Bristol Pound: How to use it
In shops which have signed up to the scheme you can use the £B1, £B5, £B10 or £B20 notes to buy goods or produce.
As the notes are equivalent to sterling, they are interchangeable with ordinary money. But if an item costs, for example, £2.47, then your change would be in normal coins. If you paid in sterling, you could ask for any notes in your change to be given in the new currency.
Those who open an account with the Bristol Credit Union can pay by using mobile phone or internet. You simply send a text to Bristol Pound to make a payment by using your PIN number, the business username and the amount to be paid.
A reply will be sent within five-10 seconds to you and the trader to say the transaction is complete. If there is a problem with the payment – such as not enough money in your account – you receive an error message.
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The electronic accounts will be managed by the credit union which uses secure banking software. The notes are printed on watermarked paper by specialist printers and incorporate a number of security features.
The new currency can be exchanged for sterling but there is a five per cent exchange fee.
Opening an account just requires the filling out of a form which can be done online. You can pay into your account by standing order, standard bank transfer or direct from your employer. There is no joining fee or on-going membership fee.
The scheme is not intended to make any profit as it is being run as a co-operative but if any profits are made, members will decide how they are spent.
Payments made by text will incur a fee of 2.75 per cent and payments online, one per cent.
The scheme is voluntary and the currency is not legal tender although is equivalent to sterling.