Before you run out and pick up a few bank gift cards for your pickier family and friends this holiday season, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into first.
Banks have a history of riddling the cards with hidden fees and charges, but new consumer-driven regulations have cracked down on such practices.
LA Times’ reporter Scott J. Wilson lays out exactly what you need to know:
“Bank gift cards can’t expire for at least five years after purchase, according to the new federal rules. And if money is added to a card, that new money can’t expire for five years from the date added, even if the expiration date on the card comes sooner.
If the card expires before the added money does, you can get a replacement card from the issuer for no charge.
You cannot be charged an ‘inactivity’ or ‘dormancy’ fee on a bank gift card unless it has not been used for 12 months. Even then, you can be charged only one fee per month.”
Banks can still charge fees for purchasing the cards, however. For more of Wilson’s tips, check out the full story here.
If you’re unsure about your bank’s gift card policy, don’t be afraid to ask and always read the fine print.