A handy Christmas present from the U.S. federal government - some gift cards don’t expire thanks to the Credit CARD Act of 2009 signed into law on May 22, 2009. And here you thought you had to use them all up this year.
While the majority of the Act pertains to credit cards, the act also addressed changes to how federal law regulates gift cards. The new federal laws went into effect on August 22, 2010.
Every state is impacted: To see ScripSmart’s comparison between new federal gift card law vs. state gift card law click here. ScriptSmart ranks all the different gift card programs out there and keeps consumers aware of laws affecting the use of gift cards.
Cards Covered Under Federal Law
• Store issued gift cards (physical/plastic, electronic/email )
• Bank issued gift cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover)
Federal Gift Card Law: Expiration Dates
• Gift card funds may not expire before 5 years
• If a gift card is reloadable, any funds added to the card must remain valid for a full 5 years
Federal Gift Card Law: Post-sale Fees
• All fees must be clearly disclosed on the card or the card’s packaging
• Post-sale fees may be imposed only if the card has not been used for 1 year or more
• Only one post-sale fees may be charged per month
• Card Replacement fees are not allowed for card which expire, but funds have not expired (typically bank issued cards)
• Lost or stolen gift card replacement fees are allowed.
Exceptions to Federal Law
The new federal law excludes the following cards:
• Reloadable prepaid debit cards not intended for gift giving purposes
• Promotional or rewards cards given away for free by the issuer may expire in one year or have fees prior to one year.