The History of Money

Money has been responsible for not only mankind's greatest achievements, but its biggest downfalls. At present, it dominates modern society, to the extent it feels like to do anything that isn't breathing, you need money. Isn't it absurd we pay for water? Isn't it?!

The ways in which exchanging money has evolved is truly exciting, such as now you can buy a Greggs meal deal with contactless payment; truly we have arrived in the future. For further insight into the significance of money, read this fascinating infographic from Independent Media News on the history of money.


  • Bartering was first recorded in Egypt
  • Marco Polo brought the idea of money on paper in Europe
  • The first credit card was invented in 1946
  • Contactless payment was first implemented in 2008
  • Barclaycard trialled wearable contactless wristbands!



History of Money

Over its vast history, money has been central to developing our modern international trade networks. However, new research has revealed that history is coming full circle, with 80% of people admitting to bartering with a business rather than using money.

  • 9000 BC: Early man would barter goods they had in surplus for ones they lacked. Grain and cattle were popular goods to barter. Bartering was first recorded in Egypt.
  • 1100 BC: In China, people started using small replicas of good cast from bronze. Largely for practical reasons these developed into rounded 'coins'. Coastal regions around the Indian Ocean saw the use of cowrie shells in trade as early as 1200 BC.
  • 600 BC: The first official currency was minted by King Alyattes of Lydia in modern day Turkey. A standardised coinage allowed trade to flourish across the mediterranean world.
  • 1250 AD: The Florin, a gold coin minted in Florence, was widely accepted across Europe, encouraging international commerce.
  • 1290 AD: The travels of Marco Polo to China introduced the idea of paper money to Europeans...
  • 1661 AD: ... however, paper money didn't catch on for quite some time with the first bank notes being printed in Sweden. Paper money was great for businesses because it could be mass produced without relying on raw metals like gold and silver.
  • 1860 AD: Industry giants Western Union spearheaded e-money with electronic fund transfer via telegram.
  • 1946 AD: John Biggins invented the 'Charg-It' card the first credit card.
  • 1999 AD: European banks began offering mobile banking with primitive smart phones. The Euro began to circulate in 2002.
  • 2008 AD: Contactless payment cards were issued in the UK for the first time.
  • 2014 AD With a constant demand for ways to ensure businesses can trade easily new innovations are constantly being introduced and refined...
    1. Barclaycard trialled 'wearable' contactless wristbands.
    2. History comes full circle with Bartercard offering a platform for businesses to barter surplus goods and services worldwide.
    3. ApplePay was announced for iPhone users to enable them to pay for things with their headsets.
    4. Bitcoins entered the mainstream, the first fully implemented decentralized cryptocurrency.


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