Managed accounts for Django
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Managed accounts for Django

This package provides managed accounts for Django. A managed account is an allocation of money that can be debited and credited. Accounts can be used to implement:

  • Giftcard schemes
  • Web accounts
  • Loyalty schemes
  • User "credits" that are allocated by sales reps to their customers (more of a B2B thing)

Basically anything that involves tracking the movement of funds within a closed system.

It uses double-entry bookkeeping where every transaction is recorded twice (once for the source and once for the destination). This ensures the books always balance and there is full audit trail of all transactional activity. Your finance people will thank you.


  • A account has a credit limit which defaults to zero. Accounts can be set up with no credit limit so that they are a 'source' of money within the system. At least one account must be set up without a credit limit.
  • Accounts can have: - No users assigned - A single "primary" user - this is the most common case - A set of users assigned
  • A user can have multiple accounts
  • An account can have a start and end date to allow its usage in a limited time window
  • Accounts can be categorised


Install using pip and add accounts to INSTALLED_APPS. Add the following settings:

  • ACCOUNTS_SOURCE_NAME - The name of the 'source' account which is used to transfer funds to other accounts (it has no credit limit).
  • ACCOUNTS_REDEMPTIONS_NAME - The name of the 'sales' account which is the recipient of any funds used to pay for orders
  • ACCOUNTS_LAPSED_NAME - The name of the 'expired' account which is the recipient of any funds left if accounts that expire. A cronjob is used to close expired accounts.

Running syncdb will create the appropriate tables and create accounts for based on the above 3 settings.

You should also set-up a cronjob that calls:

./ close_expired_accounts

to close any expired accounts and transfer their funds to the 'expired' account.


Create account instances using the manager:

from decimal import Decimal
import datetime

from django.contrib.auth.models import User

from accounts import models

anonymous_account = models.Account.objects.create()

barry = User.objects.get(username="barry")
user_account = models.Account.objects.create(primary_user=barry)

no_credit_limit_account = models.Account.objects.create(credit_limit=None)
credit_limit_account = models.Account.objects.create(credit_limit=Decimal('1000.00'))

today =
next_week = today + datetime.timedelta(days=7)
date_limited_account = models.Account.objects.create(
    start_date=today, end_date=next_week)

Transfer funds using the facade:

from accounts import facade

staff_member = User.objects.get(username="staff")
trans = facade.transfer(source=no_credit_limit_account,

Reverse transfers:

facade.reverse(trans, user=staff_member,
               description="Just an example")

If the proposed transfer is invalid, an exception will be raised. All exceptions are subclasses of accounts.exceptions.AccountException. Your client code should look for exceptions of this type and handle them appropriately.

Client code should only use the accounts.models.Budget class and the two functions from accounts.facade - nothing else should be required.

Error handling

Note that the transfer operation is wrapped in its own database transaction to ensure that only complete transfers are written out. When using Django's transaction middleware, you need to be careful. If you have an unhandled exception, then account transfers will still be committed even though nothing else will be. To handle this, you need to make sure that, if an exception occurs during your post-payment code, then you roll-back any transfers.

Here's a toy example:

from accounts import facade

def submit(self, order_total):
    # Take payment first
    transfer = facade.transfer(self.get_user_account(),
    # Create order models
    except Exception, e:
        # Something went wrong placing the order.  Roll-back the previous
        # transfer

In this situation, you'll end up with two transfers being created but no order. While this isn't ideal, it's the best way of handling exceptions that occur during order placement.


  • ACCOUNTS_SOURCE_NAME The name of the 'source' account
  • ACCOUNTS_SALES_NAME The name of the 'sales' account
  • ACCOUNTS_EXPIRED_NAME The name of the 'expired' account
  • ACCOUNTS_MIN_INITIAL_VALUE The minimum value that can be used to create an account (or for a top-up)
  • ACCOUNTS_MAX_INITIAL_VALUE The maximum value that can be transferred to an account.


Fork repo, set-up virtualenv and run:

make install

Run tests with: