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Bristol to get own currency; pay by cash, online or mobile

06 February 2012  |  10241 views  |  0 cash

The UK city of Bristol is set to introduce its own currency, with locals able to pay in 'Bristol Pound' notes, online or through their mobile phones.

The new currency is a not-for-profit set up by independent traders through the Bristol Pound Community Interest Company (CIC) and Bristol Credit Union, designed to help boost local business and strengthen the city's economy.

The project has been inspired by the Brixton Pound, which launched in 2009 and introduced an e-currency and pay-by-text option last year, but is the first city-wide effort of its kind.

Locals will be able to exchange sterling for £1, £5, £10 and £20 Bristol Pound notes at various points across the city and then use them at participating stores. A Bristol pond will be worth exactly the same as £1 sterling.

A competition is currently underway, with Bristolians encouraged to submit their designs for the new notes to the Web site ahead of the May launch.

In addition, people can open FSA-backed Bristol Pound accounts with the city credit union and then make payments online and through their mobile phones, texting a PIN, the username of the business being paid and the amount to a dedicated number.

More than 100 local firms have already signed up to the currency, which has also gained the backing of Bristol City Council, meaning that business members that pay business rates will be able to pay in the money. Bristol Pound also offers a payroll scheme enabling business members to pay a small proportion of wages in the currency to willing employees.

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