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Wanaka Time Bank

Frequently Asked Questions

Time Banking is a type of complementary currency. Local community trading and bartering systems help to create empowerment and resilience in communities by enabling local trading of goods and services without relying on the national money system.


Can we join as a couple or as a family?

Yes you can. The choice is yours. You can join as a couple or family. It might be that later on you decide to have separate member accounts. For example, sometimes families join up on one member account, but then the children decide that they want their own account.  Time credits are transferable throughout the system, so it is also a simple process to transfer some of the hours through as well, if you wish.

What can I offer?

What you can offer is limited only to your imagination.

Sometimes people find it difficult to work out what skills to offer as a Time Bank member. You can offer any skill except what you do for your taxable income, as the WTB currently holds a tax exemption status from the IRD on this basis. We often don't realise how valuable our other skills are. That means things that we are good at, things we enjoy, hobbies or talents. Be creative!

Sometimes people feel they have no spare time. But if we do the things we like, for instance sewing or cooking, and get another member to do the things we don't enjoy so much, for example gardening, we find the time we do have is spent more enjoyably and we are also helping others in our community.

How do time credits work?

One hour = one hour. You spend one hour of your time doing something you enjoy doing for someone else, and you gain one time credit. You can then spend this on having something done for you. Time credits do not expire. They are completely transferable to any other member or organisation on the WTB.

Who logs the hours?

Either the receiver or giver of a trade can input the hours. Either way, the transaction will be displayed in each time bank account. The receiver and giver of a trade will be notified of the transaction, in their email in box. If it has been input incorrectly, either of you can edit this.

What is the Community Chest?

The Community Chest (CC) is a community Time Bank account. Here you can donate as many or as little of your Time Bank hours to the chest. You can do this as often or as little as you like. What happens to the time dollars that you donate? At the discretion of your Time Bank Member Coordinator they will be given to any member(s) or community group that may be in need of them, for whatever reason.

If you want to donate hours to the Community Chest contact the member coordinator to find out how to give this wonderful gift of time.

Can the Time Bank system be abused?

It hasn't as yet. Every time a member makes a transaction on the Time Bank the member coordinator gets a copy of the transaction. In addition, if the coordinator had any concerns about a particular member that member could be placed on 'Guardian Angel Mode'. The software will then allow her to see every transaction/ conversation that particular member is having.

However, time banking is about building trust in the community. If our coordinator noticed that a particular member was receiving what appeared to be an excessive amount of hours then she would call the member to enquire if they were OK. Perhaps they have broken a leg or going through some trying personal circumstances? Perhaps they need more help? This is where the Community Chest can assist.

What if the trade was only 15 minutes?

Time can be put through in increments. Generally it makes sense to round them up, we encourage to the hour. You can agree the exact amount of time to put through with the person you are trading with.

Why put up a photo?

It's really important to put up a photo of yourself. The reasoning is two-fold:-

  • Being able to 'see' someone encourages more of a community feel to the website.
  • Identification – when you are trading with a member for the first time, you can be assured they are who they say they are.

What if I trade with more than one person at a time?

I spent one hour teaching six people how to knit. Do I get six hours time credits?

No you don't. You only give one hour of your time, therefore you can only claim one hour. For ease of transaction, participants in the trade pay you all the hours, then you donate five into the community chest.

This process applies to any workshop or event with more than one recipient.

What about liability? What if a member is injured during a trade?

As part of the on-line registration process members must read and agree to the Terms and Conditions of time banking. One of these conditions is that the Wanaka Time Bank “shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to loss, damage, or injury caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by information contained on this web site or any other Time Bank resources”.

Five Core Values?

Time Banks operate to facilitate exchanges that honour five core values:-

  • We are all assets - every human being has something to contribute;

  • Redefining work - rewarding the real work in our society by creating a currency which pays people for helping each other and creating better places to live;

  • Reciprocity - giving and receiving are basic human needs which help to build relationships and trust with others

  • Social Networks - building people's social capital is very important, belonging to a social network gives our lives more meaning;

  • Respect- encouraging people to respect others in their community.

For more indepth information on these core values: - http://www.timebanks.org/social-justice.htm

Can goods / tools be traded?

Wouldn't it be great to have a Community Tool Box? You can with Time Banking.

For any trades associated with loaning goods and tools you can claim one hour, regardless of the time the tool is loaned out for. Why is this? Because you are not actually giving of your time, you are loaning a tool. The only time you are giving is the time taken to actually organise the loan of these tools. Sometimes this can be 5 - 10 mins, sometimes 30 mins. Therefore, it is the WTBs policy to round goods and tool trades up to one hour.

If there are any expenses involved in the loaning of goods / tools these should be agreed between the members before the trade takes place.

Can members be compensated for expenses?

Can WTB members be compensated for travel expenses and any materials they have had to purchase as a direct result of the trade?

The answer is Yes. Time Banking is all about sharing time and this is what you are banking i.e. TIME. Sometimes there maybe a monetary cost involved.

  • Transportation - you are providing transport, perhaps to the airport, a medical appointment or grocery shopping. There will be a fuel expense.
  • Baking / Cooking - you are baking / cooking for a member. There will be an ingredients expense.
  • Massage - you are giving someone a massage. There may be expenses involved in oils etc.

For trades where there are expenses involved we encourage you to discuss and agree these with the member you are trading with, PRIOR to the trade happening.

How does the accounting system operate?

Time Banking operates under a system of dual accounting. This is spending and earning rather than debit and credit. It doesn't matter if you spend more than you earn as long as you are actively gaining time in the earning column. People within our community who have specific needs (such as elderly) may have higher spending and less earning, this is ok. We want to encourage people to spend as well as earn as it takes both to keep the time bank operating.