Subscription APIs FAQ

We recently launched our Subscription APIs so developers and merchants can build experiences directly into Shopify’s checkout. This is the first of many future releases of our checkout platform, and this page will continue to be updated as the Subscription feature evolves. Below are the most frequently asked questions from the developer community.

When should I use Subscription APIs?

Subscriptions allow customers to pay a recurring price at scheduled intervals for specific goods or services. With Subscription APIs, you can sell goods and services in multiple ways.

For general information on building apps to manage subscriptions, refer to the Shopify subscriptions overview.

When shouldn't I use the Subscription APIs?

Vaulting cards for any purpose other than processing recurring payments for a specific product isn't supported. For a list of other prohibited actions, refer to our documentation on prohibited actions.

I already have a subscription app and need to migrate to the Subscription APIs. What is the migration process?

You can follow our migration guide to migrate your existing subscription system to one that’s managed from within the Shopify admin. If your existing subscription app uses Stripe to process subscription payments, you can import pay-as-you-go contracts directly into Shopify without the need to migrate credit cards. For more information, refer to our tutorial on migrating existing subscription contracts.

Which subscription features are in development and when are they being released?

Below you’ll find the features on our roadmap and our estimated launch dates. These dates may change but represent our current best estimates.

Feature Target launch date
(Plus) Checkout.liquid support Launched Feb 2021
Paying for subscriptions with a gift card Launched Feb 2021
Additional gateway: PayPal Express Q1 2021
Additional gateways: Stripe, Q2 2021
Storefront API H2 2021
Wallets support: Shop Pay, Apple Pay, G Pay H2 2021
Local pickup H2 2021
Local delivery H2 2021
CSV exports H2 2021
Draft orders H2 2021
Shopify POS H2 2021

What are the current limitations of the Subscription APIs?

While subscriptions are a powerful and exciting new feature, there are some limitations that you need to be aware of:

  • Scripts that discount subscription price or shipping rates apply to the first payment only.
  • Gift cards used to pay for subscriptions only apply to the first payment.
  • To use subscriptions, the merchant must be using Shopify Payments as their primary payment gateway.
  • Customers can't use accelerated checkouts or local payment methods to purchase subscriptions. We're looking to add support for Shop Pay, Apple Pay, and Google Pay in the second half 2021.
  • Subscriptions are charged shipping separately from the rest of the cart.
  • Subscriptions don't support local delivery or local pickup options. We'll add support for these features in the second half of 2021.
  • Merchants can't sell subscriptions through Shopify POS yet, but we're planning to add support for this later in the year.
  • Subscriptions don't support "Buy X get Y" discounts.
  • Selling plan titles don't support translations for multi-language storefronts. We plan to add this feature in the future, but it doesn't have a target launch date yet.
  • Merchants who are using Shopify Plus and have a customized checkout can't sell subscription products to their customers until we release the next checkout version at the end of February 2021. If you need access for a specific Plus store before then, contact Partner Support for early access.
  • Selling subscriptions via draft orders is not supported, but is planned for later this year.
  • The Order Edits API doesn't support subscriptions. The addition of this feature isn't on our roadmap at this time.

Are there any requirements for using the Subscription APIs?

The requirements for building an app that uses subscriptions depend on the type of app that you're building.

Public apps

You can request Subscription APIs access through the Partner Dashboard. Public apps must meet specific requirements in order to be published on the Shopify App Store.

Custom apps

You can request Subscription APIs access through the Partner Dashboard. Your app will receive access as long as it's designed according to our documented principles and patterns.

Private apps

Private apps are unable to use extensions or request access to protected scopes, so they can't use subscriptions. If you're building a solution for a single store, then use a custom app.

What should I do if I have merchants dependent on features in my legacy subscription app that are currently unresolved limitations of the new APIs?

Any existing installs can continue to use your app at this time. All new installs, apps, and opportunities should use the new Subscription APIs. We'll continue to release more features and support for subscriptions over the coming months, as outlined above and going forward.

Where can I learn more about subscriptions?

For more information on subscriptions, refer to our Partner Blog post, where we give some background information on why we built this feature.

To dive into the details, refer to the Shopify subscriptions overview, where we walk through the principles of subscription apps, user experience guidelines, and developer tools and resources.

Finally, we are always looking for feedback on our APIs. If you have any specific questions, concerns or feedback on the Subscriptions APIs, please visit our Subscriptions API forums.