Who Uses the Barter System Today?

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Bartering is a popular form of trade for individuals, families and businesses seeking to save money. Some small- and medium-sized businesses join bartering networks to exchange various goods and services. Barter networks help businesses grow by brokering deals to exchange items such as copiers, phone systems, work shirts, carpet cleaning and even real estate.

Through bartering, a retail business can get rid of excess inventory. Service providers also use bartering to fill an excess capacity of hours. For instance, a dentist who has an extra five hours a week to fill can barter five hours of dental work in exchange for useful goods or services. Some bartering networks provide members with a line of credit, which is then used similarly to a bank loan. For example, a restaurant can barter for construction services to build additional space, instead of seeking a traditional bank loan to fund the project.

Another group that finds bartering helpful is low-income families. Some low-income families form private bartering networks for purposes of exchanging food, car rides and other essential items. Bartering groups such as the Black Women's Blueprint sustain families through hard economic times. Individuals who wish to get rid of unused items can exchange them for goods and services at websites such as Swap.com.