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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February 2005, 15:18 GMT
Better bartering
The green Bartercard

Before money was invented, people exchanged goods by bartering. Now, the practice is making a comeback.

Student Guide

Businesses have to buy all sorts of things to create the goods and services they provide.

More and more are turning to Bartercard.

By joining the network, you pay in 'Trade Pounds' instead of regular pounds.

The business that you pay with Trade Pounds can then use them to buy from other members of Bartercard.

When people buy from you - you build up a stock of Trade Pounds that you can use to buy from other card holders.

Just think...

Make a list of as many benefits you can think of from doing business like this.

Bartercard holds a list of all its members so when a member-business wants to buy a product or service, it goes to the list and sees if there's a company that fits the bill.

Members gain on both sides of the equation.

They find suppliers and they find new customers.

Just think...

What is the attraction of Bartercard for businesses?


Imagine a company called 360 Spin - a web design company specialising in virtual tours.

When the owners of 360 Spin need to buy an answering service they spend Trade Pounds and the company they get the service from ends up owing some virtual tours.

When a business wants a virtual tour, it comes to 360 Spin and the debt from the answering service is paid off.

That's barter.

Products are traded for each other rather than paying for them directly.

It's usually quite hard to do.

If you sell cars and have toothache, you need to find a dentist who wants a car for the same value as your fillings!

A tall order - especially when you are in pain.

Bartercard makes setting up the deal much easier because all 'payments' go into the pot and are stored up to spend or repay.

Just think...

Think of all the things you have to buy in a week. How would you survive if you had to barter?

What problems would your teachers face if they had to rely on barter?

Why bother?

Paying in Trade Pounds saves cash. The transaction doesn't appear on the bank statements. Instead you end up with a positive or negative account with Bartercard. It has to be paid off but with your products - not cash.

Cash flow problems are a serious issue for businesses and can result in insolvency. A business which can't pay its bills inevitably ends up in trouble.

You pay the cost price without the mark up. Instead of paying the list price, the products you provide for others and those they provide for you come at the cost of making them.

More customers come to you. Members of Bartercard will want to use other members because of the advantages - and they may have a debt within the system to pay off.

Just think...

Write two paragraphs:

  • One explaining the pros and cons of barter.
  • One explaining how Bartercard helps to solve the problems of relying on barter.

    What sort of businesses would find it difficult to benefit from the Bartercard system?

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