New York is getting updated rules for gift cards

back side of a gift cardNewly-signed state legislation is changing the rules about fees and expiration dates for gift cards sold by retailers.

The state Assembly and Senate passed the legislation in June, and the governor signed it this week. The rules:

+ The time period in which fees can be charged to unused gift card balances increases from 13 to 25 months. And monthly service fees that are applied after that period must be waived if the consumer uses the gift card within three years of the issue date.

+ No gift card can have an expiration date of earlier than five years from the date it's issued or funds were last added to it.

+ The gift card's terms and conditions must describe exactly what the procedure is to replace a missing card.

The federal government changed the rules for both retail gift cards and bank gift cards in 2010, and this state legislation appears to piggyback on that. The five-year rule was part of the federal rules change -- the two-year waiting period for fees extends the federal rule's one year period. [FTC]

One of the problems with gift cards is that people tend to forget about them, or forget about the odd balance left on them. Cumulatively, that adds up to billions of dollars. [Barrons]

The new state rules take effect for cards issued December 24 of this year and after.

The Scoop

For a decade All Over Albany was a place for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. It was kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who could help you find out what's up. AOA stopped publishing at the end of 2018.

Recently on All Over Albany

Thank you!

When we started AOA a decade ago we had no idea what was going to happen. And it turned out better than we could have... (more)

Let's stay in touch

This all feels like the last day of camp or something. And we're going to miss you all so much. But we'd like to stay... (more)

A few things I think about this place

Working on AOA over the past decade has been a life-changing experience for me and it's shaped the way I think about so many things.... (more)

Albany tightened its rules for shoveling snowy sidewalks last winter -- so how'd that work out?

If winter ever gets its act together and drops more snow on us, there will be sidewalks to shovel. And shortly after that, Albany will... (more)

Tea with Jack McEneny

Last week we were fortunate enough to spend a few minutes with Jack McEneny -- former state Assemblyman, unofficial Albany historian, and genuinely nice guy.... (more)

Recent Comments

My three year old son absolutely loving riding the train around Huck Finn's (Hoffman's) Playland this summer.

Thank you!

...has 27 comments, most recently from Ashley

Let's stay in touch

...has 4 comments, most recently from mg

A look inside 2 Judson Street

...has 3 comments, most recently from Diane (Agans) Boyle

Everything changes: Alicia Lea

...has 2 comments, most recently from Chaz Boyark

A few things I think about this place

...has 13 comments, most recently from Katherine