Introducing OptionsCard — Our New Irish Multi-Brand Digital Gift Card

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On 16th October 2023, Ovation Incentives introduced OptionsCard — a groundbreaking Irish multi-brand digital gift card, to help address consumer concerns regarding fees and infuse the Irish voucher market with a fresh emphasis on trust and transparency. OptionsCard has a no-fee policy and ensures a constantly visible live balance in your mobile wallet. The primary goal is to challenge prevailing perceptions of unfairness associated with existing gift card products and alleviate consumer concerns.

Almost Half Of Consumers In Ireland Hit By Gift Card Fees

What is OptionsCard?

OptionsCard is Ireland’s new multi-choice digital gift card. A no-fee and no-fuss gifting solution. It offers a great gifting experience by allowing the recipient to choose instantly delivered digital gift cards from Ireland's best retail brands. The OptionsCard is simple to use with no registration, passwords, or apps required. It is easily sent and spent by customising the value and delivery type, whether it's through email, text, or a PDF.

The card has unique features such as no fees or charges, a 5-year validity period, and the ability to add it to your mobile wallet. OptionsCard also allows you to regift your card, sharing your balance with family and friends, making it a convenient option for gifting. With a wide range of big brand retailers available, there are exclusive offers and discounts for OptionsCard holders. Employers can use OptionsCard as a perfect reward for their team and take advantage of the Irish Revenue's small benefit exemption scheme, that allows employers to provide tax-free gifts up to €1,000 per annum to employees. Overall, OptionsCard provides a hassle-free and customizable gifting experience for both individuals and businesses.

What is the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme?

The Small Benefit Exemption Scheme in Ireland allows employers to provide a benefit in kind (BIK) to their employees. This is a gift in non-cash form provided to employees without incurring tax liabilities. This makes it an incredibly attractive proposition for large and small businesses to reward employees in a tax efficient way. This scheme is particularly relevant for employers looking to offer small tax free gifts or benefits to their employees.

Under the Small Benefit Exemption Scheme, employers can provide tax free vouchers and other non-cash benefits to employees up to a certain value, and these benefits are exempt from income tax, Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI), and the Universal Social Charge (USC). The exemption applies to benefits such as gift cards, vouchers, a non cash bonus, or any other other non cash gift from employer.

Currently, the maximum value of the benefit that can be provided tax-free under this scheme is €500 per employee, up to twice per tax year (€1,000 total value). If there are more than two bonuses paid to an employee, per year, then these will be subject to tax.

Irish Consumers Speak Out: The Impact of Gift Card Charges

A consumer sentiment survey conducted by iReach, encompassing over 1,000 adults nationwide and commissioned by, revealed that nearly half (46%) of surveyed adults have encountered a reduction in funds on gift cards due to administration or non-usage fees. A significant 80% of respondents expressed the belief that such fees on gift cards are unjust.

The majority of participants (86%) voiced dissatisfaction with the practice of imposing a monthly administration fee on the unused balance of a gift card after 12 months or a period of inactivity, deeming it unfair. The research brought to light a prevailing negative sentiment toward multi-brand and "spend anywhere" gift cards within the Irish market.

Furthermore, the survey uncovered that 71% of gift card givers experience anxiety, fearing the potential application of administration or non-use fees to their gifts.

Share the Value: OptionsCard Redefines Gifting in Ireland

OptionsCard stands out as the sole gift card in the Irish market that empowers users to share or re-gift all of, or a portion of their balance. The survey findings unveiled that 37% of respondents are willing to share their final €20 in gift card value with a family member, while 31% would extend this generosity to their partners.

Designed to offer individuals and companies a unique gift card experience, OptionsCard aims to eliminate the constraints and expenses often encountered by employers rewarding their staff and consumers sending gifts.

Gift Cards Hold a Special Significance Compared to Cash

The study further highlighted that 62% of consumers consider a gift card a unique indulgence, opting to use it for something beyond their regular purchases, such as a premium product or experience. The innovative OptionsCard offers redemption options for over 60 premium digital gift cards at its launch, featuring renowned brands like Brown Thomas, Meadows & Byrne, Ikea, and Ticketmaster.

In terms of annual purchases, women lead in buying gift cards, with 57% of respondents acquiring up to 4 gift cards, surpassing the 39% of male respondents.

Seamless Spending and Gifting with OptionsCard

Jonathan Grey, MD of, expressed during the launch, 'The research confirms what we already know anecdotally: people can't understand why some gift cards have fees and are looking for an alternative they can trust. That's why we created the OptionsCard — to provide businesses and consumers with a world-class gifting experience, free from fees and fuss.'

'We only earn an income when a customer redeems their OptionsCard – that means we want our customers to have the best possible experience, use their OptionsCard and share it with their friends and family. It's not in our interest to see a gift card go unused, that's why we've made it easy to send and easy to spend.'

OptionsCard holders gain access to exclusive special offers and promotions from retail brand partners. By combining two or more OptionsCards, consumers can amplify their buying power.

As the Irish gift card market rapidly expands, driven in part by a tax exemption allowing employers to provide tax-free gifts up to €1,000 per annum to employees, OptionsCard is poised to make a significant impact. With a market size approaching €800m, the average spending on gift cards in Ireland is up to 66% more per person than the European average at €135 per person vs. €81 per person (Source: IMA Europe - European Incentive Market Report - March 2023)."