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The first LETS began 40 years ago in Canada. We've adopted this model and tailored it for contemporary Ireland.

LETS is an established Local Exchange Trading System where we use Credits, not Euros, to exchange our skills and resources within the community. Transactions (in which Credits are transferred from one member to another) are recorded on the Community-Exchange.org website.

Cork LETS is a not-for-profit network run by and for the benefit of the participants. It has a long history, especially in the late 80s/early 90s. There is an active LETS community centred in Cork City, with members also in West Cork and in the Midleton area.

As membership grows, so does the range of goods and services available.

LETS is an accounting system, and the Credit is an accounting unit. When a member buys something, their account is debited (-) and the seller’s account is credited (+). No money changes hands. The accounting unit is called the Credit (₵ or Cr). Every Credit circulating in the network represents a member’s promise to pay for or to provide goods and services.

LETS is safe and lawful and everyone can join. LETS is a “mutual credit” system. It’s based upon mutual trust – all within a framework of limits and guidelines. LETS account balances remain private, (except where the account is deemed seriously in breach of accepted guidelines).

LETS is run by volunteers. Volunteers receive ₵6 per hour for their time – including dedicated skilled and professional services. They give us a ‘benchmark value’ we may use to measure/compare prices in Credits, i.e. ₵6 per voluntary hour (₵1 = 10 mins). LETS is a free marketplace and prices are negotiable but the Credit itself provides us with this constant ‘benchmark value’ as a pricing guide.

Members enjoy an interest-free overdraft (currently ₵20) from which members issue new Credits into circulation. Members are asked to buy first then sell later, to circulate Credits. Ideally, use the overdraft repeatedly, balancing purchases with sales over time. “What goes around, comes around.

LETS is a marketplace, not a savings bank. It's about buying and selling, so savings are limited. A “parking fee” (called demurrage) applies to dormant / excess deposits above a prescribed limit.

Members are requested to periodically bring their accounts back “through zero” – that is, to buy and sell and to balance sales with purchases, over time. Early members can take a year or more to balance their accounts. LETS is a stress-free zone.

Who can benefit from participating in LETS?

Individuals i.e. anyone with time or skills, goods (new and second-hand) and services (skilled and unskilled) or experience (to teach / share).

Businesses can convert some of their capacity into Credits (purchasing power). For example – slack time, surplus stock, discounts, etc., can be advertised for free and exchanged for other goods and services using Lets Credits. Traders use the LETS system to reach new customers, to maintain employment and to conserve cash.