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10 Of The Strangest Ways People Have Actually Paid For Things

"Do you take parmesan?" Payment methods certainly have come a long way. Now you can even pay with a tap of your phone thanks to Visa payWave for Mobile.

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2. Rai Stones

Thinkstock / Yusuke Kawasaki (CC BY 2.0) / Via Flickr: u-suke

If you've ever felt annoyed about having too many coins to carry in your wallet, just be thankful they don't weigh 4,000kgs. These giant limestone discs known as "rai stones" were a form of currency on the Micronesian island of Yap.

3. Katanga Crosses

Thinkstock / Plutho (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Via

These copper crosses originated in the provence of – you guessed it – Katanga, in the Democratic Republic of Congo all the way back in the13th century and were used as a payment method for centuries in stacks of Central African societies.

5. Tea


Tea bricks (literally bricks made of tea) were used as currency in China from the 9th to 20th century. At the time, they were considered a practical way to pay, since they were relatively compact and easy to preserve.

7. Knife Money

Thinkstock / 幽灵巴尼 (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Via

Used during the Zhou dynasty, knife money is China's oldest known form of hard currency. The knives were usually about seven inches long and carved with inscriptions stating the knife's origin and worth.

8. Squirrel Skins

Thinkstock / Mickey Bohnacker (Public Domain) / Via

In some European counties including Finland and Russia back in 5th century AD, squirrel pelts were used by traders to pay for tools, weapons, and other goods. *cue throwing of red paint*

10. Shells


Before it was the go-to honeymoon destination, the Maldives was the primary place to source cowry shells, an ancient form of currency used across Asia and Africa. They remained a legit payment method in Africa well into the 20th century.

And now, you can pay with your phone thanks to Visa payWave for Mobile. Just download the app, scan your Visa card, then tap your phone to pay!

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