The word or concept I'm after is the system where a user of a service can transfer real money to their account (top-up), receive "credits", use those credits somehow inside the system, and then exchange the credits back to real currency (check-out). These "credits" wouldn't officially be recognized as a currency.

The concepts that I think are closest to what I'm looking for are complementary currency and scrip, but neither seems to be correct in my opinion.


No matter how I try to read credit's wiki definition, the 'provides resources to another party and arranges to repay those resources at a later date' doesn't seem to fit. As told, the purpose of these "credits" for which I try to find a better word for are, to be used as a form of currency inside the service.

This made me think of casino chips, which led me to another interesting contender: exonumia, which unfortunately appears to only be used in the context of physical items.

  • 2
    "Credit" is the actual term for this in use. "Store Credit, System Credit, Credit balance, and so on.
    – Oldcat
    Jun 24, 2014 at 20:44
  • To my understanding credit itself is the wrong word, because it implies reimbursement of the same amount back to the creditee.
    – Gima
    Jun 24, 2014 at 23:15
  • So does this system when you 'check-out'
    – Oldcat
    Jun 24, 2014 at 23:24
  • I see it like this: Credit implies (or does it also straightforwardly define, I cannot tell) equal or higher backpayment. But since these elusive "credits" could be used inside the service, they would not 1) be repaid in equal amount, and 2) repaid by default at all, since their purpose is to be used inside the system.
    – Gima
    Jun 24, 2014 at 23:52
  • 1
    I subscribe to Audible for a certain amount a month and get 2 book credits. I can turn them in for audible books. I'm not sure if I could get a cash rebate for unused credits. But they call them credits here regardless. Sure, you could call them "GimaBux" if you like, but most understand what a credit is from the start and if you made up a word you'd have to define them.
    – Oldcat
    Jun 25, 2014 at 0:08

3 Answers 3

  • credit

    The trust which allows one party to provide resources to another party where that second party does not reimburse the first party immediately (thereby generating a debt), but instead arranges either to repay or return those resources (or other materials of equal value) at a later date.
    - Wikipedia, Credit (as of June 26, 2014 09:30, UTC)

    While the word doesn't appear to be correct by definition, it apparently is understood by many so as to justify it's usage when referring to virtual currency in a service.

  • virtual currency

    A type of unregulated, digital money, which is issued and usually controlled by its developers, and used and accepted among the members of a specific virtual community.
    - Wikipedia, Credit (as of June 26, 2014 09:30, UTC)

    Most unambiguous, but may be hard to use in writing due to not being succinct.


I think you're talking about their account balance, though you haven't provided enough context to be sure.


Try something like the phrase "currency exchange"

They are exchanging real currency for credits in your system. and then exchanging credits in your system for real currency.
'currency exchange' is also used when converting between differnet types of real money: exchange Rupees for Yen, or Dollars for Pounds.

you can also try "credit transfer"

  • Currency exchange is only for real currencies, not for a company's private credit system. Jun 24, 2014 at 22:55

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