Is It Permissible to Buy Pre-Loaded Gift Cards with Discount on eBay?

gift cards

Question:

I wanted to know if it is permissible to purchase gift cards from ebay at a lower price. Example a £135 gift card is being sold for £120.

Can we purchase that or is that not permissible in Islam?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

The Answer:

It is not permissible to purchase or sell pre-loaded gift cards at a different rate to the loaded monetary value.  Furthermore, in many gift cards, it is against the agreement to sell to third parties. 

The Fiqh (jurisprudence of the answer):

The money loaded onto a gift card is a form of e-money as discussed in the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)[1].  Furthermore, the FCA has regarded e-money as a monetary value represented by a claim on the issuer[2].

From an Islamic jurisprudence perspective, the money loaded onto the card will be maḍmūn (guaranteed) and effectively a dayn (claim).  It is not permissible to transact such claims with other than the debtor[3].

And Allah Ta’ālā Alone Knows Best

Mufti Faraz Adam al-Mahmudi,
www.darulfiqh.com

 

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[1] FCA (2013) ‘The FCA’s role under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011’ Available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/81328/emoney_directive_consultation.pdf

“E-money is not strictly a surrogate for cash. Nor are prepaid cards a direct substitute for debit or credit cards. E-money works best when it facilitates new solutions to existing problems. This is, first, because e-money has its own cost and revenue structures, depending on different business models; and secondly, because customers tend to switch away from existing payment methods only when e-money offers a better way to make a payment. The most successful emoney applications have been those that have solved specific problems. Examples include path breaking ways to make internet payments; send and receive money on-line; a host of prepaid card applications such as gift cards and travel money cards; and nascent mobile phone payment methods.”

[2] FCA (2013) ‘ The FCA’s role under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011’ Available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/81328/emoney_directive_consultation.pdf

2.2 Regulation 2 defines e-money as monetary value represented by a claim on the issuer that is:

 • stored electronically, including magnetically;

• issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of making payment transactions (see regulation 2 of the PSRs);

 • accepted as a means of payment by persons other than the issuer; and

• is not excluded by regulation 3 of the EMRs (see paragraphs 2.4-2.6 below). 2.3 Examples of e-money include prepaid cards that can be used to pay for goods at a range of retailers, or virtual purses that can be used to pay for goods or services online.

[3] وَلَا يَنْعَقِدُ بَيْعُ الدَّيْنِ مِنْ غَيْرِ مَنْ عَلَيْهِ الدَّيْنُ؛ لِأَنَّ الدَّيْنَ إمَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ عِبَارَةً عَنْ مَالٍ حُكْمِيٍّ فِي الذِّمَّةِ، وَإِمَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ عِبَارَةً عَنْ فِعْلِ تَمْلِيكِ الْمَالِ وَتَسْلِيمِهِ، وَكُلُّ ذَلِكَ غَيْرُ مَقْدُورِ التَّسْلِيمِ فِي حَقِّ الْبَائِعِ، وَلَوْ شَرَطَ التَّسْلِيمَ عَلَى الْمَدْيُونِ لَا يَصِحُّ أَيْضًا؛ لِأَنَّهُ شَرَطَ التَّسْلِيمَ عَلَى غَيْرِ الْبَائِعِ فَيَكُونُ شَرْطًا فَاسِدًا فَيَفْسُدُ الْبَيْعُ، وَيَجُوزُ بَيْعُهُ مِمَّنْ عَلَيْهِ؛ لِأَنَّ الْمَانِعَ هُوَ الْعَجْزُ عَنْ التَّسْلِيمِ، وَلَا حَاجَةَ إلَى التَّسْلِيمِ هَهُنَا (بدائع الصنائع ج 5 ص 148 دار الكتب)

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