We Will Spend Credits in the Future
For some reason, possibly the widespread adoption of credit cards as a form of electronic currency, it has become convention that the unit of currency in futuristic and particularly Space Opera
settings is called the "Credit". It's also a way to avoid using the name of any existing currency, which would tend to fall into Creator Provincialism
or seem outdated as history marches on.
Accounting lectures in the future must be terribly confusing things. For fun
try asking a real accountant what they think
about naming a currency this in Real Life
A subtrope of Global Currency
, although not always.
Also a subtrope of Fictional Currency
Live Action Television
- Foundation series by Isaac Asimov (well, less global than lenticular - it's used across the entire galaxy, except on one occasion where Asimov slips up and refers to "dollars" instead). Possibly the Trope Codifier?
- Lensman series by E. E. “Doc” Smith: credits are used as currency throughout the Galaxy, and later in two galaxies. Possibly the Trope Codifier. Especially when the villainous Senator Morgan accuses his adversaries of worshiping "the almighty CREDIT!"
- Hex by Rhiannon Lassiter, which takes place in the 24th century, uses credits as currency worldwide. As everything is computerised at this point, this system may be the logical next step after the use of credit cards and nonphysical monetary transactions became common.
- In the X-Universe, the local Proud Merchant Race backed the creation of a single currency for the Commonwealth governments. Prior to this, each race used its own currency.
- Deus Ex
- Escape Velocity
- EVE Online has a little more complex a take on things. The currency, known as ISK (Inter-Stellar Kreditsnote ), is not so much a global currency as it is a global exchange currency. Planetary economies and sometimes individual planetary nations almost all have their own currencies, ISK was merely setup as an exchange medium to manage the obscene amounts of money being used at the inter-stellar level - the popular saying goes you can retire comfortably planet-side basically anywhere in the cluster on single digit amounts of the stuff. And despite that, the economy is such that the de-facto unit of currency is in millions of isk. Ask someone for a price, and they say '50', they mean 50 MILLION isk. Guess the Casual Interstellar Travel isn't all that casual...
- Chakona Space uses Fed Creds. Galaxy-wide currency and e-currency.
- Babylon 5': The only credits seem to be the Earth Alliance (i.e. human) ones; other species have their own currency. Since humans are one of the major merchant powers of the B5-verse, credits seem to be accepted fairly widely; it helps that they're all-electronic. Nevertheless, the Centauri ducat seems to have more currency in interspecies transactions—particularly in shady dealings, as the ducat can come in hard cash (gold coins, it seems) and is thus untraceable.
- Batman Beyond, as far as can be seen. Paper "Creds" don't even exist, it's all plastic cards.
- Secret of Evermore only uses credits in the Omnitopia section.
- In Traveller, only the Imperium's currency is called credits.
- Many factions in Star Wars mint and back their own "credit" with varying acceptance. Credits are often on chits or coins, but in Marvel Star Wars, they looked like bills.◊
- Knights of the Old Republic however has one "credit" that is used by everyone except the sandpeople, despite the civil war and weakness of the backing government.
- It also appears that "credits" may just be a generic term for money- at one point Qui-Gon Jinn, when asked for credits, refers to "Republic daitaris". The merchant he's talking to promptly laughs in his face.
- Dataries are just a physical form in which the money exist. They are akin to the modern cash cards with some amount of money on them. The currency they are nominated in is still the republican credit. (Which is why they're usually not accepted on the Outer Rim planets (Tatooine, for example)
- the-n.com uses "creds" to buy gear for avatars. You get creds just for surfing, and you get them for snitching. Considered a Scrappy Mechanic by Degrassi The Next Generation fans who don't go to the-n.com, but an obsession of the-n.com users.
- Demolition Man: "John Spartan, you are fined one credit for a violation of the verbal morality statute." We don't know quite how widespread the use of credits are, as San Angeles is apparently independent from the rest of the US (on which we get no clear information) following "the Big One" earthquake devastating California and leading to a merger of San Francisco with Los Angeles, thus its name.
- Futuretrack Five mentions Eurocredits. Presumably a rough equivalent of the European Currency Unit, and what currencies the rest of the world use is never explored.
- Halo's UNSC uses credits.
- In the Firefly 'verse, the Alliance's central planets use credits (paper bills or electronic transfer) as currency, and 1 credit is about equal to $25 US according to the RPG. The lower-tech outer planets mint their own coins from precious metals (typically silver, gold, and platinum, in ascending order of value), and also frequently use barter.
- Bricks of compressed nutrients— non-perishable emergency rations, more or less— are sometimes shown as being a valuable trade good nearly analogous with cash but very easily traced.
- In Eclipse Phase most of the inner system and some Extropian habitats in the outer system use a universal "credit" currency. But the Anarchists that make up the majority of the outer system and the Titanian Commonwealth don't even use money, their economies are based on public nanofabricators and favors from social networks, though Titan also quantifies citizens' social output as "kroners" used to fund various microcorps.
- The Solarian League in Honor Harrington uses credits, among at least 3 other interstellar currencies, although many other polities have their own, non-credit currencies.
- In Paranoia, Alpha Complex uses plasticredits. Sure, you could just charge things to your Millennium Express account, but plasticreds are off the record and untraceable. (You hope.)
- While credits in Escape Velocity Override are used throughout all of known space, there are still currencies used beneath the interstellar level (in fact, Earth alone still has several currencies — changing to a single UE currency is a matter of ongoing negotiation and preparation). It is entirely possible that credits are a gameplay simplification, and that what the pilot actually has is a bank account.
- In Almost Human, a few references have been made to money in the form of Real Life digital currency, Bitcoin. The future portrayed in the series apparently has it become a common form of payment, though other forms of money have been seen.