Fed keeps deadline for new gift card rules

The Federal Reserve refused to give retailers extra time to comply with new restrictions on gift card expiration dates, fees and disclosures, saying the rules will go into effect this summer as planned, according to a press release from the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The Fed issued the final version of rules implementing restrictions mandated under the Credit CARD Act signed into law last year. Beginning Aug. 22, gift cards will not be allowed to expire any sooner than five years after they are issued and dormancy fees will not be able to take effect less than a year after a card is issued. Any expiration dates or dormancy fees must be disclosed to customers before purchase.

NRF asked the Fed for a six-month delay in a requirement that expiration dates and dormancy fees be printed on the cards, saying retailers could honor the restrictions on dates and fees by August, but needed more time to get old cards without the proper disclosures printed on them off the shelves. However, the request was declined.

The Fed did acknowledge NRF’s concern that there might not be enough room to print disclosures on the cards, and revised the regulations to allow variations in type size and placement of disclosures “so long as the disclosures are clear and conspicuous.”

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