The WIR franc is a Swiss community currency which is circulated and backed by the WIR Bank, a Swiss banking cooperative headquartered in Basel.
It is the one of the most widely used community currencies in Switzerland. The WIR Bank circulates WIR francs primarily through the provision of affordable loans in WIR francs to small and mid-sized businesses, which then use these loans to make purchases from other businesses which accept WIR francs.
The community is made up primarily of the WIR Bank’s business customer base. However, businesses and individuals which purchase goods and services from WIR Bank customers also form part of the WIR franc’s user base.
The WIR franc has a fixed value of 1 Swiss franc, although its smaller user base means that demand for the WIR franc is not as high as demand for the Swiss franc.
The primary purpose of the WIR franc is to encourage trade between Swiss businesses and to provide an affordable alternative to business loans denominated by Swiss francs.
Alternative currencies explained