Finance, Banks and Lending Institutions

Accounts and Financial Transactions

Checks and Debit Cards

Although paper checks can be used for financial transactions, at TL 8+ the debit card is more commonly used. The debit card is an electronic device containing the encryted records of an account on a heavily shielded chip. The debit card contains personal id data, retinal patterns, finger prints, and/or dna scans, providing security for the account holder(s).

Normally, there will be only one card issued for each account, however group and commercial accounts can be created with sub-accounts. Each sub-account would be assigned some portion of the total account balance, and the debit card for that sub-account would have access to that portion of the total account balance.

Branches of an issuing bank will honor their own debit cards, usually, at full value. Non-issuing banks may honor some portion of another bank's debit card, depending on private agreements between the two banks.

Checks are typically only honored by banks within the system of issue. Therefore, checks are not especially useful for travellers.

Account Types

Local Accounts

The simple local account is useful mostly within one system. No provisions are made to make it easy to use these accounts outside the local system. Normally, Local Debit Cards and Checks are fully honored within the system of issue.

In other systems, Local Debit Cards and are seldom honored directly. The account holder must present his card to a branch of the issuing bank for conversion to an account local to this system and would then be issued another debit card.

Traveller Account

Those that often travel between systems will want to obtain a Traveller Account. The Traveller Account has all the benefit of a local Account, plus additional ones specifically for the frequent traveller.

Traveller Debit Cards are honored in most systems where the bank has a branch or has a corresponding agreement with a local bank. This is much more convenient than having to obtain a local account and card.

Bank Drafts

A Bank Draft is an instrument that orders a bank to issue funds from an account to the person named in the draft. Although, it is not common, a draft can be issued to "bearer" as well as a named individual or company.

An account holder can obtain a draft for a portion of his assets from his bank, take it to another system, present it to a branch bank there, and use it to create an account there. Branches of the same bank will typically honor a draft in full, after it is verified. However, because of travel times the verification process can take several weeks. In most cases, a portion of the draft will be honored immediately as a no interest loan during the verification period. Generally, holders of Traveller Accounts are given access to a larger portion of their assets during the waiting period.

Letters of Credit

A Letter of Credit is a document issued by a bank that guarentees drafts and withdrawals of funds, up to some stated amount, by a customer. Letters of Credit also normally name a specific individual, but may be issued to "bearer" and used by whoever presents the Letter.

Banks will often make private arrangments with banks in other systems prearranging the acceptance of Letters of Credit. The Letter of Credit will often list the banks which have made these prearrangments. In these cases, the Letter is automatically honored and an drafts and withdrawals up to the amount listed will be honored.

In cases where the bank in question does not have a prearranged agreement with the issuing bank, communcations between the two banks must take place before the Letter of Credit will be honored. During this period of time, no funds may be withdrawn and no checks will be honored.

The time it takes to get a Letter of Credit can be lengthy. This is not only because of the time it takes for communications between systems, but also because banks will usually only honor Letters of Credit though banks with which they have agreements. This may mean that documents will have to travel through several banks in multiple systems before a chain of agreements is established between the issuing and dispensing banks.

Banks and their branches arrange for the transfer of funds, both real and on paper, to balance their accounts. This isn't something the traveller need worry himself with, but it does mean that financial records and currency are constantly being transported between systems.

Currency

CSA credits

CSA credits are the common currency of the Confederation. They are accepted as legal tender on all CSA planets and trade at a fixed exchange rate for local currency if so desired.

Outside the CSA the credit will occasionally be accepted by a nearby system, but usually will have to be exchanged for local currency. Exchange rates fluctuate over time and with location, but as a general rule, the further you are from the Confederation's border the less the Credit will be worth.

Marks of Mark

The Kingdom of Mark is a center of trade and the gateway to the Quental Main. As such it's currency, the Mark, is an important to trade over a fairly wide area. The Mark is usually honored by brokers and trading factors and exchanged by banks as far coreward as Montrose, spinward to Skypr, trailing to Shepard, and rimward to Argent.

The Mark usually trades at approximately 1.25 marks to the credit.

Banks

First Bank of Maston (Maston, Argent)

The First Bank of Maston is the leading commercial bank in the Confederation. Many government agencies, large corporations and organizations have accounts with "The First.

CSA Central Banque (Shaw, Shaw)

Argent Mercantile Bank (Maston, Argent)

CSA mercantile bank with a small branch on Mark. The Mark branch is located in the downtown Aluucia district of Mark City. Martan, Ricardo and Shawn have accouts with the Argent Merc. Shawn also set up an account in the name A. M. Cousins to hold the group's funds.

Royal Mercantile Bank (Mark City, Mark)

The Royal Mercantile Bank in Mark City is owned by the royal family of Mark It is the leading commercial bank in the Mark system and also the offical bank of the Mark government. The Royal Mercantile has no branches outside the Mark system, but has agreements with leading banks in many systems in the surrounding area.

Contact: Si Morris Alberson