What is the best method of handling currency/money?

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I'm working on a very basic shopping cart system.

I have a table items that has a column price of type integer.

I'm having trouble displaying the price value in my views for prices that include both Euros and cents. Am I missing something obvious as far as handling currency in the Rails framework is concerned?

You'll probably want to use a DECIMAL type in your database. In your migration, do something like this:

# precision is the total number of digits
# scale is the number of digits to the right of the decimal point
add_column :items, :price, :decimal, :precision => 8, :scale => 2

In Rails, the :decimal type is returned as BigDecimal, which is great for price calculation.

If you insist on using integers, you will have to manually convert to and from BigDecimals everywhere, which will probably just become a pain.

As pointed out by mcl, to print the price, use:

number_to_currency(price, :unit => "€")
#=> €1,234.01

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Common practice for handling currency is to use decimal type. Here is a simple example from "Agile Web Development with Rails"

add_column :products, :price, :decimal, :precision => 8, :scale => 2 

This will allow you to handle prices from -999,999.99 to 999,999.99 You may also want to include a validation in your items like

def validate 
  errors.add(:price, "should be at least 0.01") if price.nil? || price < 0.01 
end 

to sanity-check your values.

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If you are using Postgres (and since we're in 2017 now) you might want to give their :money column type a try.

add_column :products, :price, :money, default: 0

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Use money-rails gem. It nicely handles money and currencies in your model and also has a bunch of helpers to format your prices.

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Comments
  • if someone uses sql, then DECIMAL(19, 4) is a popular choice check this also check here World Currency Formats to decide how many decimal places to use , hope helps.
  • Use number_to_currency helper, more info at api.rubyonrails.org/classes/ActionView/Helpers/…
  • Actually, it's much safer and easier to use an integer in combination with acts_as_dollars. Have you ever been bitten by floating-point comparison? If not, don't make this your first experience. :) With acts_as_dollars, you put stuff in in 12.34 format, it's stored as 1234, and it comes out as 12.34.
  • @Sarah Mei: BigDecimals + decimal column format avoids precisely that.
  • It's important not to just copy this answer blindly - precision 8, scale 2 gives you a maximum value of 999,999.99. If you need a number greater than a million then increase the precision!
  • It's also important to not just blindly use a scale of 2 if you're handling different currencies – some north-african and arab currencies like the Omani Rial or the Tunisian Dinar have a scale of 3, so precision 8 scale 3 is more appropriate there.
  • I love this approach. But please note: make sure your migration for 'price' in this example doesn't allow nulls and defaults to 0 lest you go insane trying to figure out why this doesn't work.
  • I found the money_column gem (extracted from Shopify) to be very straight forward to use...easier than the money gem, if you don't need currency conversion.
  • It should be noted for all those using the Money gem that the Rails core team is discussing deprecating and removing "composed_of" from the framework. I suspect the gem will be updated to handle this if it happens, but if you are looking at Rails 4.0 you should be aware of this possibility
  • Regarding @PeerAllan's comment about the removal of composed_of here is more detail on that as well as an alternative implementation.
  • Also, this is really reasy using the rails-money gem.
  • This solution also enables you to use SQL sum and friends.
  • Could you possibly do: validates :price, :presence => true, :numericality => { :greater_than => 0 }