When you buy something these days, you have so many ways of paying for it. Just think of them! However, you may be surprised to learn that there have always been lots of methods of payment. In very early times, people used to exchange one thing for another – an ox or a  cow for rice or grain, for example. This system of exchange was called ‘barter’, but there were lots of problems.

Well, how many heavy bags of rice would you give for a cow … or a TV, or a car? And how would you carry the bags of rice?

The ancient Greeks solved these problems. In the 7th century B.C. 10 they introduced coins made of fixed amounts of gold and silver. Business became much easier, because people could now exchange money for the things they required.

Coins last a long time, but they are heavy, and so eventually, governments solved the problem by introducing banknotes. So cash  became easier and lighter to carry.

Nowadays, of course, more and more people are paying for things with cheque’s and credit cards instead of in cash. What is the reason for this?



A. What do the following refer to?
1. ‘it’ (line 2): the thing which
2. ‘they’ (line 10):
3. ‘they’ (line 13):
4. ‘this’ (line 18):
B. 1. What is ‘barter*?
2. How did the use of coins affect life?
3. How was the problem about coins solved?
4. What are the modern ways of payment?

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