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Money may be defined as any commodity or verifiable record that is usually accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of obligations, such as taxes, in a specific nation or socio-economic setting, as opposed to other forms of payment. Money has many services, the most important of which are as a medium of commerce, a unit of account, a store of value, and, in certain cases, as a standard of postponed payment. Money may be defined as any thing or verifiable record that performs these tasks and meets the criteria.

Money has traditionally been an emerging market phenomena that established a commodity money, but today's money systems are almost entirely dependent on fiat money, which is created by governments. Fiat money, like any cheque or note of debt, has no use value as a tangible commodity since it is created by the government. It gets its value from the fact that it has been designated legal tender by a government; that is, it must be recognised as a means of payment for "all obligations, public and private," within the borders of the nation. Counterfeit money has the potential to reduce the value of legitimate money.

It is generally agreed that a country's money supply is made up of currency (banknotes and coins) and one or more forms of bank money, depending on which definition is being used (the balances held in checking accounts, savings accounts, and other types of bank accounts). Among affluent nations, bank money, which consists only of records (much of which are digitised in contemporary banking), constitutes by far the highest proportion of wide money.