How to Sell Products in Easy Digital Downloads using a Credit Points System

    Varun Shanbhag
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edd-credits-system“World’s easiest way to sell digital downloads through WordPress”

– Easy Digital Downloads

Websites like Shutterstock or Payback work on a credits system.

What’s a credits system you ask? I’ll tell you.

Well, a credits system essentially is an e-Commerce web store which operates completely on the basis of points.

A potential buyer has to buy a points or credits pack, and then purchase products using these points.

You could compare it to a virtual wallet. But instead of money, you have points.

Now, the advantage of such a system is that you have the user tied in to your product or service, by asking them to purchase a predefined set of credits. For example, you can sell a minimum of 200 credits as a pack for $100, while your products might cost 20 credits each. This means buyers will end up purchasing at least 5 products in your store.

There’s another advantage too (which particularly interested a client of ours). For stores where the product prices are lower, than transaction fees incurred, a credit points system makes sense. You can save on transaction fees and speed up the checkout process by asking potential buyers to purchase a bunch of credits at once.

So, how do you employ a credits points system in your e-commerce store? Read on.


Adding a Credit Points System to EDD

Now, Easy Digital Downloads is by far the most popular e-commerce plugin when it comes to selling digital products. (We use it too.) And considering digital downloads websites are most likely to employ a credit points system (note: I don’t have facts to prove this, it’s solely based on intuition 😀 ), it’s quite surprising EDD does not provide a credits system extension.

What it does provide though, is a Points and Rewards extension.

Now, I know it’s not the same thing. In fact it’s quite different. But, what if I told you, that you could modify the Points and Rewards extension to behave like a credits system extension?!

Well, on my recent client project- that’s exactly what I did.

Here’s how…..

#1 Setting up Points and Rewards Extension

The reason why we can use the Points and Rewards extension, is because it provides us with a basis to add points to a customer’s account.

So, we have to start by setting up the Points and Rewards extension. Once we add this extension, we should be able to see the settings under Downloads->Settings->Extensions.

What’s important here, is to set the ‘Redeem Points Conversion Rate’ with the dollar value of each credit point. For example, we can set this field to 1 point and $1 if $1 = 1 point, or 10 points and $1, if $1 = 10 points.

Setting up Points and Rewards

I’ve set $1 = 1 point.

By default, what this does is, award the customer 1 point for every dollar purchased.

#2 Creating a Credits Pack Product

Next, we’ll create a ‘Credits Pack’ product.

In a credit points system, there are usually two kinds of products:

  1. ‘Credits Pack’ product: A product when purchased (using dollars) adds credits to the buyer’s account. Thus, this product can only be purchased via payment gateways setup on the site.
  2. Digital product: A product which can be purchased with credits.

Clearly there is a major difference between the two products. For a ‘Credits Pack’ product, payment gateways should be made available when the product has to be purchased. Where as for digital products, payment gateways have to be disabled and an option to pay via credits should be made available.

Here’s where, we’ll need to customize EDD.

  • Based on the product, payment gateways should be made available or disabled. If payment gateways are disabled, an option to pay with credits should be made available.
  • For Credit Pack products, an option to pay with credits should be disabled (duh!).
  • This also implies that customers should not be able to buy a Credit Pack product and digital download product in a single purchase.

Now, to identify a product as a ‘Credits Pack Product’, what we can do, is simply create a different category. And to award points to a customer on a credits pack purchase, we have to set a value for ‘Points Earned’ in ‘Download Points and Rewards Configuration’ for the product.

Since we have the Points and Rewards extension set up, the points will automatically be added to the buyer’s account, once he purchases this product.

Creating a Credit Points Product

#3 Selling Digital Downloads using Credits

Next, we can move on and set up digital products. We have a choice here. We can add the credits needed to purchase a product a a custom field and then display it instead of the product price, or, we can add the points needed in the product description.

Selling a Product with Points

Now, at the time of checkout the Points and Rewards extension will handle the rest for us.

Using Credits to Purchase Products in EDD

What the extension does, is that it checks the points a buyer has available. It then uses the points needed to offer a discount on the cart total, to allow the buyer to purchase the product for free. (Hence using credits to purchase the product).

What we have to ensure, is that if a buyer does not have enough credit points to purchase the product, the checkout option should be disabled.


And there you have it. Your very own credits system on Easy Digital Downloads!


If you have any suggestions or questions, please feel free to leave them as comments 🙂

Varun Shanbhag

Varun Shanbhag

One Response

  1. Hey Varun! We are looking to do this exact thing for a client. What I’m still unclear about is what happens when the user’s credit balance is NOT ENOUGH to purchase the product. Theoretically, it should ask them to purchase more credits, and then redirect them back to the purchase page when they are done (like Envato does, basically). You stopped short of sharing that part – any clarity on what happens above when they don’t have enough credits? You said that the checkout should be disabled?

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