sizes (Free and Paid) | Bclinked

Shopify alternatives to selling prohibited products

There are many reasons why you want to look for an alternative to Shopify Payments. For example, you sell Shopify’s prohibited items. Or you don’t have a registered business and a local bank account in a supported country. Or you’re selling to a region where Shopify Payments isn’t available.

When falling into this situation, many online merchants often switch to other payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, WorldPay, or SagePay. But the thing is, each of these payment providers has its own list of prohibited items. Hence, they’re not much different from Shopify Payments.

A better way to sell Shopify Payments’ prohibited items is to look for another ecommerce platform. Here are 5 Shopify alternatives you may want to consider.

In addition to this, read about Google Trends hot products, or consult with Shopify experts.

1. Magento

One of the best things about Magento is that it is not very restrictive in terms of the types of goods it can sell. You can build a Magento store to sell alcoholic beverages, health products and related devices.

2. BigCommerce

The exciting thing is that BigCommerce has no restrictions on alcoholic beverages, games, paintball, publishing, education, cosmetics, and nutrition, among many other types of products. If you want to sell fitness supplements or e-cigarette accessories, Bigcommerce is a preferred option.

3. 3dcart

If you want to sell highly regulated products, 3Dcart should be your first choice. E-cigarettes, tobacco, adult novelties, guns and ammunition, health care, CBD, payday loans, pharmaceuticals, and digital content can all be sold on 3Dcart.

3dcart also has great built-in features, API access, a Facebook store, and mobile themes, and the eCommerce platform doesn't charge transaction fees (which is tempting).

4. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. As such, WooCommerce does not have many restrictions on the products and services that can be sold. However, it is important to note that the rules may change if you use other automated services (the company behind WooCommerce).

WooCommerce allows you to sell highly regulated products, such as CBD, wine, virtual tobacco, games and fireworks. You are free to sell these products on WooCommerce as long as your payment service provider does not prevent you from doing so.

If you intend to use WooCommerce Payments, you cannot sell certain items, such as gaming currency, pseudo-drugs, healthcare products, e-cigarettes, etc.

If you intend to use WooCommerce Payments, then your products will also be restricted.

5. Wix

Wix is a simple website builder, but also has useful features for building an e-commerce business. wix has a long list of prohibited items, but the platform has a clearer policy on selling certain items (such as CBD) than Shopify. wix still allows you to sell CBD products, as long as you have an actual US store.

Wix also gives you the freedom to sell generic drugs, supplements or cosmetics that claim to produce "extreme results. That said, you must have express written permission to do so.


Please note that the policies of e-commerce platforms are subject to change and you should follow the latest policies in real time. Or set up an alternate store to avoid your loss.

After-sales service software with fast deployment

| Low monthly fees | Universal support | Best ticketing system | Knowledge base | 

Help desk with online chat and more| BClinked