Spree has a highly flexible payments model which allows multiple payment methods to be available during the checkout. The logic for processing payments is decoupled from orders, making it easy to define custom payment methods with their own processing logic.

Payment methods typically represent a payment gateway. Gateways will process card payments, online bank transfers, buy-now-pay-later, wallet payments, and other types of payments. Spree also comes with a Check option for offline processing.

The Payment model in Spree tracks payments against Orders. Payments relate to a source which indicates how the payment was made, and a PaymentMethod, indicating the processor used for this payment.

When a payment is created, it is given a unique, 8-character identifier. This is used when sending the payment details to the payment processor. Without this identifier, some payment gateways mistakenly reported duplicate payments.

Payment States

A payment can go through many different states:



Checkout has not been completed



The payment is being processed (temporary – intended to prevent double submission)



The payment has been processed but is not yet complete (ex. authorized but not captured)



The payment was rejected (ex. credit card was declined)



The payment should not be counted against the order



The payment is completed. Only payments in this state count against the order total

Payment Attributes

Here’s the list of attributes for the Spree::Payment model:

AttributeDescriptionExample Value
numberA unique identifier for the payment.P123456789
source_typeThe type of source used for the payment.Spree::CreditCard
source_idThe ID of the source used for the payment.1
amountThe amount of the payment.99.99
payment_method_idThe ID of the payment method used.2
stateThe current state of the payment (e.g., processing, completed, failed).completed
response_codeThe response code returned by the payment processor.AUTH_123456
avs_responseThe address verification system response code.D

Payment Methods

Payment methods represent the different options a customer has for making a payment. Most sites will accept credit card payments through a payment gateway, but there are other options. Spree also comes with built-in support for a Check payment, which can be used to represent any offline payment.

There are also third-party extensions that provide support for some other interesting options such as Spree Braintree Vzero for Braintree & PayPal payment methods.

A PaymentMethod can have the following attributes:

typeThe subclass of Spree::PaymentMethod this payment method represents. Uses rails single table inheritance feature.Spree::PaymentMethod::Check
nameThe visible name for this payment methodCheck
descriptionThe description for this payment methodPay by check.
activeWhether or not this payment method is active. Set it false to hide it in frontend.true
display_onDetermines where the payment method can be visible. Values can be front (Storefr) for Storefront, back for Admin Panel only or both for both.both
positionThe position of the payment method in lists. Lower numbers appear first.1

You can decide which Payment Method will appear on which Store. This allows you to create different experiences for your customers in different countries.

Payment Processing

Payment processing in Spree supports many different gateways, but also attempts to comply with the API provided by the active_merchant gem where possible.

Gateway Options

For every gateway action, a list of gateway options are passed through.

Gateway OptionDescription
email and customerThe email address related to the order
ipThe last IP address for the order
order_idThe Order’s number attribute, plus the identifier for each payment, generated when the payment is first created
shippingThe total shipping cost for the order, in cents
taxThe total tax cost for the order, in cents
subtotalThe item total for the order, in cents
currencyThe 3-character currency code for the order
discountThe promotional discount applied to the order
billing_addressA hash containing billing address information
shipping_addressA hash containing shipping address information

The billing address and shipping address data is as follows:

nameThe combined first_name and last_name from the address
address1The first line of the address information
address2The second line of address information
cityThe city of the address
stateAn abbreviated version of the state name or, failing that, the state name itself, from the related State object. If that fails, the state_name attribute from the address.
countryThe ISO name for the country. For example, United States of America is “US”, Australia is “AU”.
phoneThe phone number associated with the address

Credit card data

Spree stores only necessary non-sensitive credit card information as a Spree::CreditClass record with the following attributes:

AttributeDescriptionExample Value
monthThe month the credit card expires. Stored as an integer (1-12).6
yearThe year the credit card expires. Stored as a four-digit integer (e.g., 2024).2024
cc_typeThe type of credit card (e.g., Visa, MasterCard).Visa
last_digitsThe last four digits of the credit card number.1234
nameThe name of the credit card holder as it appears on the card.John Doe
gateway_customer_profile_idThe customer profile identifier from the payment gateway. Useful for recurring transactions.cust_123456789
gateway_payment_profile_idThe payment profile identifier from the payment gateway.paym_987654321

We don’t store the full credit card number, only the last 4 digits and the card type. This is a security precauation to protect the cardholder’s privacy. For any post-purchase operations we authenticate the card using the gateway_customer_profile_id and gateway_payment_profile_id.

Processing Walkthrough

When an order is completed in spree, each Payment object associated with the order has the process! method called on it unless payment_required? for the order returns false, in order to attempt to automatically fulfill the payment required for the order. If the payment method requires a source (eg. Spree::CreditCard), and the payment has a source associated with it, then Spree will attempt to process the payment. Otherwise, the payment will need to be processed manually.

If the PaymentMethod object is configured to auto-capture payments, then the Payment#purchase! method will be called, which will call PaymentMethod#purchase like this:

payment_method.purchase(<amount>, <source>, <gateway options>)

If the payment is not configured to auto-capture payments, the Payment#authorize! method will be called, with the same arguments as the purchase method above:

payment_method.authorize(<amount>, <source>, <gateway options>)

How the payment is actually put through depends on the PaymentMethod sub-class’ implementation of the purchase and authorize methods.

The returned object from both the purchase and authorize methods on the payment method objects must be an ActiveMerchant::Billing::Response object. This response object is then stored in YAML in the spree_log_entries table. Log entries can be retrieved with a call to the log_entries association on any Payment object, eg.


If the purchase! route is taken and is successful, the payment is marked as completed. If it fails, it is marked as failed. If the authorize method is successful, the payment is transitioned to the pending state so that it can be manually captured later by calling the capture! method. If it is unsuccessful, it is also transitioned to the failed state.

Once a payment has been saved, it also updates the order. This may trigger the `payment_state` to change, which would reflect the current payment state of the order. The possible states are: * `balance_due`: Indicates that payment is required for this order * `failed`: Indicates that the last payment for the order failed * `credit_owed`: This order has been paid for in excess of its total * `paid`: This order has been paid for in full.

You may want to keep tabs on the number of orders with a `payment_state` of `failed`. A sudden increase in the number of such orders could indicate a problem with your credit card gateway and most likely indicates a serious problem affecting customer satisfaction. You should check the latest `log_entries` for the most recent payments in the store if this is happening.

Log Entries

Responses from payment gateways within Spree are typically ActiveMerchant::Billing::Response objects. When Spree handles a response from a payment gateway, it will serialize the object as YAML and store it in the database as a log entry for a payment. These responses can be useful for debugging why a payment has failed.

You can get a list of these log entries by calling the log_entries on any Spree::Payment object. To get the Active::Merchant::Billing::Response out of these Spree::LogEntry objects, call the details method, eg.


Supported Gateways

Access to a number of payment gateways is handled with the usage of the Spree Gateway extension. This extension currently supports the following gateways:

  • Authorize.net
  • Apple Pay via Stripe
  • BanWire
  • Bambora previously Beanstream
  • Braintree
  • CyberSource
  • ePay
  • eWay
  • maxipago
  • MasterCard Payment Gateway Service formerly MiGS
  • Moneris
  • PayJunction
  • Payflow
  • Paymill
  • Pin Payments
  • QuickPay
  • sage Pay
  • SecurePay
  • Spreedly
  • Stripe with Stripe Elements
  • USAePay
  • Worldpay previously Cardsave

With the spree_gateway gem included in your application’s Gemfile, these gateways will be selectable in the admin backend for payment methods.

These are just some of the gateways which are supported by the Active Merchant gem. You can see a list of all the Active Merchant gateways on that project’s GitHub page.

Adding your custom Payment Method

In order to make your own custom Payment Method show up on the backend list of available payment methods, you need to add it to the spree config list of payment methods first.

Firstly create a new model inheriting from Spree::PaymentMethod in your app/models directory:

class FancyPaymentMethod < Spree::PaymentMethod

Next, add your custom gateway to the list of available payment methods in config/initializers/spree.rb:

Rails.application.config.after_initialize do
  Rails.application.config.spree.payment_methods << FancyPaymentMethod

Spree Braintree Vzero is a good example of a standalone custom gateway.

Payment Method visibility

We’ve mentioned before that a PaymentMethod can have a display_on attribute. This attribute can have the following values: front, back, or both. For more granular control which Payment Methods should be available in which Store, you can override the available_for_store? method in your PaymentMethod subclass.

class FancyPaymentMethod < Spree::PaymentMethod
  def available_for_store?(store)

Above code will make the payment method available only for stores that support the EUR currency.

If you want more control you can specify available_for_order? method to control Payment Method visibility for specific Order, eg.

class FancyPaymentMethod < Spree::PaymentMethod
  def available_for_order?(order)
    order.total > 100 && order.currency == 'USD'

This code will make the payment method available only for orders with a total greater than 100 and currency USD.

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