Understanding Money: Its Properties, Types and Uses (2023)

What Is Money?

Money is a value system that facilitates the exchange of goods in an economy. Using money allows buyers and sellers to pay compared to less transaction costsbarter.

The first types of money wereWere. Their physical properties made them popular as a medium of exchange. In today's markets, money can also include government-issued oneslegal tenderorfiat money, cash substitute, escrow media or electroniccryptocurrencies.

The central theses

  • Money is a value system that facilitates the exchange of goods.
  • Using money eliminates the problem of barter, where both parties must have something the other wants or needs.
  • Historically, the first forms of money were agricultural commodities such as grain or livestock.
  • Most monetary systems today are based on standardized currencies controlled by central banks.
  • Digital cryptocurrencies also share some of the specific properties of money.

how money works

money is aliquid fundsused to facilitate value transactions. It serves asmedium of exchangebetween individuals and entities. It's also astore of valueand aunit of accountwho can measure the value of other goods.

Before money was invented, most economies relied on itbarter, where individuals directly exchanged the goods they had for those they needed. This posed the problem of double demand: a transaction could only take place if both participants had something the other needed. Money eliminates this problem by acting as an intermediate good.

The first known forms of money were agricultural commodities such as grain or cattle. These goods were in high demand and traders knew they could use or trade these goods again in the future. Cocoa beans, cowrie shells and agricultural tools also served as early forms of money.

As economies became more complex, money became standardizedcurrencies. This reduced transaction costs by making value easier to measure and compare. Representations of money have also become increasingly abstract, from precious metals and minted coins to paper notes and, in modern times, electronic records.

During World War II, cigarettes became a de facto currency for soldiers in POW camps. The use of cigarettes as a means of payment made tobacco very popular, even among soldiers who did not smoke.

(Video) Types of Money

What are the properties of money?

To be most useful, money should be fungible, durable, portable, recognizable, and stable. These properties reduce thetransaction feethe use of money by making it easy to exchange.

Money should be fungible

The word fungible refers to a quality that allows an item to be exchanged, substituted, or returned for another item assuming equivalent value. Monetary units should therefore be interchangeable.

For example, metal coins should have a standard weight and purity. Commodity money should be of relatively uniform quality. Attempting to use an unfungible good as money introduces transaction costs, where each unit of the good is valued individually before an exchange can take place.

Money should last

Money should be durable enough to retain its usefulness for many future exchanges. A perishable commodity or a commodity that rapidly deteriorates due to various exchanges is less useful for future transactions. Attempting to use an impermanent good as money contradicts the essential future-oriented use and value of money.

Money should be portable

Money should be easy to carry and share so that a meaningful amount can be carried or transported on the body. For example, attempting to use a good that is difficult or inconvenient to carry as money might require physical transport, which results in transaction costs.

Money should be recognizable

The authenticity and quantity of the goods should be easily recognizable for the users so that they can easily agree to the terms of an exchange. Using an unrecognizable commodity as money may result in transaction costs associated with authenticating the commodity and agreeing on the amount required for an exchange.

The money supply should be stable

The supply of the item used as money should be relatively constant over time to avoid fluctuations in value. Using an unstable good as money incurs transaction costs due to the risk that its value might rise or fall due to scarcity or abundance before the next transaction.

How is money used?

Money primarily serves as what good people use to exchange valuables. However, it also has secondary functions arising from its use as a medium of exchange.

money as a unit of account

By using money as a medium of exchange for buying and selling and as an indicator of value for all kinds of goods and services, money can be used as a unit of account.

This means money can track changes in the value of items over time and across transactions. People can use it to compare the values ​​of different combinations or amounts of different goods and services.

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Money as a unit of account makes it possible to balance profits and losses, to balance a budget and to evaluate the total assets of a company.

Money as a store of value

The usefulness of money as a medium of exchange in transactions is inherently future-oriented. As such, it provides a means of storing a monetary value for future use without that value deteriorating.

So when people exchange items for money, that money retains a certain value that can be used in other transactions. This ability to act as a store of value makes it easier to save for the future and conduct long-distance transactions.

Money as the default of deferred payment

To the extent that money is accepted as a medium of exchange and serves as a useful store of value, it can be used over varying periods of time to transfer value in the form of credit and debt.

A person can borrow an amount of money from someone else for an agreed period of time and repay another agreed amount of money at a later date.

What are the different types of money

market money

Money can arise from the spontaneous ordering of markets. When traders trade various commodities, some commodities prove more convenient than others because they have the best combination of the five properties of money listed above.

Over time, these commodities may become more desirable as items of exchange than for practical use. At some point, people may come to desire a commodity only for future trade.

Precious metals such as gold and silver have often been used as market currencies in the past. They have been held in high esteem in many different cultures and societies. Today, people in cashless economies often turn to cigarettes, instant noodles, or other durable goods as market-driven money substitutes.

Currency issued by the government

When a certain type of money becomes widely accepted in an economy, government agencies can begin to regulate it as a currency. You can issue standardized coins or bills to further reduce transaction costs.

A government may also recognize some money as moneylegal tender, which means that courts and government agencies must accept this form of money as a form of last resort.

By spending money, the government can benefitdomination, the difference between a currency's face value and its cost of manufacture.

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For example, if the cost of printing a $100 bill is only $10, the government makes a profit of $90 for each bill printed. However, governments that rely too heavily on seigniorage may do so inadvertentlyhumiliatetheir currency.

$20.6 trillion

Total value of M1 money supply in the United States in May 2022.

fiat currency

Many countries issue fiat currency, which is currency that is not a type of commodity. Instead, fiat money is backed by the economic strength of the issuing government. It derives its value from supply and demand and the stability of government.

Fiat money enables the issuing government to conduct economic policyincrease or decreasethe amount of money. In the US it isfederal reserveand thefinancial departmentMonitoring different types of money supply for the purpose of regulating and mitigating monetary problems.

Since fiat money is not a physical commodity, it is the responsibility of the issuing government to ensure that it satisfies the five properties of money described above.

DieIMF(IMF) andWorld Bankserve as global watchdogs for the exchange of international currencies.Governments may enact or establish capital controlsherringto stabilize their currency in the international market.

Substitute money and escrow media

To alleviate the stress of carrying large amounts of money, merchants and traders sometimes exchange monetary substitutes, such as written promissory notes, that can be cashed later. These statements can themselves take on some of the properties of money, especially when traders use them in place of actual currency.

For example, old banks issued bills of exchange to their depositors stating the amount deposited and the terms of redemption. Instead of withdrawing money from the bank to make payments, depositors would simply swap their bills, allowing the recipient to cash or swap them at will.

This use of money substitutes can increase the portability and durability of money, as well as reduce storage costs. However, money replacement products are associated with risks. Banks can print more bills than they have money to cash, a practice known asPartial reserve banking. When too many people try to withdraw money at the same time, the bank can sufferbank run.

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Escrow media are types of cash substitutes that are circulated and are not fully backed by the base money held to back cash substitutes.Contemporary examples of fiduciary media include paper checks, tokens, and electronic credit.

cryptocurrencies as money

In recent years, digital currencies that do not exist in physical form, such asBitcoin, got introduced. Unlike electronic bank records or payment systems, these virtual currencies are not issued by any government or other central body. Cryptocurrencies have some properties of money and are sometimes used in online transactions.

Although cryptocurrencies are rarely used in day-to-day transactions, they have gained some utility as a speculative investment or store of value. Some jurisdictions have recognized cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, including theGovernment of El Salvador.

What are the 4 types of money?

Money can be something that market participants determine to be valuable and exchangeable. Money can be any currency (notes and coins) issued by a government. A third type of money is fiat currency, which is fully backed by the economic power and good faith of the issuing government. The fourth type of money is money substitutes, meaning anything that can be exchanged for money at any time. For example, a check drawn on a checking account at a bank is a substitute for money.

What is the difference between hard and soft money?

Hard money is money based on a valuable commodity such as gold or silver. Because the supply of these metals is limited, these currencies are less prone to inflation than soft money like printed bills. With no guarantee that no additional bills will be printed, soft money may be considered risky by some.

Is cryptocurrency money?

Cryptocurrency has many properties of money and is sometimes used as a medium of exchange for transactions. Many governments consider cryptocurrencies to be taxable assets, but few legally treat them like foreign currency. Some jurisdictions, notably El Salvador, have embraced cryptocurrency.

The final result

Money is an object of value that enables people and institutions to participate in transactions that result in an exchange of goods or services.

Money must be interchangeable, convenient to carry, recognized by all as legitimate, physically durable, and stable in value.

(Video) Types of Money

Money comes in a variety of forms, including precious metals, currency, and money substitutes. Although cryptocurrencies have some properties of money, they currently function without a central authority and are not backed by governments. While cryptocurrencies (like bitcoin) are considered property by the IRS for tax purposes, they are not considered legal tender by the US government.


What are the 4 properties of money? ›

2. Define the four money characteristics - portable, divisible, durable and acceptable.

What are the 7 properties of money? ›

The characteristics of money are durability, portability, divisibility, uniformity, limited supply, and acceptability.

What are the types of money answer? ›

The 4 different types of money as classified by the economists are commercial money, fiduciary money, fiat money, commodity money.

What are the 3 properties of money? ›

Store of Value

In other words, money must meet be: Divisible: Can be divided into smaller units of value. Fungible: One unit is viewed as interchangeable with another. Portable: Individuals can carry money with them and transfer it to others.

What are 5 uses of money? ›

The basic truth is that we can do five things with our money: (1) save it; (2) spend it; (3) give it away; (4) pay taxes; and (5) pay down debt.

What are the 3 types of money and explain each? ›

Economists differentiate among three different types of money: commodity money, fiat money, and bank money. Commodity money is a good whose value serves as the value of money. Gold coins are an example of commodity money.

What are 10 types of money? ›

The various types of money are:
  • Commodity Money.
  • Fiat Money.
  • Fiduciary Money.
  • Commercial Bank Money.
  • Metallic Money.
  • Paper Money.
  • Reserve Money.
Jul 16, 2021

What are the 8 characteristics of money? ›

The following are the key characteristics of money: 1. Durability 2. Portability 3. Divisibility 4. Uniformity and Fungibility 5. Limited supply 6. Acceptability
  • Durability.
  • Portability.
  • Divisibility.
  • Uniformity and Fungibility.
  • Limited supply.
  • Acceptability.

What is money simple answer? ›

What is money? Money is a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange. It is the medium in which prices and values are expressed. It circulates from person to person and country to country, facilitating trade, and it is the principal measure of wealth.

What is the best explanation of money? ›

Money is anything that serves as a medium of exchange. A medium of exchange is anything that is widely accepted as a means of payment.

What are the different types of money explain the functions? ›

Money can be in various forms, such as notes, coins, credit and debit cards, and bank checks. Traditionally, economists considered four main functions of money, which are a medium of exchange, a measure of value, a standard of deferred payment, and a store of value.

What is money made of? ›

Federal Reserve notes are a blend of 25 percent linen and 75 percent cotton. Currency paper has tiny red and blue synthetic fibers of various lengths evenly distributed throughout the paper. It would take 4,000 double folds, forwards and backwards, to tear a banknote.

What type of property is money? ›

Personal property, also referred to as movable property, is anything other than land that can be the subject of ownership, including stocks, money, notes, Patents, and copyrights, as well as intangible property.

What two properties are necessary for money? ›

The Properties and Functions of Money
  • The item serves as a medium of exchange. In order for an item to be considered money, it must be widely accepted as payment for goods and services. ...
  • The item serves as a unit of account. ...
  • The item serves as a store of value.
Feb 5, 2019

What is the main importance of money? ›

Money is a medium of exchange; it allows people and businesses to obtain what they need to live and thrive. Bartering was one way that people exchanged goods for other goods before money was created. Like gold and other precious metals, money has worth because for most people it represents something valuable.

What are the 6 characteristics of money? ›

What are the six characteristics of money? durability, portability, divisibility, uniformity, limited supply, and acceptability. Objects used as money must withstand the physical wear and tear that comes with being used over and over again.

What is money mostly used for? ›

The primary functions which distinguish money are as a medium of exchange, a unit of account, a store of value and sometimes, a standard of deferred payment.

What are the two measures of money? ›

Money is measured with several definitions: M1 includes currency and money in checking accounts (demand deposits). Traveler's checks are also a component of M1, but are declining in use. M2 includes all of M1, plus savings deposits, time deposits like certificates of deposit, and money market funds.

What are the 3 stages of money? ›

The term given to covering up the illegal origin of the money from authorities and reinvesting it in legal purposes is referred to as money laundering. There are three money laundering stages: Placement, Layering, and Integration.

What are the 5 forms of money? ›

5 Important Forms of Money – Discussed!
  • Money of Account: ...
  • Limited and Unlimited Legal Tender: ...
  • Standard Money: ...
  • Token Money: ...
  • Bank Money:

How is money created? ›

The Fed creates money by purchasing securities on the open market and adding the corresponding funds to the bank reserves of commercial banks. The Fed uses the federal funds rate to affect other interest rates and adjust the money supply.

What is money and explain 4 four function of money? ›

(i) Money serves as a medium of exchange. (ii) Money serves as a store of value. (iii) Money is a standard of deferred payments. (iv) Money serves as a unit of account. Money as a store of value: People save a part of their earnings for use in future.

What are the 4 Prices of money? ›

Description. The fourth price of money is the price level — the price of money in terms of commodities or goods. We call it the fourth price because Perry Mehrling's Money View tends to emphasize three other prices of money: par, interest rates, and exchange rates.

What is Property in money? ›

poverty, the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions. Poverty is said to exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. In this context, the identification of poor people first requires a determination of what constitutes basic needs.

What are the main functions of money? ›

Money is often defined in terms of the three functions or services that it provides. Money serves as a medium of exchange, as a store of value, and as a unit of account. Medium of exchange. Money's most important function is as a medium of exchange to facilitate transactions.

What is the most important function of money? ›

The most important function of money is its use as a way of buying things, in other words, as a medium of exchange.

What gives money value? ›

Summary. Currency value is determined by aggregate supply and demand. Supply and demand are influenced by a number of factors, including interest rates, inflation, capital flow, and money supply. The most common method to value currency is through exchange rates.

What sets the price of a dollar? ›

The methodology of determining dollar value trades can be divided into three groups as follows: Supply and demand factors. Sentiment and market psychology. Technical factors.

What is the price of money called? ›

monetary value Add to list Share.

Why is it called a money? ›

Etymology. The word money derives from the Latin word moneta with the meaning "coin" via French monnaie. The Latin word is believed to originate from a temple of Juno, on Capitoline, one of Rome's seven hills. In the ancient world, Juno was often associated with money.

What are the 5 types of property? ›

There are five main categories of real estate which include residential, commercial, industrial, raw land, and special use.

What is property and its types? ›

Property is basically of two categories : Corporeal Property and Incorporeal Property. Corporeal Property is visible and tangible, whereas incorporeal Property is not. Moreover, corporeal Property is the right of ownership in material things, whereas incorporeal Property is an incorporeal right in rem.

How is money made in property? ›

Buying a property, to sell it, after making improvements and changes, both small and large, is a common way of making money in the industry.


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