Last week, I listened to a webinar on the new gift card rules that take effect on Aug. 22 under the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Consumers can expect mostly positive changes in terms of fees and disclosures.
The rules prohibit inactivity or periodic “service fees” such as ATM fees from depleting the funds unless there has been no activity on the card for a year. Gift card issuers who put expiration dates on their cards also have to make sure that customers can purchase gift cards that will remain valid for at least five years. Certain disclosures will have to be on the card itself.
The rules do not apply to all prepaid cards. Cards not marketed as gift cards, including rebate cards, are excluded.