Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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VoucherBank

  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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against]

When money is lent, the lender usually receives interest to compensate for not being able to use their money and to compensate for the small risk that the money won't get repaid.

The exception to this is store vouchers. These are usually bought as gifts and allow the recipient to spend, for example, £10 at chain of music shops. These are seen as cash but are, in fact, unsecured non-interest-paying cash loans to the shop in question. If the chain of shops ceases trading then the voucher-holder is at the back of a very long queue of creditors and unlikely to get any money.

So, I propose that store vouchers are issued by a third party (the 'VoucherBank') which is able to invest the money received for vouchers and pay a lower (fixed) rate of interest to voucher-holders. The value of your £10 voucher will be determined when you redeem it and will depend on the length of time for which you have held it.
hippo, Jan 29 2009

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       Book tokens are often independent of any one business. I presume they're issued on behalf of an association of booksellers. Not as general as what you suggest though, so [+]
nineteenthly, Jan 29 2009
  

       Vouchers are actually no different to cash. If you tried to spend Sterling in America they would look at you in the same way as spending Amazon vouchers in WalMart/Asda.   

       They are promises of value. Slightly less secure than governmanet backed promises of value, but the same none the less.
miasere, Jan 29 2009
  

       Proper book tokens aren't like that though, as you can spend them in any bookshop.
nineteenthly, Jan 29 2009
  

       Any bookshop that subscribes to the scheme, or is within a certain country.
miasere, Jan 29 2009
  

       You still have to get around the legalities of "deposit-taking", a horribly and incorrectly legislated field.   

       To some extent this is already done, albeit illegally, in places like Zimbabwe and RSA. Google mukuru.com.
4whom, Jan 29 2009
  

       + from the title, I thought this was going to be something about California's IOU's for their tax refunds.
Zimmy, Jan 29 2009
  
      
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