University Credit Union

New Rules for Gift Cards

by Center for Personal Finance editors

Final rules to restrict fees and expiration dates on gift cards go into effect Aug. 22. The new rules also will require that gift-card terms and conditions be clearly stated at the time of purchase, according to a Federal Reserve Board announcement. However, necessary disclosure requirements on some cards issued before April 1 will not be effective until January 31, 2011. The rules implement the gift-card provisions of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009.

Gift card rules prohibit dormancy, inactivity, and service fees on gift cards unless:

An expiration date for funds underlying gift cards must be at least five years after the date the card was issued, or five years after the last date the card was reloaded. The rules cover network-branded gift cards, which are redeemable at any merchant that accepts the card brand, as well as retail gift cards that can be used to buy goods or services at a single merchant or affiliated group of merchants.

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