A Community Currency is often used as synonym for complementary currency, local currency, regional currency, alternative currency, auxiliary currencies, and private currencies. The debate is not easy to solve at the moment, since the words have different meanings to different people. All are currencies that have different designs and serve different purposes than our conventional money. They depart from the notion that money is essentially a human invention and instrument to influence the relations between citizens and organizations. A solid theoretical framework legitimizes this idea and in the past hundred years a lot of experimentation and experience was picked up with realizing social goals by the implementation of community currencies.
Community Currency describes currencies that are used by groups with a common bond, like members of a locality, or association.
Complementary currency describes a currency that exists as a supplement to our conventional (national) money. “A complementary currency (…) is an agreement to use something else than legal tender (i.e. national money) as a medium of exchange, with the purpose of linking unmet needs with otherwise unused resources” (Lietaer & Hallsmith 2006: 2).
Alternative currency is often used, but this term is inaccurate in many cases, as many currencies are designed to be complementary, and not to concur with or to substitute conventional currencies.