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Released: August 15, 2010
Help Desk FAQ
Can gift cards have an expiration date or charge service fees?
Yes, but the money on your gift card will be good for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. Any money that might be added to the card at a later date must also be good for at least five years.
If your gift card has an expiration date on it, you still may be able to use unspent money that is left on the card after that date. For example, the card may expire in five years but the money may not expire for seven. If your card expires with an unspent balance, you can request a replacement card at no charge. Check your card to see if expiration dates apply. Many states do not permit gift cards to expire. (Typically, state law prevails if it is stronger than federal law.) Consumers Union provides a list of gift card laws by state.
All fees must be clearly disclosed on the gift card or its packaging. There may be a fee to purchase the card, a usage/transaction fee, a fee for adding money to the card, a fee to replace a lost or stolen card, a monthly maintenance fee and other fees.
Many gift card fees are limited. For example, a dormancy fee can be charged if you haven't used your card for at least one year, but you can only be charged one such fee per month.
Gift card fees typically are subtracted from the money on the card.
Make sure you read the card disclosures carefully to know what fees your card may assess.
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