Lien currency takes the form of a plastic card with a black magnetic reader strip on the back and a small notation on the front. Several different colors of lien are seen, including turquoise, pink, yellow and blue. The Lien symbol is an L crossed with two horizontal lines (Ⱡ), similar to some real-world currencies such as Yen and Euros.
In "Ruby Rose", when Roman Torchwick and his Henchmen rob From Dust Till Dawn, the Shopkeep offers to give him all of his Lien. Roman refuses to take them, instead ordering his henchmen to steal the store's entire supply of Dust.
In "Best Day Ever", Emerald Sustrai offers Mercury Black some money that she pick-pocketed in return for him shutting up, but he declines her offer. In "Round One", Emerald pickpockets Ruby Rose's wallet, filled with Lien, only to return it to her claiming that she found it.
Oscar unsuccessfully uses a Lien card to pay for a train ticket in "Kuroyuri".
In "Known by its Song", Qrow pays the Ramen Shop Owner in order to clear Shiro Wan of his debt.
- In RWBY: Grimm Eclipse Horde Mode, Lien is used as a currency to purchase turret defenses, and is earned by defeating enemies.
- In RWBY: Amity Arena, Lien is used to purchase cards in a store (ran by the Shopkeep) and upgrade the units featured in said cards, and is earned both by battling and completing missions. It takes the form of coins.
- In the episode "Ruby Rose", when his men are defeated, Roman sarcastically remarks that they were "[truly] worth every cent." This could indicate that cents are a smaller denomination of Lien. A Lien penny is later shown in the short "Find a Penny" in "Magic Show", the third episode of RWBY Chibi Season 2.
- In the real world, a "lien" refers to the legal claim a creditor has on a debtor's property, should they fail to meet the obligations of a loan contract, although the two words are pronounced differently, with the currency being pronounced phonetically in two syllables, the English word using the two letters to represent a single vowel.
- Ruby Rose's outfit in the first three volumes cost about 20 lien to make.