Purchasing gift vouchers cheaper than their value
Is it permissible to purchase a gift voucher or a gift card from a company for £80 which is worth £100 in their store or a group of stores? Is Zakat due on such vouchers?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم
It is permissible. There is no ribā (usury) and no garar (uncertainty/ambiguity) in the transaction. It is clear from outset what the gift voucher/card can be used for and the end result is the purchase of goods at a cheaper cost. The voucher/card is not a form of currency neither does it represent a debt or a trust (amānah). Most gift vouchers/cards in the UK have expiry dates and therefore cannot represent a debt or a trust or act as currency. Their use is also limited.
Therefore, a gift voucher/card is a product in its own right which can be purchased at any cost that is mutually agreed similar to purchasing any other product. This is a stand-alone transaction. Once a person has purchased a gift voucher, he can gift it to someone else or sell it or use it himself. Whenever the gift card is used, a separate transaction occurs. It for this reason if the gift card is not used or is lost or expires, the person is not entitled to the goods he would have otherwise bought. This also demonstrates that it is not a debt or a trust or a form of currency. It is merely a product which can be used to purchase other products as stipulated by the issuer. Accordingly, such vouchers/cards are not Zakatable assets unless a person trades in them in which case Zakat will be due on their sale price, not the value of goods that can be purchased through them.
Allah knows best
3 Jumādā al-Thāniyah 1440 / 8 February 2019
Approved by: Mufti Shabbir Ahmed and Mufti Muhammad Tahir