What is Davis Dollars?

Davis Dollars is a community currency for the City of Davis. By using Davis Dollars, we strengthen the local economy and build community spirit and resiliency. Businesses around Davis are accepting Davis Dollars, and you can too!

If I accepted Davis Dollars, how can I make the best of it?

  1. Notify us of any events you might have so we can, in turn, advertise it to all of the Davis Dollars users on our websites.
  2. Put up a Davis Dollars stickers to attract customers who has Davis Dollars
  3. Stop by our farmer’s market booth on Saturdays to drop off your business coupons for even more chances to reach out to Davis Dollars users.

What are the benefits of accepting Davis Dollars?

  1. Community members want to spend their Davis Dollars, so you’ll get more business
  2. You’ll build goodwill by being seen as a participating member in the community helping to promote Davis currency
  3. Free marketing: Davis Dollars will highlight businesses that accept Davis dollars on DavisDollars.org:
    • An article about your business, posted on DavisDollars.org, and featured on our front page for at least one week.
    • An article featured on all our social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
  4. By accepting Davis Dollars, you help keep resources in Davis, and in turn help make the community more resilient, and economically stronger
  5. You’ll help promote individuals spending locally in the Davis community

How does it work?

Accepting DDs is easy. You don’t need any new equipment. You can accept Davis Dollars in the same way you accept U.S. Dollars. You also have the choice to accept only a percentage of a purchase in DDs, only certain product types in DDs, or any other system that works for you. Once you have DDs, you can:

  • Spend them on services or goods your businesses uses in Davis
  • Exchange them for U.S. Dollars at the rate of $0.95 USD per 1 DD. (You can get $0.97 per DD if you exchange 250 DDs or more, or $1.00 per DD if you exchange 500 DDs or more.)
  • Swap them out for personal use
  • Sell them to anyone who wants to buy them, and you can set your own prices – so you can sell DDs at a 1-to-1 rate with US currency, for example. We’ll even list you on our website as a seller of DDs!

How do I exchange my Davis Dollars back into US Dollars?

We hope you’re able to use your Davis Dollars, but if you’re not able to use all of them, we’ll give you back US Dollars for them. (See the “How does it work?” heading for the exchange rate.) You can come to our table at the Farmers Market on any Wednesday or Saturday; contact us if you’ll be bringing more than 50 DDs so we make sure we have enough cash on hand. If you have more than 100 DDs we’ll come make a pick-up.

We’re also working to set up a downtown exchange point so you can make an exchange during any work day.

Can I sell Davis Dollars?

Yes! You can. We would love you to, in fact. It’s a great way to get more traffic in your door, and also a great way for us to make it easier for people to get Davis Dollars. Please if you want to talk about more details.

How do you prevent counterfeiting?

Like any bill (including US dollars), we can’t make Davis Dollars impossible to counterfeit. We just make it hard enough to do that it really isn’t worth it. How do we do this? It’s printed on an expensive, high-quality paper. It has a lot of colors so it’s expensive to photocopy, and each bill has a serial number on it. The serial number are printed in a metallic color, which is difficult to copy or reproduce, even digitally.

We also keep track of every single bill that is in circulation, using each bill’s serial number. We ask each business to contact us if someone pays for something using an unusually large number of bills, so we can check right away whether all those serial numbers are actually in circulation.

Why Davis Dollars?

To support and strengthen local community, we are not only working with businesses but also people to stimulate spending in Davis. When people receive Davis Dollars for providing a service, the first thing they often ask is “Where can I spend these Davis Dollars?” That’s when our newsletter, blogs, service list, and social events come in handy. We can help bring you business by letting people know they can support your business and the Davis community at the same time. This unites local business and consumers together as team, benefiting not only you, the people, but also the city altogether.

Can I do a trial run?

We’ll exchange the first 100 Davis Dollars you bring us at a 1:1 scale. It is a risk-free trial period to give you an opportunity to decide if our service is benefiting your business.

How else can I control the way I receive Davis Dollars?

If you want to support the community by accepting DDs, but don’t feel you can accept DDs fully, there are ways to control the inflow of DDs. You may decide to accept only a percentage (for example, 50%) of any purchase in DDs, or accept only a new customer’s first purchase in DDs. You can also make it clear that for Davis Dollars transactions, you can only offer change in Davis Dollars, and only if you have enough in your register – customers can choose whether to pay partly in US Dollars if they don’t have correct change in Davis Dollars. These strategies may turn away some potential new customers, but may be useful if you aren’t ready to accept lots of Davis Dollars.

Why else might I decide to accept Davis Dollars?

  • To encourage people to spend locally when possible instead of buying things online, or from outside the community.
  • To strengthen the community by supporting a currency that builds connections between people.
  • To strengthen the local economy by cultivating expertise and exchange within Davis.

How does accepting Davis Dollars affect my taxes?

It doesn’t change how you pay taxes – you must pay taxes on Davis Dollars income the same way you pay taxes on other income.

What happens if someone pays for something in Davis Dollars, and needs change?

You can return change in Davis Dollars, if you have them, or in US Dollars, if you don’t have Davis Dollars. Since Davis Dollars don’t come in very large denominations, you’re unlikely to get stuck giving back a lot of change in US Dollars.

What do you (the Davis Dollars organization) get out of this?

We’re a nonprofit, and we’re doing this because we want to strengthen the local economy and community.

If you mean, “How do we benefit monetarily?”, we make money because people buy Davis Dollars for $1.00 per Davis Dollar, but we exchange Davis Dollars back for less than that (usually). So we have a small margin. We also accept donations and seek grants, and have a few other sources of revenue.

Jeff Simons, co-owner of Watermelon Music, on Davis Dollars:

“When we met with Davis Dollars, they said they needed to reach a critical mass of retailers, and we signed on as a supporter….It’s not that we think that we’re going to make any more money, but we benefit in the grand scheme. If the Davis downtown succeeds as a whole, then it’s better for everyone in town. ” – Jeff Simons, owner of Watermelon Music (quoted in the Davis Enterprise story of October 20, 2010)