Skip to content

Amish Currency: What Money Do They Use?

The Amish are well-known for their refusal of modern technology and conveniences in favor of living a simple, faith-focused lifestyle. 

But it's not always clear how far that concept of "simplicity" goes. If the Amish have their own clothing, transportation, and communities — do the Amish also have their own currency?

In short, no, the Amish do not have a unique currency. They use American dollars like everyone else. 

Just like non-Amish people, the Amish need legitimate United States currency to do everything from earning a livelihood to paying taxes and everything in-between. 

But why doesn't the Amish way of life extend to currency? And would they ever create their own currency in the future?

We'll take a look at both of those questions in-depth below. 

1. Why Do the Amish Use American Dollars?

The Amish use American dollars (USD) because they exclusively live in the United States. 

Because of that, they generally don't have a need for any other currency except in the rare cases where they travel internationally. 

Even so, the vast majority of the wealth controlled by an Amish family and community will be in USD.

But why don't they use a community-centric currency? 

2. Why Don't the Amish Make Their Own Currency?

There are a lot of answers to this question. 

First, the Amish generally live in tight-knit communities that share similar beliefs. They pool their money in many cases to help with things like healthcare needs and other financial challenges that members of the community may face. 

They also take care of their elderly in mixed-generation households, and they tend to venerate and respect their elders are leaders of families, community, and faith. 

In other words, there's not a need for a unique currency because the Amish tend to give of themselves to each other. 

Second, the Amish — especially those in Lancaster, PA — interact with the non-Amish world on a weekly or daily basis. 

This could include everything from buying farm supplies to selling produce. 

This means that any Amish-centric currency would have to be in addition to standard USD, which would require an Amish person to look after two forms of currency at all times. 

Overall, that's a needless headache. 

Third, a bank wouldn't accept non-USD currency for an account unless an Amish person owned it. Even then, setting up an Amish-only bank would require exceptional investment and adhering to regulations that the Amish simply don't have time to do. 

Finally, the Amish are not a unified faith. Despite the fact that the Amish from Kansas share many characteristics with the Amish from Pennsylvania, there's no "high priest" or "pope" of the Amish as a whole. 

Each community acts as its own autonomous group with variations in mild decisions, like whether to use electricity, whether to paint your barn, and what color your buggy's roof should be

(Some Amish even use iPads these days.)

In summary, the Amish don't use their own form of currency because it would be far too complicated and far too ineffective at doing anything different from using USD. 

As a result, they use the same currency as other Americans. 

3. Would the Amish Ever Create Their Own Currency?

Almost certainly no

The amount of time, financial investment, and coordination required to use a unique currency just doesn't make sense for the Amish lifestyle. 

Since their goal is simplicity and modesty above nearly all else, there's barely even a philosophical argument to make for the use of a unique currency. 

In addition, using their own currency would further isolate them from a world with which they increasingly need to interact. Only the most rural and isolated Amish communities can avoid interaction with the modern world at large, and the others need to do things like buy groceries and pay taxes. 

Overall, there's just no benefit to the Amish using their own form of money.

Want to Hear More from Us?

Sign up for our newsletter!

We regularly write about the Amish, Lancaster, and questions about them. 

If you want to hear more from us, click the banner below and fill out the form.