Rules on Gift Vouchers in Ireland

New laws came into force in 2019 that gave consumers in Ireland more protection when buying or spending gift vouchers in Ireland.
So hopefully consumers can feel a bit safer when buying gift vouchers for Christmas presents now. But – with the problems caused by inflation and energy prices – there is still a chance of some retailers not being around by the end of 2023

A Summary of the Rules on Gift Vouchers in Ireland

(These rules do not apply to electronic money gift cards. These are cards such as One4all gift cards, that can be used in several different shops.)

  • Gift vouchers in Ireland must be valid for at least 5 years –
  • Traders cannot specify that a gift voucher has to be spent in one transaction.
  • Traders cannot charge a fee to change the name on a gift voucher, (if you have to register a name on the voucher).
  • If the balance remaining on a gift voucher is more than €1 after you buy something with it, a trader must reimburse the balance to you. They can give you cash, make an electronic transfer or give you another gift voucher.

(These new rules apply to gift vouchers or gift cards bought after 2nd December 2019)

The following vouchers are also exempt from these rules:

  • Vouchers that you can only use to buy specified goods and services at a discounted price, from a specified trader on a specified date, or for a specified period of 3 months or less. For example, vouchers from deals websites.
  • Vouchers issued as part of a customer loyalty or promotion scheme.
  • Vouchers issued as a refund for goods you returned to a trader.

What if the Retailer Goes Out of Business?

There will still be an issue with unspent gift vouchers if a retailer goes out of business. The gift vouchers will nearly always be worthless .
If you bought a gift voucher with a debit or credit card – then you could try and claim a refund from your card provider if the retailer goes out of business.

See more on how to claim chargeback on debit and credit cards here.

Getting a Refund on a One4all card.

A very common gift card/voucher in Ireland is the One4all Digital Gift Card . This is a pre-loaded card issued by GVS Prepaid (Europe) Limited.
One4all Digital Gift Cards are accepted as a contactless payment in many participating outlets. These are considered electronic money cards.

Some businesses like to use One4all Gift Cards to reward staff at Christmas. The card qualifies for the Government’s Benefit in Kind tax exemption, allowing businesses to reward their staff up to €1000 each free of tax, USC or PRSI

You may request a repayment of any credit balance outstanding on a One4all gift card by calling them on 01 870 8111. A Redemption Fee of €8 will be applied. No redemption fee is charged if you request it within 14 days of buying the card.

How to Transfer Money from One4all to A Bank Account

You may request a repayment of any credit balance outstanding on a One4all gift card by calling them on 01 870 8111

One4all will refund the balance to you by bank transfer to your nominated bank account. A Redemption Fee of €8 will be applied unless you request it within 14 days of buying the card.

If you received a One4All Card from a business (including a third party), One4All reserves the right to notify the corporation/business of the redemption request.   

If you received a One4All Card as part of the Irish Government’s annual Benefit in Kind allowance, they will not be able to process a refund directly to you because you or your employer may then be subject to a tax liability.  You must speak to the person who gave it to you if you are looking for a refund. 

One4all Inactivity Charges

Watch out for the One4all inactive balance charge of €1.45 per month which is charged after the Card has been in issue for 12 months and it is not used. (The charge kicks in after 18 months for cards issued in November and December).