Money is used to pay for various goods and services. It is also used to measure and store value. Money usually takes the form of coins, banknotes and bank balances. There are a number of different currencies used in countries around the world. Many countries have their own currency, while some use a shared currency. An example of a shared currency is the euro used in the European Union by countries such as France, Germany and Spain. The currency most traded around the world is the United States dollar. Other heavily traded currencies include the euro, Japanese yen and pound sterling (British pound). It is believed that products such as livestock and grain were used to barter (exchange goods and services without the use of money) over 10000 years ago. The first coins were minted (made) around 2500 years ago.
Paper money was first used in China over 1000 years ago. The benefit of metal coins is that they are portable and durable. The original value of a British pound was equal to a pound (in weight) of silver. Credit cards were first used in the United States in the 1920’s. The US dollar and many other currencies use the dollar sign $ as a symbol. US currency features former presidents such as George Washington ($1 bill), Abraham Lincoln ($5 bill), Andrew Jackson ($20 bill) and Benjamin Franklin ($100 bill). Coins and banknotes are popular items for collectors, especially rare, old and misprinted ones. Inflation decreases the purchasing power of money over time.