- Credit means borrowing, with a promise to pay later. The result is that someone is a debtor and another is the debt holder. This system facilitates greed that motivates consumption. Clearly, most borrowers spend more than they should. The sin of usury may be involved (although reasonable interest is allowed because of money inflation and taxes on savings).
- Debit means paying with a card that automatically subtracts money already deposited to a bank account. A key reason for debit cards appears to be ease of payment and fear of theft of cash. Debit cards involve more risk than credit cards and also mean the buyer pays more for goods and services. Both credit and debit cards can lead to a totalitarian society where the state keeps track of who purchases what.
- Cash means paying with money/currency. This medium allows the easy and anonymous exchange of many different kinds of goods through an intermediate value established and valued by the government. Virtually every country in the world robs its citizens of their cash by printing more and more money and causing inflation.
- Barter means directly exchanging/trading goods and services, without the use of credit, debit, or cash. Barter establishes the true value of material, because both sides agree on what and how much to exchange. Barter usually replaces money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis.
In the difficult 1990s, Russians reacted by using barter (veksels and zachety were the main money surrogates). As a percentage of industrial sales, bartering steadily increased from 5% in 1992 to nearly 55% in 1998. For more information on the relatively recent Russian barter experience, see here.
I also recommend that the reader examine "Barter" in the Wikipedia Encyclopedia. You'll learn that:
- Organized barter has grown to conduct third party bartering throughout the world to the point now where virtually every country has a formalized barter and trade network of some kind. A barter exchange provides the record-keeping, brokering expertise and monthly statements to each member. "Barter dollars" are the exchange medium.
- Complex business models based on the concept of barter are today possible since the advent of Web 2.0 technologies.