How does the bank in Game of Thrones / ASOIF work? Withdrawing, depositing, etc.

As people can't always carry around their winnings, how do they withdraw and deposit money?

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    @LiamBrown There were banks before there were cards and electronics. If you're wondering about banking history, this is the wrong place to be.
    – TLP
    Oct 27, 2014 at 14:43
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    @LiamBrown You are clearly asking about banking history. That was a rhetorical question. Yes, they used ledgers and whatnot. How else? This is not explained in ASOIAF.
    – TLP
    Oct 27, 2014 at 15:06
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    wiki says "That being said, sometimes possession is an abstract concept. Thus someone being paid thousands of Gold Dragon coins will not have to physically carry them around, but will be presented with official financial documents declaring the transaction (much as a knight might find it difficult to carry around on his back a castle he has been granted, but can carry around a sealed charter as proof of the land grant)." Does that mean they show teller they have the amount in account and they can withdraw?
    – Liam Brown
    Oct 27, 2014 at 15:12
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    The bank is actually an invention of the Knight Templars (no, this is not a conspiracy theory). They managed to control various places in Holy Land, so a pilgrim could travel there with no money (less attacks from bandits) and use instead an encoded bill of exchange (Templars knew their cryptography...). See this for further research
    – Kreann
    Oct 27, 2014 at 16:05
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    @LiamBrown: Hi and welcome to StackExchange. Etiquette here is to only ask questions which cannot easily be answered by standard reference sources or use of Google. As other commenters have indicated, you are effectively asking, "how did banking work before modern communications?" This is (a) easily answered by Googling "history of banking", and (b) off-topic for SF & Fantasy SE (just like a generic question about historical sword-making or agriculture would be). Oct 27, 2014 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


The only bank we read about in the books is the Iron Bank of Braavos, which doesn't actually serve the common Westerosi. This doesn't however mean that there are no similar (though smaller) institutions elsewhere. However, since we have yet to come across any of them, then we can safely assume that once again they are not something the average Westerosi has access to.

Westeros is still a cash only society. Yes, you are expected to lug around all those gold dragons you won in the tourney with you. That's why we see wealthy merchants hire mercenaries and hedge knights to protect them (and by extension their money). Characters are often seen hiding their coins in inventive way to avoid losing it to a bandit.

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