Getting Started with PHP API - What is difference between "Customers" and "Accounts"?

(Shawn Murphy) #1


I am new to Dwolla and looking to integrate your services with my website for my users with the API. I am doing some testing and just trying to get a handle on all the options available.

A very simple question that I can’t seem to get to the bottom of is what is the difference between a “Customer” and an “Account”?

In the sandbox I am able to create a customer of “type” personal and the response I am getting is successful and that the customer is “verified” etc. Is that the same as creating an account that I can add a funding source to and then send a payment? If so, I don’t get it because I never had to create a password for the “customer” record but I know for a Dwolla account you would have to create a password with it.

I know this is probably a rookie question but a little overview about how customers and accounts relate/differ would be much appreciated!


(Spencer Hunter) #2

@Shawn_Murphy, “Customers” refer to “white label” type accounts and are created and managed via the API. “Accounts” represent a Dwolla account that was either established on, or created inline with the capture of the user account’s permission via Dwolla’s OAuth flow. More information on account types can be found here.

Let us know if we can provide additional insight into Customers and Accounts!

(Shawn Murphy) #3

@spencer Thanks so much for the info! That clarifies a TON for me :slightly_smiling:

I am going to be using the non White Label functionality (free) to start with my website, so I assume that I can essentially ignore any/all of the “Customers” types of endpoints and PHP classes/functions?

Lastly, you mention: “or created inline with the capture of the user account’s permission via Dwolla’s OAuth flow”

Does this mean with non White Label, I can still programatically create an Account for one of my users without them having to go through process of entering name, email, and other details in registration landing page? If this is possible to do via backend code / API, how do I “capture the user account’s permission via Dwolla’s OAuth flow” if they don’t have an account yet? Know what I mean? It sounds like you are saying I can create an Account through the API for them with their permission, but in order to get an OAuth key with their permission, they already need an account don’t they?

Thanks for all your help!!


P.S. Your guys’ service at Dwolla rocks!

(Spencer Hunter) #4


With non white label functionality we handle the account creation aspect either within the OAuth flow or by the user signing up on OAuth account creation is outlined in this resource article. Note: OAuth is shared across API v1 and v2, so this piece will be the same regardless of which version of the API you are integrating with.

Unfortunately, you cannot programmatically create Dwolla accounts via the API. You’ll send the user to Dwolla to create the account and grant permission to your application via OAuth and once complete we’ll redirect them back to your site. (You should then receive an OAuth access token that will be used to call our API)

Thanks! We appreciate you asking questions as it helps us refine and clarify aspects of our developer documentation. :slightly_smiling: