Get additional customer information with custom fields

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In Chargebee you can have additional 'custom' fields associated with the customer. They are very useful for tracking additional information about a customer or a subscription. Once the custom fields are created, they can be accessed through the admin console and using the API.
Click here   to learn more about custom fields in Chargebee.

In this tutorial we will be explaining about accessing and updating custom fields using the API.

Honey Comics - Demo Application 

'Honey Comics', our demo application, is a fictitious online comic book store providing a subscription service for comics. We send comic books every week to subscribers. In order to let customers try the service, we provide them with a free trial period for two weeks.

In addition to the basic account information such as email, phone number we need the genre (fiction, action, adventure, etc.) that the user is interested in. We also need to get their date of birth as we want to send a surprise package of comics as a birthday gift.


To try out the tutorial yourself, you'll need the following:

  • A Chargebee account. Signup for a free trial if you don't have one.
  • A plan with a trial period in Chargebee.
  • Your Chargebee API key for your test site.
  • Also the custom fields (genre and date of birth) should have been setup for your account.

Build the signup form 

The Honey Comics signup form is a simple form requiring only basic account information. We also get the two additional information (genre and date of birth).

Here's the code for the genre field in signup form :

  • php
  • Ruby
  • Java
  custom_field/signup.html  -   View full code
<label for="city">Comics Genre</label>
<select class="form-control" name="customer[cf_comics_type]">
    <option> Adventures </option>
    <option> Action </option>
    <option> Fantasy </option>
    <option> Horror </option>
    <option> Romance </option>

Now lets switch to the server side implementation

Setup the client library 

We first have to download and import  the client library of our choice. Then we need to configure the client library with our test site and our test api key.

For the tutorials we have configured the site and the credentials in a properties file from which the client library is configured at the webapp is initialized.

For the tutorials we have configured the site credentials in config/environments/development.rb

We setup the client library in config/initializers/chargebee.rb

For the tutorials we have configured the site credentials in Config.php which is included in other php files.

Handle Signup Request 

On the server side we get the signup details, do the necessary validations (which is skipped in demo) and then call the Create Subscription API  to create the subscription.
Note: The custom fields are passed under customer resource.

Redirect the user to the result page 

Now that the subscription has been successfully created we redirect the user to a 'thank you' page. In our demo, since we've used Ajax to submit the form data, the forwarding is done on the client side using JavaScript.

'Thank you' Page 

We have fetched the subscription details using the Retrieve a Subscription API.  The response contains the customer  resource containing the values for the custom fields which is displayed.

Validation and Error Handling

Here's how we validate user inputs and handle API call errors in this demo:

  • Client Side Validation: We use the jQuery form validation  plugin to check whether the user's input in fields(email, zip code and phone number) is valid or not.

  • Server Side Validation: As this is a demo app we have skipped the server side validation of all input parameters. But we recommend you to perform the validation at your end.

  • General API Errors: Chargebee might return error responses due to various reasons such as invalid configuration. To identify specific reasons for all error responses you can check the API documentation  and also take a look at the error handler file to check how these errors can be handled.