Bartercard is a business marketplace with 55,000 cardholders who barter-trade over $40m every month with 75 offices around the world and over 600 staff serving our members.
Since the launch of Bartercard in 1991, it has revolutionized the way businesses manage cash flow. Bartercard’s world-leading Trade Exchange system now enables over 55,000 cardholders in nine countries to benefit from the cashless economy of barter. Bartercard connects businesses in a new marketplace where members develop new connections with each other.
READY TO PUT BARTERCARD TO WORK? GIVE US A CALL
How Bartercard Provides Growth Opportunities For Over 35,000 Businesses
The key to growth: Better sales & lower expenses
Bartercard members are able to improve profits and reduce expenses in their business just through the barter-trade of excess goods or filling idle capacity. We help you to turn wastage and downtime into a viable asset.
Attract new customers
Open your business up to a whole new market of customers without reducing prices or compromising your brand.
Reduce cash expenses
We all love saving! Bartercard lets you exchange goods and services without spending cash – allowing you to conserve your valuable cash flow.
Create strategic partnerships
Whether your business is in need of a shakeup, or you want to take your brand to the next level, we have 24,000 members world-wide ready to network and do business.
Boost your lifestyle
Take your pick from 1,000+ accommodation options, pay for new clothing, entertainment, massages, furnishings, home renovations or a night out without opening your wallet.
Expand your product range
Elevate your business and give your brand a dynamic edge when you expand your product range on Bartercard
Take control of your marketing
You might be the best business on the block, but without marketing, no one will ever know about it! Bartercard offers a full range of marketing support to give your brand all the exposure it needs
As the global economy wildly fluctuates and suddenly out-of-work people struggle to pay the bills, can old-fashioned bartering make a comeback?
It sounds like a joke at first: trading a couple rolls of toilet paper for a gallon of milk. But for the millions of Americans who are unexpectedly out of work and desperately waiting to receive unemployment benefits or government assistance, getting food for themselves and their family is no laughing matter.
Restaurants, retail, travel, and the transportation industry are all precariously hanging in the balance as we do our best to obey stay-at-home orders nationwide. Without a steady paycheck, many people have turned to online forums, like Facebook or Nextdoor, to see if their friends or neighbors are up for a swap.
Scrolling through a Facebook group for college students in New Orleans, which is mostly dedicated to housing and apartment sublets, I saw multiple people posting or requesting trades. One woman had a famous musician’s drumstick, but was open to trading it for plants or a piece of artwork. And while scanning through Austin’s Craigslist, I saw one man asking to trade his one-gallon of antibacterial hand soap for a “large package” of toilet paper.
It’s not just hyper-local transactions, either. Bloomberg reports that the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), the industry leader and advocate for the barter exchange, has had 20 percent to 35 percent increase in member sign-ups this March.
“These are challenging times for us,” Ron Whitney, president and CEO of IRTA, said. “But it also represents an opportunity for us.” IRTA estimates about $12 billion to $14 billion barter trades happen every year, a number that is sure to increase in 2020. Besides IRTA.
Roger Becker, the owner of a home remodeling company, recently signed up for BizX. He told Bloomberg, “A couple of months ago, I never would have thought of it. It’s going to be a game changer, because we are all starting to get pretty fearful about people tightening up their pocketbooks.” Though you may not be dealing with the Federal Reserve, there is still plenty of oversight with these exchanges. Currently, all barter sales are taxable in the United States.
On the local front, a few of my friends are also having success with bartering. One friend, Maggie, has recently lost her job at a restaurant in town, due to the coronavirus shuttering dine-in places. The service industry was hit especially hard in New Orleans, as its tourist and hospitality industry is considered the city’s largest employer.
Her landlord, a long-time transplant who lives and works nearby, has offered to lower her monthly rate by 30 percent in exchange for working a couple days at his record-printing business. “I appreciate that my landlord was willing to let us work in exchange for part of the rent — because I know a lot of other landlords are [expletive] and not doing that. He pays a mortgage,” she explained. “In the coming months, I hope we can have a moratorium on payments so that he can get relief and continue to help us out.”
In Marietta, Georgia, Clifton Lawley is putting his part-time foraging hobby to good use. He’s been posting pictures of his freshly harvested morels (pictured above) on Instagram, asking for trade, and has in turn received duck eggs from a librarian friend and spring vegetables from a nearby farm. In return for delivering the highly-coveted mushrooms to a high-end restaurant in Atlanta, he and his lady friend were treated to a delicious multi-course meal. “I always prefer a barter to a buy,” Lawley adds. “Any opportunity to opt out of capitalism.”
Of course, it’s not just food that’s being traded these days. Louisiana-based artist Emma Fick has also been hit hard by the coronavirus closures. Spring is normally her high season, with various music and art festivals sprinkled all over the state. With so many potential business opportunities postponed, she’s traded some of her artwork for books, jewelry or personal accessories. “I’ve always been a frugal person,” Fick notes. “So bartering or trade comes naturally to me.” Fick hasn’t bartered for food yet, but says she is grateful to have her brother and his backyard chickens and vegetable garden nearby.
With our economy in a precarious state and so many people’s health at risk, bartering seems like a sensible and humane way to deal with the current lack of cash in our system. It’s a great excuse to meet and bond with fellow neighbors (albeit with appropriate safety and social distancing measures). And hopefully, in the recent future, we’ll all be a little bit closer to our community.
Since the beginning of March, unattended folding tables have begun popping up at intersections and the end of people’s driveways, offering everyday goods like rice, a jar of jam or bread. Take what you need and leave what you can, the signs say. Barter, the trade system prevalent in the Middle Ages, is back in the time of coronavirus pandemic, with a modern twist.
Social networks Facebook and Nextdoor are flooded with posts from neighbors and friends seeking to swap eggs for toilet paper. Small and midsized businesses, whose cash trade has dried up from the economic fallout of shelter-in-place orders, are turning to online barter exchanges.
“When cash is extra tight, it behooves us to buy as much as possible on trade,” said David Yusen, director of business development for Seattle-based Heavy Restaurant Group, which recently bought 56 cases of Malbec wine for $15,000 worth of barter credits. The company’s 10 restaurants have closed, but some locations will start offering pick-up and delivery this week. “It saves us money, it helps cash flow.”
In normal times, the roughly 200 barter exchanges in the U.S. let roofers fix leaks and get paid in restaurant takeouts or accounting services. With tens of millions of Americans under lockdowns, those cash-free trade systems are seeing an influx in participants.
The International Reciprocal Trade Association represents 100 barter exchanges, each catering to thousands of businesses. Some exchanges reported a 20% to 35% increase in member signups in March, said Ron Whitney, president and chief executive officer of the group, known as IRTA.
“These are challenging times for us, but it also represents an opportunity for us,” Whitney said. An estimated $12 billion to $14 billion barter trades take place a year, according to IRTA.
Roger Becker owns home building and remodeling companies in Puyallup, Washington, the state that saw the first outbreak of the epidemic in the U.S. He expects business to drop by at least 30% this year, and signed up to the barter exchange BizX in February.
“A couple of months ago, I never would have thought of it,” Becker said. “It’s going be a game changer, because we are all starting to get pretty fearful about people tightening up their pocketbooks.”
Here’s how it works: Becker recently poured in $260,000 to remodel a 4,000-square-foot home in Leavenworth that was listed for $1.2 million. He is willing to accept a portion of the home’s price in so-called BizX dollars from the barter exchange, and will use these credits to buy services of other exchange members — plumbers, electricians or nurseries — so he can build and remodel other homes.
BizX, based in Bellevue, Washington, said its website traffic is up 30% just in the last few days. At International Monetary Systems in the Milwaukee area, traffic has doubled in the last two weeks compared with a typical full month. In Pittsburgh, exchange Green Apple Barter has seen a 20% rise in its membership in March, said President Justin Krane.
“A supply yard who has inventory sitting on the lot,” Krane said. “They asked, ‘Could you move inventory?’ A hotel property just got involved — their occupancy rate is really getting hurt right now. Joining a network is going to give them another way to fill hotel rooms.”
Bartering between consumers is ramping up as well after people cleared grocery-store shelves and hoarded supplies at home. For now, it’s still being treated as a joke. A Twitter poll asked how many cans of beer a single roll of paper is worth (two or three cans was the most popular answer).
Laughter aside, barter of household items and food could more than double this year in the U.S., from $4 million to over $10 million, according to Richard Crone, CEO of payments expert Crone Consulting LLC.
Bartering has become especially popular with people who are most at risk to have severe forms of the highly contagious coronavirus and want to avoid stores.
Chell Garvin of Springfield, Missouri, 50, saw a post from a friend on Facebook who said she scored an 18-roll pack of toilet paper. Garvin contacted her, and exchanged an 18-count carton of eggs for two double rolls. She “cooks a lot, and she said she can’t find eggs anywhere,” Garvin said.
Allie Walker-Lavette, a 55-year-old living in Jacksonville, Florida, recently got a delivery of eggs — an item her daughter had been looking for in vain. Walker-Lavette swapped a carton for an order of margaritas-to-go from a local restaurant.
If supply-chain shortages continue, “I do have a couple neighbors close by, I know I can come to them and say, ‘What do you have in your fridge?’” she said.
Grocery stores have said that shortages of supplies like toilet paper are only temporary. Still, Crone expects that the shortages could potentially give rise to new swapping consumer apps and marketplaces.
“There’s demand for products that aren’t on store shelves but are in people’s pantry or garage or second freezer,” Crone said. “What Uber did to enable a bunch of idle capacity with cars, this does this for the packaged goods supply chain. It’s a whole new supply chain.”
The use of barter and trade for goods and services in a COVID conomy
Ever wonder how business was conducted before today’s currency?
Goods and services typically were paid for through an exchange of, well, goods and services provided by a neighboring business or individual. This, of course, is known as trade and barter, something BizX cofounder and CEO Bob Bagga understands better than most.
With offices in the U.S. and beyond, BizX boasts more than 6,700 participating businesses — like Habitat for Humanity, the Seattle Sounders FC, the San Francisco 49ers, the American Red Cross, iHeartRADIO, Holiday Inn Express, and more — within its trade and barter network.
“One-third of the world’s business is noncash,” Bagga said, explaining his Bellevue-based company is a platform that facilitates business owners’ ability to operate without cash.
This one-third of noncash business, however, is in a normal economy. Conditions in what Bagga called “the COVID economy” are different.
“In today’s economy, right now, the challenge we are running into is people don’t have cash and cash has dried up really quickly,” he said. “But they have a lot of stuff, a lot of capacity, so the idea is how do you turn what you have into what you need? That’s where our company can come in to help.”
Q: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, what changes have you seen in regards to how businesses are using trade?
A: There are certain businesses that are shut down, they’re not operational and we might not be able to help them with anything right now. However, some of these businesses that are shut down, they are actually using BizX and trade to remodel their restaurant or get a paint job. … A lot of restaurants are doing delivery only, so they’re having to buy signs, and print, and update their website to get advertising out there. And then there are just basic consumer things that people are needing to get done, anywhere from landscape projects to deep cleaning and detailing.
Q: How can businesses become involved in trade and barter?
A: I think it’s about identifying what you have to offer, where you have excess, but also identify what you need. It’s that simple. Everyone is cutting right now, so (maybe) you had to cut your advertising, but if you could do what you need to do without cash, you don’t have to make that cut. And reach out to the community around you and see how you can help each other.
Q: In what ways have you been innovating your business to help in the current economy?
A: We’re offering to our members a zero percent interest line of credit so that restaurants that need something today while they’re shut down, they can get that on BizX on trade and pay it back with tacos in three months. They can not only barter or trade, but they can get what they need now and pay it back later through barter.
Q: What advice do you have for business owners out there that are having a tough time right now?
A: Business will come back, it has always come back, but it’s going to take some time. This is a great opportunity to innovate, but there’s also a lot of fear right now. Take care of yourself as a business owner, give yourself that space to be able to go, innovate, and think— even if it’s 30 minutes or 15 minutes. It is super-important that if you have to lead your organization that you get in the right headspace … you’ll be surprised at what you can do.
Some Bartercard Success Stories
Over 35,000 businesses find success through Bartercard.
View or download our B.Smart to read how businesses are using Bartercard to drive success.
“Our most impressive trade investment would be trading for three condos in Pattaya, and the rent we receive is yet another way to bring in more cash. And that’s just one example of how Bartercard has become an important way to save cash and create income in business and our personal lives”
“Bartercard is an important part of our annual marketing plan for 2017. Our BDM has excellent advice on marketing services that will help launch new products through advertising spots on TV, LED billboards, and creating an online storefront to increase revenue. The feedback is very good, with the expansion expected to increase development. We also use Bartercard to trade products that add value to our existing offerings. ”
Ms. Rungtiva Ruangwattanapaisarn
“I use Bartercard for many parts of my business, including advertising, printing, brochures, branding and brand recognition items like uniforms. Bartercard helps save up to 30-40% of the marketing budget, allowing us to quickly and smoothly expand our marketing scope.”
“Bartercard helps with our brand recognition in the marketplace, helping us clear more stock, and we can trade in the Bartercard market at a price I’m pleased with”
“Bartercard has a large customer base, helping us has a more varied customer pool, as well as build our overall customer base. My favorite thing about Bartercard is the rapid service and BDM that coordinates well with us.”