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Are Expiration Dates Legal On Gift Certificates

Updated on March 10, 2010
Visa Gift Card
Visa Gift Card

Introduction

There is a lot of misunderstandings about the legality of expiration dates at the moment on gift cards.  For many years, people have seen their gift cards expire, or acquire so many fees that they simply become worthless.  In 2009, Congress passed the Credit Card Act of 2009.  This Act put quite a few new rules on what banks and stores could do with gift certificates.

The New Rules

The new rules are as follows:

-Gift card must last a minimum of 5 years without expiring

-Gift cards may not be charged fees for at least one year.

-When additional funds are loaded onto a gift card (such as a Visa gift card), the 5 year period for not expiring is reset.

However, some states already have stronger laws than this on the books. For those states with stronger laws, those laws still apply. These rules are simply the minimum federal rules that all states must follow.  If you'd like to see the rules for your individual state, please check below.

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