Is there a word or phrase or expression for something that you ask in return for a product or service, when it is something other than money?

And what is the verb that goes with it when someone “pays” the non-monetary price?

(I can’t think of anything else other than “a favour in return”, with possibly the verb “to do a favour in return for the product”; or “a kickback”, which sounds fishier than I would like, and I don’t know what verb goes with that.)

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    Umm - we just use the word "price" anyway. It doesn't have to imply money changed hands. That's General Reference, I think. – FumbleFingers Dec 13 '12 at 0:24
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    I think all the answers so far are simply missing the point. Even if you're bartering/trading/swapping/etc. you still have to give a name to the amount/quality of whatever whatever you want in return for your product/service. What you ask for is still your price, whatever units it's rendered in. – FumbleFingers Dec 13 '12 at 4:11
  • See value, price, worth, and cost. – John Lawler Dec 13 '12 at 4:58
  • @FumbleFingers- I think the OP is a bit ambiguous as to what he's looking for. The title asks for a "price", the first paragraph asks for 'something you ask for in return' and the third paragraph suggests that kickback or favor is close to what he's after and then wants a verb. I think price is appropriate for the title. I think consideration works for a what-you-ask-for noun and I think trade or barter works for a verb. (remunerate and remuneration also work but they are probably too high-falutin' for normal use) – Jim Dec 13 '12 at 7:17
  • @FumbleFingers I agree that price is the correct word, but I don't find a satisfactory definition in a freely available source. – Matt E. Эллен Dec 13 '12 at 10:47

10 Answers 10


The legal term is consideration. It encompasses anything of value in a trade: money, property, or services. This is a word you can use when "money" is not appropriate. Trading is the general term for exchange of consideration. For more information: Wikipedia.

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in kind refers to “In the form of goods and service rather than money”; for example, “He received payment in kind.”
swop, swap, and barter refer to “exchange [of] goods or services without involving money”
quid pro quo also refers to a form of barter: “This for that; giving something to receive something else ; something equivalent; something in return” or “An equal exchange”. Eg, “We had no money so we had to live by quid pro quo.”

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  • As is implied by HMRC's (re-)interpretation of There is no statutory definition for NICs of the term ‘payment in kind’, payment in kind was understood by the original legislators to mean benefits which could not easily be "monetised" by the recipient. As I recall, there was some sharp practice before they made that ruling - companies paying their staff in gold Krugerrands, for example! – FumbleFingers Dec 13 '12 at 0:44
  • This entire answer is good, but +1 esp. for quid pro quo. – J.R. Dec 13 '12 at 16:03

I would use compensation and compensate.

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I think the word you're looking for is barter.

The verb that would go with it would be bartered. Eg. James bartered a scooter with John for his broken push bike.

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You can also use the word trade:

trade: 3. An instance of bartering items in exchange for one another.

In your instance I would ask for something in trade for my item/service. The verb is to trade. He traded me a pickup truck for my old TV.

There are lots of instances on craigslist.com saying 'Willing to trade' X for Y

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You could ask for remuneration. To remunerate is "to pay (a person) a suitable equivalent in return for goods provided, services rendered, or losses incurred." That suitable equivalent is not necessarily cash.

You could also asked to be compensated for your time or service. The compensation does not have to be in the form of money.

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In vernacular:

I mow his lawn, he gives me free cable. It's a fair trade. It costs me all of an hour a week. He lives up to his end of the bargain. If he ever doesn't make-good or follow-through, then I'll cancel our deal.


Sure, I can pull a few strings for you... But, it'll cost you. And, you'd better be good for it.

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Or you can also use "in exchange" e.g I fixed his videogame console in exchange for a baseball game ticket.

Here, there is a form of trade/barter/non-monetary exchange implied and it is just simple and straight forward. And the concept of trading, at heart, is any form of exchange.

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non-monetary payment

Firstly, price is not defined as necessarily monetary, though it usually is understood to be monetary value of an item. Perhaps, that's the price you pay for using a flexible language like English. See:

Price (Wikipedia)
In ordinary usage, price is the quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for goods or services.
In modern economies, prices are generally expressed in units of some form of currency. (For commodities, they are expressed as currency per unit weight of the commodity, e.g. euros per kilogram.) Although prices could be quoted as quantities of other goods or services this sort of barter exchange is rarely seen. Prices are sometimes quoted in terms of vouchers such as trading stamps and air miles. In some circumstances, cigarettes have been used as currency, for example in prisons, in times of hyperinflation, and in some places during World War 2. In the black economy, barter is also relatively common.


price (BusinessDictionary)
A value that will purchase a definite quantity, weight, or other measure of a good or service.

However, if we are looking for a term that expressly excludes monetary payment, and want to be unambiguous about it, the only option seems to be non-monetary payment, as in "...non-monetary payment is the best way to compensate authors for the use of their words and ideas."

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When you avail a service or product and intend to know its non-monetary price, you ask for its worth or cost.

Here, cost doesn't necessarily have to do with money. Cost can be reflected in other terms as well such as man-hour, effort, services in return etc.

For Eg:

What is this (fill-in-the-blank) worth?

What is it gonna cost me?

Personally, if I understand you correctly I would use

What do I owe you?

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