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UK Gift Card & Voucher Association

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History of Vouchers & Gift Cards

Voucher & Gift Card History 1930 - 2008

Boots Gift Voucher


Theatre Tokens

(Click Image to enlarge)


· The first voucher was issued in 1932 - The Book Token

· 1936 Boots Gift Token launched later re-named Boots Gift Voucher



· 1960’s heralded the start of the consumer incentive


      Green Shield Stamps. As sales began to slow the original Green Shield stamp ‘catalogue’ shops from which shoppers could select their well earned gifts, were re-branded Argos in July 1973.


· 1972 The bonusbond gift voucher was the first ‘multi retailer’ gift voucher acquired by Grass Roots in 1982

· 1974 BemroseBooth produced Littlewoods Vouchers


· 1980's - majority of high street retailers have a gift voucher offering

· 1982 High Street Voucher launched, multi-redemption voucher targeted towards Christmas Savings customers. Could redeem at Woolworths, Dixons, John Collier, Dewhurst and Cordon Blue.  The voucher offered today has over 75 retailers and 19,000 stores nationwide.

· 1983 Luncheon Vouchers produced by BemroseBooth starting at 200million per year.

· 1983 High Street Voucher enters the B2B market

· 1984 The first Theatre Token launched purely covering Theatres in the West end. It now covers over 235 theatres nationally.

· 1985 Marks & Spencer launch the Marks & Spencer Gift Voucher


· 1990’s Theatre Tokens sold B2B

· 1990’s Marks and Spencer sold B2B

· 1997 ASDA gift card launched


· 2000, Argos Business Solutions launched the first electronic Gift card in the B2B market called ‘A-Card’. This product is still around today and can be used to collect points which in turn can be spent on a vast range of items within Argos and / or Homebase stores.

· 2002 - Debenhams issue the first gift card in the UK

· 2004 BemroseBooth assist John Lewis to produce the first web and store enabled gift voucher

· 2004 The High Street Voucher re-branded to Love2Shop and coincided with the launch of Love2play and Love2travel

· 2005  B2B sales of gift vouchers reaches 45% of the total market spend

· 2005 The Voucherline Gift Voucher launched

· 2006 The Voucherline Reward Card – gift card is launched

· 2006 - Sainsbury and WHSmith launch Gift Card Centres.  Total sales of gift Vouchers and cards reach £3bn.

· 2007 - Over 70 gift cards available in the UK and 11 retail chains host gift Card centres

· 2007 October Marks & Spencer Gift Cards launched in store

· 2007 in December The bonusbond gift card was launched

· 2008 Love2travel gift card launched

This is for information only and will be updated soon