Will Your Gift Cards Expire?
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Will Your Gift Cards Expire?

Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 at 7:00 am
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Gift cards make excellent gifts. You can buy one for a friend or family member who is difficult to buy for. Receiving a gift card means you get to pick out something nice for yourself. Will your gift cards expire before you can use them up?

In 2009, the United States Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act. It provides some protection for consumers who use gift cards.

Here is a summary of the CARD Act on the National Conference of State Legislatures website:

“The law provides that gifts cards cannot expire within five years from the date they were activated and generally limits inactivity fee on gift cards except in certain circumstances, such as if there has been no transaction for at least 12 months.”

The following states prohibit expiration dates on gift cards: California, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Rhode Island.

Maine says: “A period of limitation may not be imposed on the owner’s right to redeem the gift obligation or stored-value card.” Montana says: “A gift certificate is valid until redemption and does not terminate.” New Hampshire prohibits an expiration date for gift certificates valued at less than $100.

Oregon limits the situations in which a gift card can have an expiration date to some very specific rules. Washington does not allow expiration dates on gift cards unless no money was paid for the gift card.

All the other states do allow gift cards to expire. You might want to scroll through the CARD Act website to learn the full details about what your state does, and does not, allow.

Some states allow gift cards to expire after a certain amount of years. Others allow expiration dates on gift cards if the card makes the expiration date very obvious. When in doubt – use up the gift card as soon as possible.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.