From NintendoWiki, your source on Nintendo information. By fans, for fans.
The Nintendo eShop is a digital distribution service provided by Nintendo for the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch systems. The Nintendo eShop was originally launched for Nintendo 3DS systems on June 6, 2011 in the 2.0.0-2U system update, and has since been included on the Wii U and Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo eShop serves as the successor to the Nintendo DSi Shop for the Nintendo DSi and later to the Wii Shop Channel for the Wii with the launch of the Wii U console on November 18, 2012.
Like its predecessors, the Nintendo eShop provides software distribution of games, demos and promotional videos. In contrast with its predecessors, the Nintendo eShop primarily uses real currency as a method of payment, as opposed to points derived from currency. Wii software purchased from the Wii U's Nintendo eShop continues to use Nintendo Points, which must be purchased from the Wii Shop Channel on the Wii Menu.
To add funds to their Nintendo eShop balance, users can either purchase pre-paid cards at retailers, which are redeemed by entering a 16-character code, or by using a credit card. The Nintendo eShop is capable of storing basic credit card information for convenience, though it does not store the password to any given credit cards, requiring consumers to input the password each time they wish to add funds to their account. Using a credit card, users can add money in increments of $15.00, $20.00, $50.00, or $100.00. Each account for the Nintendo eShop is limited to a maximum balance of $200.00 USD. By linking the same Nintendo Network ID to both a Nintendo 3DS and Wii U system, the user's Nintendo eShop funds on both systems will be merged; users are also able to merge their Nintendo eShop balance on Nintendo Switch with the balance on their Wii U and Nintendo 3DS systems. In addition, the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch also allows users to pay for purchases using PayPal.