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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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1. Salt

Back in ancient Roman days, soldiers were partially paid in salt. FUN FACT: This was known as "solarium argentum," which is where the word "salary" originated from.
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Back in ancient Roman days, soldiers were partially paid in salt. FUN FACT: This was known as "solarium argentum," which is where the word "salary" originated from.

2. Rai Stones

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.
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

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.
Thinkstock / Plutho (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Via commons.wikimedia.org

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.

4. Parmesan Cheese

We all know cheese is precious, but no one more so than the Italians. When the GFC hit, the Italian Government bought 200,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano as financial security, and some banks actually accept them as bonds for loans!
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We all know cheese is precious, but no one more so than the Italians. When the GFC hit, the Italian Government bought 200,000 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano as financial security, and some banks actually accept them as bonds for loans!

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.
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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.

6. Bitcoins

The purely digital currency Bitcoin can only be used to buy things electronically. The main perk is that it's a decentralised currency, which means no single institution controls it.
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The purely digital currency Bitcoin can only be used to buy things electronically. The main perk is that it's a decentralised currency, which means no single institution controls it.

7. Knife Money

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.
Thinkstock / 幽灵巴尼 (CC BY-SA 3.0) / Via commons.wikimedia.org

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

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*
Thinkstock / Mickey Bohnacker (Public Domain) / Via commons.wikimedia.org

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*

9. Tweets

In more recent times, the ability to "Pay With a Tweet" has become a popular social marketing tool. Your thoughts might be worth more than a penny after all.
Thinkstock / BuzzFeed

In more recent times, the ability to "Pay With a Tweet" has become a popular social marketing tool. Your thoughts might be worth more than a penny after all.

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.
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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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