Stripe to BigQuery

This page provides you with instructions on how to extract data from Stripe and load it into Google BigQuery. (If this manual process sounds onerous, check out Stitch, which can do all the heavy lifting for you in just a few clicks.)

What is Stripe?

Stripe is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that lets businesses accept payments online and in mobile apps.

What is Google BigQuery?

Google BigQuery is a data warehouse that delivers super-fast results from SQL queries, which it accomplishes using a powerful engine dubbed Dremel. With BigQuery, there's no spinning up (and down) clusters of machines as you work with your data. With that said, it's clear why some claim that BigQuery prioritizes querying over administration. It's super fast, and that's the reason why most folks use it.

Getting data out of Stripe

You can get data off of Stripe's servers using the Stripe REST API, which exposes information about core resources, payment methods, subscriptions, and more. To get a list of all customers, for instance, you could call GET /v1/customers.

Sample Stripe data

The Stripe API returns JSON-formatted data. Data from a call to retrieve customers might look like this.

{
  "object": "list",
  "url": "/v1/customers",
  "has_more": false,
  "data": [
    {
      "id": "cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt",
      "object": "customer",
      "account_balance": 0,
      "created": 1513697132,
      "currency": "usd",
      "default_source": null,
      "delinquent": false,
      "description": null,
      "discount": null,
      "email": null,
      "livemode": false,
      "metadata": {
      },
      "shipping": null,
      "sources": {
        "object": "list",
        "data": [
    
        ],
        "has_more": false,
        "total_count": 0,
        "url": "/v1/customers/cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt/sources"
      },
      "subscriptions": {
        "object": "list",
        "data": [
    
        ],
        "has_more": false,
        "total_count": 0,
        "url": "/v1/customers/cus_BykTW2x4M6Yrrt/subscriptions"
      }
    },
    {...},
    {...}
  ]
}

Preparing Stripe data

Now you need to parse the JSON in the API response and map each column to a corresponding field in a table in the destination database. You'll have to know the datatypes for each field. The Stitch Stripe Docs can give you a sense of what datatypes will come through the API.

Loading data into Google BigQuery

Google Cloud Platform offers a helpful guide for loading data into BigQuery. You can use the bq command-line tool to upload the files to your datasets, adding schema and data type information along the way. The bq load command is the workhorse here. You can find its syntax in the bq command-line tool quickstart guide. Iterate through this process as many times as it takes to load all of your tables into BigQuery.

Keeping Stripe data up to date

So, now what? You've built a script that pulls data from Stripe and loads it to your destination, but what happens tomorrow when you have hundreds of new transactions?

The key is to build your script in such a way that it can also identify incremental updates to your data. Thankfully, Stripe's API results include fields like "created" that allow you to identify records that are new since your last update (or since the newest record you've copied). Once you've taken new transactions into account, you can set up your script as a cron job or continuous loop to keep pulling down new data as it appears.

Other data warehouse options

BigQuery is great, but sometimes you need to optimize for different things when you're choosing a data warehouse. Some folks choose to go with Amazon Redshift, PostgreSQL, or Snowflake, which are RDBMSes that use similar SQL syntax, or Panoply, which works with Redshift instances. If you're interested in seeing the relevant steps for loading data into one of these platforms, check out To Redshift, To Postgres, To Snowflake, and To Panoply.

Easier and faster alternatives

If all this sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t be alarmed. If you have all the skills necessary to go through this process, chances are building and maintaining a script like this isn’t a very high-leverage use of your time.

Thankfully, products like Stitch were built to solve this problem automatically. With just a few clicks, Stitch starts extracting your Stripe data via the API, structuring it in a way that is optimized for analysis, and inserting that data into your Google BigQuery data warehouse.