Let me count the ways:
- As an enterprise, Bartercard started in Australia which to my German / Slavic mindset promises to come from a reasonably sound money culture. Having established bank accounts in five different countries in my life, I am aware of significant differences between emotional attitudes towards money.
- As a company, Bartercard has been around since 1991 and it has visibly improved substantially, since I last visited their offices some 5-6 years ago.
- “Trade pounds” is the right name for the right purpose as the UK “barter currency”.
- Bartercard’s computer system is as comprehensive as possible and has clearly grown ‘from experience’.
- Bartercard’s ‘means of payment’ are excellent, too: a credit card, on-line facilities, vouchers and even transfers from mobile phone to mobile phone!
- Bartercard means usury-free banking, ethical accounting and has the potential of a social business in the definition of Nobel Peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus: non-loss, non-dividend (the franchise model is apparently under discussion) and for the benefit (rather than the exploitation) of its member clients.
- One of the Bartercard directors has had his own experience of being overcharged by Lloyds. So he knows how important it is to create ethical alternatives to what has been described as being ‘criminogenic’: a legal privilege ruled by self-regulation…
From our LETS experience, we could contribute the ‘passbook’ as an additional means of payment: the balance is open for every trader to see, and counter signatures demonstrate the ‘mutual credit’ principle, on which complementary currencies are based.
The passbook comes from the former DDR and is designed for individuals and senior citizens who grew up before Internet times or still like pen and paper!