(WICHITA, Kan.) — You now have more time to use gift cards you receive this holiday season. New federal rules for gift cards will ban hidden fees and require that cards not expire for at least five years.
“It's a benefit to the consumer,” says Robbie Namee with the Better Business Bureau of Kansas.
It’s estimated that consumers spend $88 billion a year on gift cards. At least $5 billion worth go unused.
“They sit in my purse or a box at home and they stay there and they expire,” says Cindy Leis.
Here are the highlights:
- Cards purchased after August 22nd of this year must hold their value for five years.
- Each time you reload your card, the five-year clock starts on the amount you add.
- Cards can have expiration dates, but not your money
- If you card expires with money still on it, you can request the money be transferred to a new card. The provider must do this for free
- Fees must be visible on card
“Very good news,” says Leis who buys and receives many gift cards .
The rules apply whether the cards are bought online, through the individual stores, or at a grocery store or pharmacy.