A sample picture of a fictional ATM card. The largest part of the world's money exists only as accounting numbers which are transferred between financial computers. Various plastic cards and other devices give individual consumers the power to electronically transfer such money to and from their bank accounts, without the use of currency.
A 640 BC one-third stater electrum coin from Lydia
Song Dynasty Jiaozi, the world's earliest paper money
Money Base, M1 and M2 in the U.S. from 1981 to 2012
Printing paper money at a printing press in Perm
A person counts a bundle of different Swedish banknotes.
A 1914 British gold sovereign
Gold coins are an example of legal tender that are traded for their intrinsic value, rather than their face value.
Huizi currency, issued in 1160
Paper money from different countries
Banknotes of different currencies with a face value of 5000
A check, used as a means of converting funds in a demand deposit to cash
US dollar banknotes
A former Finnish 10 mark banknote from 1980. President J. K. Paasikivi illustrated in a banknote.

Any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context.

- Money

500 related topics


Commodity money

Japanese commodity money before the 8th century AD: arrowheads, rice grains and gold powder. This is the earliest form of Japanese currency.
A bronze okpoho or manilla, the traditional commodity money in West Africa until the 1940s.
Axe-like grzywnas (commodity money) from Kostkowice, Poland, 9th to mid-10th century AD

Commodity money is money whose value comes from a commodity of which it is made.


Small, flat, round piece of metal or plastic used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender.

An oxhide ingot from Crete. Late Bronze Age metal ingots were given standard shapes, such as the shape of an "ox-hide", suggesting that they represented standardized values.
Coin of Alyattes of Lydia. Circa 620/10-564/53 BCE.
The earliest inscribed coinage: electrum coin of Phanes from Ephesus, 625–600 BCE. Obverse: Stag grazing right, ΦΑΝΕΩΣ (retrograde). Reverse: Two incuse punches, each with raised intersecting lines.
A siglos found in the Kabul valley, 5th century BCE. Coins of this type were also found in the Bhir Mound hoard.
Silver stater of Aegina, 550–530 BCE. Obv. Sea turtle with large pellets down centre. Rev. incuse square punch with eight sections.
Athens coin (circa 500/490–485 BCE) discovered in the Shaikhan Dehri hoard in Pushkalavati, Ancient India. This coin is the earliest known example of its type to be found so far east.
The Achaemenid Empire Satraps and Dynasts in Asia Minor developed the usage of portraiture from circa 420 BCE. Portrait of the Satrap of Lydia, Tissaphernes (c.445–395 BCE).
Hoard of mostly Mauryan Empire coins, 3rd century BCE.
Chinese round coins, Eastern Zhou dynasty – Warring States Period. Circa 300–220 BCE. Four Hua (四化, 30mm, 6.94 g). Legend Yi Si Hua ([City of] Yi Four Hua).
Alexander the Great Tetradrachm from the Temnos Mint, dated circa 188–170 BCE
Five million mark coin (Weimar Republic, 1923). Despite its high denomination, this coin's monetary value dropped to a tiny fraction of a US cent by the end of 1923, substantially less than the value of its metallic content.
A silver coin made during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II
A Swiss ten-cent coin from 1879, similar to the oldest coins still in official use today
Coins can be stacked.
1884 United States trade dollar
French 1992 twenty Franc Tri-Metallic coin
Bimetallic Egyptian one pound coin featuring King Tutankhamen
3 Rubles proof coin of Russia, minted in 2008
Holographic coin from Liberia features the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World)
An American Silver Eagle minted in 2019 (left), an example of a Bullion coin. Its obverse design is based on the older, formerly circulating silver Walking Liberty half dollar (right).
The Piloncitos are tiny engraved gold coins found in the Philippines, along with the barter rings, which are gold ring-like ingots. These barter rings are bigger than doughnuts in size and are made of pure gold from the Archaic period (c. 10th to 16th century).
Punch-marked coin minted in the Kabul Valley under Achaemenid administration. Circa 500–380 BCE, or c.350 BCE.<ref name="CNG 309874">"Extremely Rare Early Silver from the Kabul Valley", CNG 102, Lot:649, CNG Coins</ref>
Gandharan "bent-bar" punch-marked coin minted under Achaemenid administration, of the type found in large quantities in the Chaman Hazouri and the Bhir Mound hoards.
Early punch-marked coins of Gandhara, Taxila-Gandhara region.
Coin of Phaselis, Lycia. Circa 550–530/20 BCE.
Coin of Lycia. Circa 520–470/60 BCE.
Lycia coin. Circa 520-470 BCE. Struck with worn obverse die.<ref>{{cite book|title=CNG: LYCIA. Circa 520–470/60 BCE. AR Stater (18mm, 9.18 g).|url=}}</ref>
Coin of Lesbos, Ionia. Circa 510–80 BCE.
Aegina coin type, incuse skew pattern. Circa 456/45–431 BCE.
Coin of Akanthos, Macedon, circa 470-430 BCE.
Coin of Aspendos, Pamphylia, circa 465–430 BCE.
Coin from Korkyra, circa 350/30–290/70 BCE.
Coin of Cyprus, circa 450 BCE.
Coin of Themistocles as Governor of Magnesia. Obv: Barley grain. Rev: Possible portrait of Themistocles. Circa 465–459 BC.<ref>{{cite web| url =| title = CNG: IONIA, Magnesia ad Maeandrum. Themistokles. Circa 465-459 BC. AR Hemiobol (7mm, 0.37 g, 1h)}}</ref>
Portrait of Lycian ruler Kherei wearing the Persian cap on the reverse of his coins (ruled 410–390 BCE).
Portrait of Lycian ruler Erbbina wearing the Persian cap on the reverse of his coins (ruled 390–380 BCE).
Portrait of Lycian ruler Perikles facing (ruled 380-360 BCE).
Seleucus Nicator (312–281 BCE), Ai Khanoum.<ref>{{cite web| url =| title = CNG Coin 338684}}</ref>
Antiochus I (281–261 BCE), Ai Khanoum.
Bilingual coin of Indo-Greek king Antialcidas (105–95 BCE).
Bilingual coin of Agathocles of Bactria with Hindu deities, circa 180 BCE.
Sestertius of Marcus Clodius Pupienus Maximus, AD 238
Set of three Roman aurei depicting the rulers of the Flavian dynasty. Top to bottom: Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, 69-96 CE
Silver Drachma of Mehrdad (Mithridates I) of Persian Empire of Parthia, 165 BCE
Lombardic Tremissis depicting Saint Michael, 688-700 CE
Silver coin of Borandukht of Persian Sassanian Empire, 629 CE
Silver Dirham of the Umayyad Caliphate, 729 CE; minted by using Persian Sassanian framework
Abbasid coin, c. 1080s
Almoravid coin, 1138–1139
Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel Thaler minted in 1629
Japanese local currency Genbun Inari Koban Kin, c. 1736–1741
1768 silver Spanish Dollar, or eight reales coin (the “piece of eight” of pirate fame), minted throughout the Spanish Empire
Ottoman coin, 1818
One Rupee coin issued by the East India Company, 1835
Silver coin of the Bengal Sultanate ruler Jalaluddin Muhammad
Scalloped coin of Israel
1996 one cent coin from Belize
Decagonal two Piso Philippine coin 1990
1917 French coin with integrated hole
Chinese cash coin, 1102–1106
1941 Palestine coin
Modern-day Japanese 50-yen coin
1924 East African coin
Modern-day coins of different metals, popular among collectors, part of hobby.

Other coins are used as money in everyday transactions, circulating alongside banknotes.


Payday loan businesses lend money to customers, who then owe a debt to the payday loan company.
1979 U.S. Government $10,000 treasury bond

Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to another party, the creditor.


An 1874 newspaper illustration from Harper's Weekly showing a man engaging in barter by offering various farm produce in exchange for his yearly newspaper subscription.
Scandinavian and Russian traders bartering their wares. Olaus Magnus, 1555
'White traders bartering with the Indians' c. 1820
A 19th-century example of barter: A sample labor for labor note for the Cincinnati Time Store. Scanned from Equitable Commerce by Josiah Warren (1846)

In trade, barter (derived from baretor ) is a system of exchange in which participants in a transaction directly exchange goods or services for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money.

Store of value

Any commodity or asset that would normally retain purchasing power into the future and is the function of the asset that can be saved, retrieved and exchanged at a later time, and be predictably useful when retrieved.

Various bills and coins
Polish National Government bond, 1863
Commodities such as gold and other precious metals have historically been good stores of value

The most common store of value in modern times has been money, currency, or a commodity like a precious metal or financial capital.

Gift economy

System of exchange where valuables are not sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards.

A Kula necklace, with its distinctive red shell-disc beads, from the Trobriand Islands.
Watercolor by James G. Swan depicting the Klallam people of chief Chetzemoka at Port Townsend, with one of Chetzemoka's wives distributing potlatch.
Wedding rings: commodity or pure gift?
Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.
Three tongkonan noble houses in a Torajan village.
Ritual slaughter of gift cattle at a funeral.
Young Burmese monk
Sharon Temple
Blood donation poster, WWII.
Inside Utrecht Giveaway shop. The banner reads "The earth has enough for everyone's need, but not for everyone's greed".
Black Rock City, the temporary settlement created in the Nevada Desert for Burning Man, 2010.
The Conquest of Bread by Peter Kropotkin, influential work which presents the economic vision of anarcho-communism.

Social norms and customs govern giving a gift in a gift culture; although there is some expectation of reciprocity, gifts are not given in an explicit exchange of goods or services for money, or some other commodity or service.

Transaction account

Deposit account held at a bank or other financial institution.

1967 letter by the Midland Bank to a customer, informing on the introduction of electronic data processing and the introduction of account numbers for current accounts
The cheque was the traditional mode of payment for a transactional account.
An Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

Cash (deposit and withdrawal of coins and banknotes at a branch)

Promissory note

A 1926 promissory note from the Imperial Bank of India, Rangoon, Burma for 20,000 rupees plus interest
A promissory note issued by the Second Bank of the United States, December 15, 1840, for the amount of $1,000

A promissory note, sometimes referred to as a note payable, is a legal instrument (more particularly, a financing instrument and a debt instrument), in which one party (the maker or issuer) promises in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the other (the payee), either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms and conditions.

Money supply

In macroeconomics, the money supply (or money stock) refers to the total volume of currency held by the public at a particular point in time.

China M2 money supply vs USA M2 money supply
M2 as a % of GDP
Individual Consumer Loans at All Commercial Banks, 1990–2008
CPI-Urban (blue) vs M2 money supply (red); recessions in gray
HKD vs USD over the year
Japanese money supply (April 1998 – April 2008)
M4 money supply of the United Kingdom 1984–2007. In thousand millions (billions) of pounds sterling.
The euro money supplies M0, M1, M2 and M3, and euro zone GDP from 1980–2021. Logarithmic scale.
MB, M1 and M2 from 1959 to 2021 (all shown in billions) Link. Note that before April 24, 2020 savings accounts were not part of M1
M0, M1 and M3. US-GDP and M3 of Eurozone for comparison. Logarithmic scale.
Money supply decreased by several percent between Black Tuesday and the Bank Holiday in March 1933 when there were massive bank runs across the United States.
M2 vs CPI
The money supply of Australia 1984–2016
New Zealand money supply 1988–2008
Components of the money supply of India in billions of Rupee for 1950–2011
U.S. M3 money supply as a proportion of gross domestic product.

Money is used as a medium of exchange, as a unit of account, and as a ready store of value.

Gold coin

Coin that is made mostly or entirely of gold.

Gold coins for sale in the Dubai Gold Souk
Persian Achaemenid Daric, circa 490 BC
Gold Solidus of Roman Emperor Valentinian II
A 20-crown gold coin from Norway. Introduced in 1875, it became part of the Scandinavian Monetary Union, which was based on a gold standard. Norwegian gold reserves included tonnes of this and other coins, backing Norway's paper money. The coin was designed for circulation: "124 Stk. 1 Kil. f. G." means that 124 pieces gave one kilogram of pure gold.
Balance for checking the weight of gold coins
Gold Guilder
Portuguese Gold Coin, sixteenth century.
United States Double Eagle.
Tokugawa coinage.
American Gold Eagle

Gold has been used as money for many reasons.