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Credits or Ration Seals as they are called in Dead Space 3, are the future of currency utilized in the Dead Space universe, and are used to purchase items from Stores. Credits in Dead Space and its sequel comes in the form of Credit Chips.
In a time of recovery from planetary famine, ecological collapse, resource wars, and previous economic failure the Credit is the universally recognized unit of exchange in EarthGov territories, ships, colonies, and stations.
The Credit is a non-fluctuating unit of exchange likely based upon a modified form of Utilitarianism where the value of something is dictated not by supply and demand (in fact, demand probably factors very little into the economic models of the authoritarian Earth Gov), but by the estimated and later practical availability of resources and the utility of those resources in getting work done. Factors such as the estimated costs associated with transportation of resources doesn't seem to be taken into consideration as prices for a large number of goods appear flat regardless of location. This system of monetary value emphasizes the process of getting things done rather than making sure both parties are compensated for what they feel are owed for their time and skills. Wireless transfers of Credits and the shared control of accounts do not seem to be possible except in cases of legally recognized bondage, such as marriage.
Credits themselves are electronic chips with a preset amount of exchange units flash-recorded onto them. Designed to be used with a RIG, these chips likely work by being downloaded and then hard-wired to automatically wipe themselves clean in order to prevent fraud and a collapse of the utilitarian model. If a person wishes to transfer Credits from one RIG account to another, they must flash-record the amount they wish to exchange onto an empty chip, at which point it is already deducted from the account, and then physically hand it to another user. This prevents large-scale thefts while facilitating a partially free economy, and gives users a sense of solidarity to a unit of currency ostensibly based on nothing. Everyone has an anonymous Credit chip, and without it, they can't deal with one another. Even though it is not presented in the game, the chips appear to be supposed to be inserted into a specific slot, found for example in a Store, similar to a real life ATM machine. The credit chip appears to have a handle to ease the use of the chip in a device it is used on. The device will then presumably read the microchip located on the credit and the amount of credits the user has on the credit chip is then displayed on whatever he/she is using, such as the Store.
The ubiquity of Credit chips means they can be found anywhere and sometimes will show up in unexpected, even ridiculous places ranging from storage boxes to emergency supply lockers and even just lying randomly in various odd locations.
Credits are renamed to "Ration Seals" in Dead Space 3. They are used to buy Resource Packs instead of using dollars, euros or whatever real world money at the Downloadable Content Menu (DLC Menu) located at Benches. It is unknown if these are really credits, are truly part of the Dead Space story or are just some non-canon items used to buy better things from the store.
- Within Unitology, large donations of credits are required to gain higher rankings within the religion. An act that fueled Isaac Clarke's hatred towards his mother and also the religion itself.
- In addition to ranks, donations to the Church of Unitology, 400,000 credits, are rewarded with Advanced Unitologist RIGs.
- Lurkers can drop credits, among other items, despite the fact that they were once babies or late fetuses. Similarly, Infectors can drop items when killed despite lacking thumbs or any visible place where the items could be stored. For the Infector's case, the credits could have fused within the body of the victim as it transformed but with the case of the Lurkers, the reason is unknown.
- In Dead Space 2, a player can only have 999,999 credits, the count cannot progress beyond this value, any and all credit chips collected past that point will be rendered null and wasted.