The idea of bartering as a part of business is not something new. For years, many businesses only dealt with each other on a cash basis, but as economic problems began to emerge, some discovered value to be had in trading goods for goods outright, and services for services, or any combination of the two. The new iPhone app, IMS Barter Mobile, from International Monetary Systems, Ltd., looks to help those who want to add barter to their business profile.
IMS Barter Mobile offers an easy way to tell where barter may be accepted by offering up not only listings, but also listings geographically plotted and suited to an individual location, complete with driving directions as needed. The app is geared especially toward those businesses that accept IMS trade dollars or the IMS Barter Card as a means for payment, and appears to be somewhat weighted toward restaurants.
The app can also provide information about members that accept trade dollars or the Barter Card, and detailed information about transactions made via a user's Barter Card or via trade dollars. Authorizations can also be processed or requested via the app, accounts can be searched for specific activity, and the IMS and its brokers can be quickly contacted via the app as well.
Considering that IMS represents around 23,000 cardholders across North America, and that the IMS has been in operation since 1985, the chances of finding specific businesses in specific locations that accept barter as a trade good are fairly slim, almost needle in a haystack-level slim. But as the practice catches on--it's already caught on sufficiently as to require the IRS to establish a series of rules (and accompanying forms) regarding the taxable nature of barter--more and more businesses will likely come on line and make this app more useful than its current iteration may be.
Still, for those already in the IMS, or for those considering joining, getting in on the IMS Mobile Barter App may be a smart idea to get a better measure of its value in a potential user's area.
Edited by Jamie Epstein