New Law Establishes Additional Consumer Protections for Gift Cards

A new law increases the minimum time before gift cards can be charged a user fee, places additional restrictions on those fees and expands the expiration dates of gift cards in order to protect consumers. Under this new law, the time period before fees can be charged to unused gift card balances has been increased from 13 to 25 months and any monthly service fees that are applied after this time must be waived if the consumer uses the gift card within three years of the issue date. In addition, this law will require the gift card’s terms and conditions to describe exactly what the procedure is to replace a missing card. Finally, no gift card may have an expiration date of earlier than five years from the date of issuance. These changes do not affect gift cards issued to consumers prior to the law taking effect, but you should check to make sure your gift card issuer makes the necessary changes before you sell new gift cards.