Credits (abbreviated as "CR") is a standardized universal currency accepted throughout human-inhabited space, from the Core Systems to the Colonia Region. All goods and services are valued and calculated in credits. All credit transactions occur electronically, as credits have no physical coinage or banknotes. Every Commander has an account with the Bank of Zaonce, and can check their current credit balance by viewing the Status menu in the right HUD panel, or the Starport Services menu when docked at a Station or Surface Port.
Credits are a form of "virtual finance" that has been in use for centuries, representing an arbitrary unit of measurement that has long been forgotten. The credit's value is backed by a conglomerate of interstellar banks, including the Bank of Zaonce. Financial systems that handle credits are generally automated and allow for transfers of funds to occur immediately.
Over 98% of human civilisation uses the credit as its primary form of currency. Alternative physical currencies are rare, but are occasionally seen in feudal or anarchy states where electronic infrastructure may be lacking or viewed as intrusive. Barter and trade are also sometimes used as substitutes for the galactic financial system.
Physical "credit packs", which act as storage for a set amount of credits, are available through banks, but are considered suspicious since they can be used to circumvent electronic tracking systems. Small denomination credit packs are often given as gifts.
"The Interstellar Credit (cr) is the universal currency as regulated by the Bank of Zaonce. However, it’s a rather big unit of currency. The approximate value of even a single credit is about $50 in 21st century money. You don’t buy candy bars, meals at fast food restaurants or underwear with credits (unless it’s very nice underwear, of course)."
"The Micro-Credit (mcr) is used for civilian-sized purchases. There are 100 micro-credits to the credit. A micro-credit is about 50 cents in today’s currency. The Unit (u) is small change, with a hundred units to the micro-credit. A Unit is worth a half cent and is generally used only in the child economy or as a rounding fraction to calculate interest. Most adults never consciously use it."