The local grocery store sells gift cards to shop in their store. The way it works is you buy a 100-dollar gift card today and then next time you come in then you get 110 dollars, but you cannot use that day obviously because then you could just buy one and get a discount on the spot. Would this be a ribbis issue as I am basically giving the store a hundred-dollar loan today and getting paid back more next week. Or possibly it’s not like the store is giving extra because of the loan rather the owner agrees to forgo some profit in order to guarantee that the customer should come back so and buying the gift card is just a way to know the customer will come back. So we wouldn’t look at it like the buyer is getting more because of the loan rather it’s like the stores advertising cost?
It is permitted to buy the gift card even though you cannot use it that day. The reason is because although the store is getting the money slightly before giving the product, however since it is evident that the reason for getting the extra value is not because they got a loan from the customer. For example, since the store allows the customer to use a credit card to buy the gift cards, they are not going to get paid from the credit card company until after the purchase is already made. Additionally, even if they would only accept cash, since the amount of time you have to wait is so short it is clear that it isn’t being done for the advanced payment of the money. This is in addition to what you wrote that it is evident that the reason for this condition is that the customer should visit the store again and hopefully buy more things.
Bris Pinchos 8-46.