The history of gift cards

Gift cards originated in the 1930s and first appeared as book tokens. Their popularity has seen them evolve over time to the e-gift cards that we have today. They remain a popular choice for both gift givers and receivers and have stood the test of time as a token of gratitude, well-wishing and celebration.  

The first store in the UK to introduce a gift card was one of the oldest shops on the high street which remains today – the chemist Boots. The favourite high street retailer was one of the first to introduce gift vouchers which could be used in any of their shops across the country.

Following the success of the Boots gift card, other stores then followed. Gift vouchers originally came in the form of paper tokens, but these were easily lost and were later replaced by the credit card shaped gift card that we know today.  

These prepaid gifts cards are redeemable with all kinds of businesses and brands, and today most consumer brands have a gift giving option available. Many people choose to give gift cards as presents as they make a more personable alternative to giving cash as a present.

Gift cards also give the receive the option to choose the present that they want, rather than receiving a personal gift that they perhaps might not like. Gift cards have surged in popularity since the 1930s as they really do save the embarrassment of giving the wrong present.  

As the retail landscape on the high street has evolved, so has the giving of gift cards. All major brands and retailers now offer e-gift cards which can be redeemed electronically on a businesses’ online store as well as being used in a traditional bricks and mortar store.

Here at Voucher Town we deal exclusively in e-gift cards. This allows us to send the gift cards to our eager gift givers and shoppers immediately, and they can choose whether to spend the gift card in store on a traditional shopping trip or online from the comfort of their own home.


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