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New Rules for Gift Cards

New Rules for Gift Cards

            To say that gift cards, the plastic cards offered by many stores and sold for general use by some credit card issuers, are popular is an understatement.  To say, the Americans sometimes forget to use their gift cards, lose them or use only a portion of the dollar amount on a gift card is an understatement with a capital “U”.   All those unused gift cards are a major money maker for companies but after February 22, 2010 rules for gift cards will change for the better for consumers.

            In new credit card protection passed this year, Congress saw fit to include some consumer protections for gift card buyers and recipients.  The rules apply to retail cards and general gift cards but not to paper certificates, phone or rewards/loyalty cards.

            After February 22, 2010 (sorry not this Christmas season), gift cards are subject to these rules:

            Expiration: Cards can’t expire in less than five years from date of purchase or last time money was added to the card

            Fees: A monthly fee may be imposed only if the card is unused after 12 months.

            Disclosure of costs: fee information will be on the card or packaging.

            If you have old gift cards that were not used and were registered in your name, you may be able to get some of the money back through your states unclaimed property agency. 

 

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