Having a local currency encourages people to think about where they are spending their money, and who they are supporting when they spend it. Someone with BNotes in their wallet or purse will be more likely to choose to take their BNotes (and dollars) to small, independent shops and other local places accepting them. They allow people to make transactions without relying solely on dollars, and in doing so, they help a community’s money stay in the community.
If you have a small, independent business and are currently accepting and circulating BNotes or thinking about it, here are a few things you should know.
BNotes can grow your business
As people exchange dollars for BNotes, they will be looking to our Directory for places to spend them – all of the merchants and service providers listed will get publicity in both the print and online versions of the Directory.
It’s your choice
It’s your money, and you can decide how many BNotes to accept, for example up to BN20 per purchase or 20% of any item, in accordance with the amount you feel you can easily circulate. We encourage most businesses to simply accept them at first, since you are free to limit them at any time.
BNotes are easy to handle
The 2011 BNotes were only printed in two denominations: 1-BNote bills and 5-BNote bills, and they are accepted equivalent to dollars. Keep the 1-BNote bills with your 1-dollar bills, and the 5-BNote bills with your 5′s. They can be part of your cash float that you bring forward each day, so you can continue to use and circulate them. For revenue and tax purposes, they are equivalent to dollars.
BNotes are secure
The paper with which BNotes are printed is not readily available, and can easily be distinguished from standard stock by its feel. In addition, the foil imprinting used for the denomination numbers is impressed into the paper during the printing process, resulting in a distinct, recessed texture that may also be used by the visually-impaired to tell differently-valued BNotes apart. Even when scratched with a fingernail, this foiling is not easily affected, and the foil serial numbering provides an extra measure of protection.
There are no merchant fees to accept BNotes
People acquiring BNotes at one of our cambios get a 10% discount when exchanging dollars, so 20 dollars converts to 22 BNotes. After that, they trade just like dollars, and the intention is to keep them circulating as long as possible (ideally, indefinitely) so that there is little need for them to be exchanged back. At first, they will make up only a few percent of revenue for each merchant, maybe 2-4% at most, and there are a number of things merchants can do to use and re-circulate them:
- Use them to pay for business supplies or stock, when buying from other local businesses that accept BNotes, or for things/services your business would buy anyway – printing, coffee, repairs…
- Give employee incentives or bonuses in BNotes, or pay employees partially in BNotes if they usually spend money locally and elect to accept them.
- Use them for your own purchases,
- Give BNotes back as change to allow them to continue circulating and spread their use (we offer free counter tents that say “Ask for your change in BNotes!”, and if there are still some left that you would need dollars for -
- Exchange back for US Dollars – 11 BNotes for 10 dollars
The 10% fee on the back end, when exchanging for dollars, balances the 10% discount on the front end. What is important to keep in mind is that if BNotes make up say 4% of your revenue, and you are able to use and recirculate only half of them, it would be 2% of your revenue that you are exchanging, and the fee would only be 10% of that, or 0.2% of revenue. Compared with having a 10% off sale to generate traffic and business, 0.2% is a much better potential cost for the same level (or more) of publicity. And you may find that you can circulate all of the BNotes you take in. In that case, it would come in equivalent to a dollar, go out equivalent to a dollar – there’s only a positive benefit. In D.C.’s system, no Potomac Dollars have been exchanged for federal dollars in two years, and we’ve had only limited redemption so far here in Baltimore. Another good dynamic is that customers using BNotes will be paying in cash, which means you won’t be paying the 3-4% MC/VISA fees.
What if a customer wants 22 BNotes for $20?
Customers may want to exchange dollars for BNotes with you at the 10% discount rate of $10 for BN11 (or any multiple thereof). If this happens, please inform them that the cambios are specifically set up for this purpose. You are free to exchange the BNotes in your register 1-for-1 with dollars, but you are under no obligation to give customers the 10% exchange discount yourselves. Our current cambio locations are listed on the cambios page on our website.
How do I give change?
Since it is illegal to mint coins in the U.S., you will still need to give small change in U.S. coins. However, you are free to give give out either dollars or BNotes if a customer wants or will accept and use them. If you get a 5-BNote bill but have no 1-BNote bills on hand you can give change in dollars for that transaction.
How do I start accepting BNotes?
Just drop us a line at our email address or through the Contact Page on this site. We’ll get you all the materials you need, including window signs and counter tents for storefront businesses, and we’ll set you up with a profile in our online directory so people can start bringing you their business!
YOU can help the network grow stronger!
The larger our base of merchants and service providers, the more businesses will be able to benefit from being part of the network, so it will also be to your advantage to help bring shops and suppliers you normally do business with on board. To let us know you will accept BNotes, or to get more information, just use the form below:
We’re always looking for feedback from business owners, on the types of goods and services you already purchase locally. Building out our local supply chains is a big part of this effort. If you have any thoughts, please feel free to send them over!