DEFINITION of 'Payment'

The transfer of one form of good, service or financial asset in exchange for another form of good, service or financial asset in proportions that have been previously agreed upon by all parties involved. Payment can be made in the form of funds, assets or services.


Today's monetary system allows for payments to be made with currency. Currency, which has simplified the means of economic transactions, provides a convenient medium through which payments can be made; it can also be easily stored.

For example, in the past, if an egg farmer with a large surplus of eggs wanted milk, he would need to find a dairy farmer who would be willing to take eggs as payment for milk. In this case, if a suitable dairy farmer weren't found in time, not only would the egg farmer not get his milk, but his eggs would spoil, becoming worthless. Currency, on the other hand, maintains its value over time.

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