Purchase Holiday Gift Cards Cautiously
November 27, 20012
By Stephanie West
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli has urged New Yorkers to pay special attention to fees and expiration dates when purchasing gift cards as holiday gifts.
“If you plan on giving gift cards this holiday season, my advice is pay attention," DiNapoli said. "Some gift cards have upfront fees or rules and restrictions that may diminish their value over time.
“If you find an old gift card, it may still have value, so try to spend it or see if the funds were turned over to my office as unclaimed funds. Be smart this holiday season and maximize your money.”
DiNapoli advised recipients to avoid inactivity charges by using the cards within a year of purchase. A significant number of gift card sellers have done away with inactivity fees, but consumers should ask when purchasing a card whether such fees apply.
Under the Federal Credit Card Act of 2009, many types of retail cards sold after August 22, 2010, are not permitted to charge inactivity fees unless the card has been inactive for at least 12 months. All terms and conditions for a card must be disclosed directly on the card, and gift cards may not expire within the first five years after purchase.