This kind of bank performs certain functions very much like a traditional chartered bank  (checking accounts, sending and receiving money from others, etc.). Traditional banks operate under a government license. In the U.S. that can be the federal government via the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), or a state’s bank regulatory agency, (list  here). One of the unique features of a government licensed bank is that they can issue that country’s national currency (i.e, dollars, yen,  pounds , etc.)

The key difference here is that a complementary currency bank may issue any other form of currency other than a national currency, and may do so without having to obtain a bank charter or license from a government entity. Such currencies go by many names – complementary currency, alternative currency, local or community currency, regional currency, people’s currency, virtual currency, private currency or money and more.

The U.S. Federal Reserve has acknowledged in an article titled “Private Money in our Past, Present, and Future” that U.S. citizens may issue their own money and throughout U.S. history have frequently done so.



The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) regulates a particular type of financial institution (like complementary currency banks) called money services businesses (MSBs).

If a financial institution establishes checking accounts where users can store their complementary currency and then manage the exchange of that currency between two or more users, then FinCEN labels that entity an MSB and requires it to register with FinCEN. Universal Exchange Inc. (UNIEX) is registered with FinCEN as an MSB.


UNIEX has been designed to issue a unique currency for every state, along with Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. That unique currency is your default currency, but you are free to acquire currencies from other states. When you set up your account, UNIEX determines your primary state and assigns your default currency.

Once you have established your UNIEX account you will then be able to buy and sell goods and services on your state’s marketplace (see Postings).

To establish a complementary currency account with UNIEX, please go to the Signup page.