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Spectacular Ways You Can Pay Around the World

Ways to Pay

Cash. Credit cards. Debit cards. Mobile payments. We tend to take these payment types for granted.

They’re everywhere, right?

Well, you’re right. You can travel to most countries in the world with a credit card or cash and have no worries.

But some nations offer other, unexpected ways to pay. Whether by necessity, tradition, or just plain wackiness, they’ve created some highly intriguing forms of payments.

Four-ton rocks

I’ll give you four tons of rock for your house.

If someone agrees to that, you’re probably in Yap. A part of the Federated States of Micronesia, this island rests in the Pacific Ocean - more than a thousand miles east of the Philippines.

An ancient method of payment for the Yapese centers around the Rai stones. These circular pieces of limestone, imported from other nearby nations, rest across the island – but not in wallets. Since they’re larger than humans and weigh a couple of tons, the stones don’t move from owner to owner. Instead, the Yapese transfer ownership verbally. Today, the US dollar has replaced the Rai stones as the primary source of currency. However, they use Rai stones for ceremonial events, so you still have a chance!

Bottle caps

In Cameroon, a cold brew can lead to a windfall.

It all started in the mid-2000s when some breweries began printing prizes on the underside of bottle caps. With a twist, you could win anything from a free beer to money to a (put on your Price is Right voice) Brand. New. Car.

Seriously – every beer bottle was a winner.

When other breweries saw the success of these bottle caps, they jumped in too. Pretty soon, the country was awash with prize-winning caps.

The caps grew so popular that they substituted for currency in the nation. No need for money. Instead, you can fork over a handful of bottle caps to hire a taxi.

Paying with bottle caps isn’t limited to Cameroon. In the Fallout video game series set in a post-apocalyptic world, caps represent the sole form of payment. IRL one fan even saved more than 2,000 bottle caps to buy a copy of the game from the publisher.

Unofficial currency

If someone in Canada hands you a brightly colored bill featuring a mustachioed hat-wearing gent on it, do not – I repeat – do not throw it away. Although it isn’t official Canadian currency, Canadian Tire money can buy more than a set of treads for your 1970 Plymouth Duster.

The “money” (or more accurately a coupon) traces to Canadian Tire, a store with more than 1,700 locations throughout the country. The retail outlet began producing the notes in the 1950s as a sort of loyalty program, but it’s mushroomed into Canada’s unofficial second currency.

You can redeem it at Canadian Tire, no sweat. But you can also use it to purchase liquor, bid on eBay, buy a souvenir in Jamaica, or crowdsource for a new set of outdoor furniture

While the face value ranges from five cents to two dollars, the value of a Canadian Tire bill can soar beyond that. A two-dollar Canadian Tire bill from 1992 can fetch three thousand from collectors, thanks to a spacing anomaly for its serial number. Likewise, one note issued in the late 1950s for 50 cents can go for around $1,500.

The company transitioned away from paper to card in the early 2000s. Thankfully for its customers though, it still accepts the paper versions. 

Coins

If you must use actual, government sanctioned money, at least it can be fun.

In 2004, the Federal Republic of Somalia issued a set of coins in the shape of guitars. The coins, each worth one dollar, mimic electric guitars including several Gibsons and a pink-star shaped beauty.  Though not in circulation, they are legal tender meaning you can technically buy a soda with them.

The Cook Islands created a 3-D coin featuring the Easter Island Maoi. With a flick of your finger, you can insert a golden Maoi head for a pop-up experience. 

Ready to go big or go home? Go to Australia, where they have the largest legal-tender coin. Clocking in at more than 2,000 pounds of gold and featuring a kangaroo, the spectacle is worth $1 million Australian.

Off-planet travel

Got a trip to the moon scheduled? Be sure to exchange your money for QUID. The Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination, created by a team of scientists and Travelex in 2007, resists high temperatures and corrosion and lacks sharp edges – all qualities that make it super compatible for space travel.

Whether you’re en route to Canada or the cosmos, enjoy your trip – and new ways to pay.

 

August 31, 2018
Charles Yeung
Director, Digital Marketing at Bill.com
Charles has worked in various marketing roles over a multitude of industries, include fintech, ecommerce, direct mail, and retail. Leveraging his passion for numbers and all things marketing, he's now helping businesses and accountants learn how they can fundamentally improve their business by adopting cloud-based payment solutions. Charles has a BA in Business Management from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and holds an MBA from San Diego State University.