New Gift Card Rules Go Into Effect in August

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Check your gift card inventory; retailers have until August to comply with new government restrictions on gift card expiration dates, fees and disclosures.

The Federal Reserve this week issued final rules implementing restrictions mandated under the Credit Card Act, which was signed into law last year: http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20100323a.htm

If your store issues gift cards, here's what you need to comply with starting Aug. 22:

  • Gift cards cannot expire any sooner than five years after they are issued.
  • You cannot implement a dormancy fee less than a year after a card is issued.
  • If your cards have expiration dates or dormancy fees, you must disclose this information to customers before they purchase the card. And you must print the expiration date and/or dormancy fee information on the gift card itself.

Start preparing now. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is trying to convince the Fed to advance the deadline but hasn't yet proposed a new date.

Posted by Mary Slepicka