I'm looking for a word similar to "free" or "without cost", but that makes it explicit only that no money is exchanged, while still allowing (or implying, or explicitly specifying) that some other exchange of some value has taken place.

For example, if I rent a room to a friend in exchange for language tuition, I have a form of non-monetized exchange. I would like to say that the room is rented for free, except that it isn't for free here, because tuition is given in return. I still have to pay taxes and bills in money, and to describe this I want to say that the room is rented for zero-money (that way pointing out that I can't use the exchanged tuition service to pay the bills, and that therefore the exchange is somehow of less value than its cash-value equivalent). Saying it's "free" is not correct, because something of value is given in exchange. "Costless" I think has similar issues. "Barter" is a related meaning, but here I'm dealing in an on-going exchange-of-services relationship, for which "barter" doesn't seem right. "Non-monetized exchange" or "on a non-monetized basis" is the best I have so far.

I can't think of term that is succinct and gets this meaning clearly. Any ideas? A technical accounting term would do, but ideally I'd have something that is clearly understood by a lay person.

  • Are you looking for (1) a term specifically for the non-monetary exchanges of the kind you have described, or (2) a term that covers both such exchanges and completely free give-aways?
    – jsw29
    Nov 30, 2023 at 17:48
  • 2
    I don't see why 'barter' can't be an ongoing arrangement. You can also call it 'payment in kind'. Nov 30, 2023 at 18:34
  • @KateBunting, assuming that the OP is looking for (1), your comment is the answer. Why not post it as such?
    – jsw29
    Nov 30, 2023 at 19:15
  • Something given in exchange for nothing is a gift. The exchange involved is called giving.
    – Drew
    Nov 30, 2023 at 21:00
  • @KateBunting, good question re barter. Curiously Cambridge has " the act or system of bartering goods" (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/barter) whereas investopedia includes services: "Barter is an act of trading goods or services between two or more parties without the use of money" (investopedia.com/terms/b/barter.asp)
    – phhu
    Nov 30, 2023 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


You could say that it is paid for in kind. Cambridge defines this as:

(of payment) given in the form of goods or services and not money:

She wouldn't take any money but said I could pay her in kind by lending her the car.

  • This works well. In my example, I can use something like "...but unfortunately payment in kind doesn't help much when it comes to paying the bills"
    – phhu
    Dec 1, 2023 at 6:34
  • . . . as was already said by Ms. Bunting in a comment.
    – jsw29
    Dec 1, 2023 at 17:16

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