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Robert Longley

Fed Posts New Gift Card Rules

By April 23, 2010

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The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) has posted a helpful online explanation of new federal regulations designed to help consumers protect themselves against harmful gift card practices.

The new gift card regulations, which take effect on August 22, 2010, are intended to ensure that consumers who give or receive gift cards are not surprised by expired cards and are protected from certain fees that reduce their face value.

The new rules apply to gift cards issued by individual stores and to gift cards issued under the MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover brand logos. The rules do not apply to other types of prepaid cards such as reloadable prepaid cards that are not intended for gift-giving purposes or cards given as a reward or as part of a promotion.

Under the new rules, the amount of money shown on a gift card must be honored for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. In addition, any money that might be added to the card at a later date must also be good for at least five years. The regulations also ensure consumers' right to replacement cards, require full disclosure of all fees related gift cards and place limits on those fees.

"Gift cards have become a common and convenient gift alternative," stated the FRB in a press release. "The Board's new rules help ensure that consumers who give or receive gift cards are not surprised by expired cards and are protected from certain fees that reduce their value."

Also See:
New Credit Card Rules
Federal Regulations: Laws Behind the Acts
Costs and Benefits of Government Regulations

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Comments

April 23, 2010 at 10:52 am
(1) Judd says:

Great summary. Consumers of every state will be impacted by these new federal laws in one way or another. I think the most important piece of this legislation is including bank issued gift cards because most states with good gift card laws, specifically exclude bank issued cards from the law.

Visit ScripSmart for a summary of new federal gift card law vs. state gift card law.

January 11, 2011 at 12:27 am
(2) James says:

A very good innovation. But how will this affect free gift cards I do not understand
The law refers only to companies Visa, AMEX, MasterCard
But what will happen with the cards from companies such as Amazon, Kmart, I did not understand.

January 11, 2011 at 12:33 am
(3) John @ free gift cards says:

A very good innovation. But how will this effect free gift cards I do not understand!
The law refers only to companies Visa, AMEX, MasterCard
But what will happen with the cards from companies such as Amazon, Kmart, I did not understand

February 12, 2011 at 11:37 pm
(4) Elliot says:

If I purchase discounted gift cards, are they good for another 5 years, or am I stuck with the original expiration date?

February 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm
(5) Michelle Price, Get Free Gift Cards Online says:

Hi Elliot,

The gift card regulations are based on each gift card, not each customer. Whether you receive discounted or even some free gift cards, you are linked to the original gift card expiration terms.

Even if you add more money to the cards, you might end up with two expiration dates. For example, if you have a $100 card that expires in 2012, and you add $50 to it in 2011, you will be left with $100 that expires in 2012 and $50 that expires in 2016+.

Hope that helps!

August 17, 2012 at 6:33 pm
(6) Carla Steagall says:

Dear Sirs:
i come to you to see if you can help me , I was an associate @Home Depot purchasing some items and returning others.
The cashier made a mistake and instead of putting 3.50 dls issued it for 66.00 dls, she told mamagement the same day, seven days went by nobody said anything , then fired me for theft.
Can you help .

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