UC SMILES are Urbana-Champaign's own local currency. This currency was established to support locally owned and operated business and to promote a healthy local economy.
some of the pleasant side effects of using UC SMILES are:
- keep your dollars local
- help create and retain local jobs
- DO NOT support big banks
- increase our community culture
- lower your environmental footprint
One dollar buys one UC Smile. These beautiful bills (designed by an Urbana artist!) are printed in $1, $5 and $20 denominations.
After fillling your wallet with UC SMILES, each smile is spent at a locally owned and operated business and in its next incarnation it is spent ONLY at another locally owned and operated business, and so on, and so on....they never leave our community!
In contrast, as illustrated above, the use of regular currency even in a locally owned and operated store may often find its next incarnation going into the hands of a big box store or chain restaurant where most of its value leaves the community.
When comparing UC SMILES spending to debit and credit card transactions, there are even more benefits to the local economy. Every time a customer swipes their card at a business, the store owner is charged a fee (anywhere from a 3% to 10%) that must come out of their profit and goes to the big banks of the world. By using UC SMILES you are ensuring that the business owner gets the full value for their hard work. This can keep prices down too!