What Is Payment Capturing in Shopify?


Browsing through the Shopify documentation, you may have run across information dealing with payment capturing. Do you know what it is? Even more importantly, do you know how to do it? If you are not completely familiar with the idea of capturing, you may find you have trouble collecting payments from people who purchase using a major credit card.

Credit cards are, by their nature, instruments that tell a bank or credit card provider to transfer money from your customers’ account into yours. In order to do this, the bank or credit card provider needs to know that a transaction has taken place. Capturing a payment accomplishes this. It alerts the credit card provider so that a transfer of funds can be made. In Shopify, capturing can be done either manually or automatically.

Manual Payment Capture

If you were to choose to manually capture payments, you would have to address each transaction within seven days of purchase. This seven-day period is known as the authorization period. If you fail to capture a payment within those seven days, you’re out of luck. You will not be able to process the payment after that.

To capture payments manually, you simply configure your Shopify admin accordingly. With manual capturing set-up, the process of getting paid is simple:

  1. Navigate to ‘Orders’ in the Shopify admin
  2. Choose the order you need to process
  3. Click ‘Capture Payment’
  4. Enter the amount of the payment
  5. Click ‘Accept’ to complete the capture.

Note that you can capture full or partial payments as you see fit. With partial payments, remember that the authorization period is still in force. You must capture any remaining balance within that seven-day window in order to get paid.

Automatic Payment Capture

Setting up automatic payment capturing might be the way you prefer to do things. If so, it’s not hard to do. Go into your Shopify admin and then navigate to Settings>Payments. You should see a ‘Payment Authorization’ section in the new window. Just click next to the first option to activate it. Click ‘Save’, and you are done.

Choosing the automatic option results in every transaction being fully processed as soon as it’s completed. The Shopify system will automatically capture full payment on your behalf. The benefit here should be obvious: you do not have to worry about capturing payments within the seven-day authorization window.

Note that you can change how credit card payments are captured at any time. You can switch from automatic to manual or vice versa simply by going back into the Shopify admin.

We recommend automatic capturing for store owners with heavy traffic. It is a more convenient way to get paid without having to spend a lot of time capturing individual transactions. On the other hand, if your store only generates a small handful of sales every week, you might want to consider manually capturing payments so that you can be more aware of what’s going on with your store.

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