Campus News

Read the fine print for gift cards

Gift cards make popular holiday gifts, but Michael Rupured, a financial specialist with UGA’s Cooperative Extension, suggests thoroughly reading and understanding the disclosures that come with the cards to make sure fees don’t decrease in value.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 established new rules to protect consumers. Money on gift cards must now be good for at least five years from the date the card is purchased. Value added to a gift card must also be good for five years from the date the money was added. If the five years run out and unspent money remains on the card, a  replacement card can be requested at no charge.

The new law requires clearer disclosure of any fees at the time of purchase. Read the terms and conditions before making purchases, and send them along to the recipient with the gift card. Include the receipt in case the card is lost or stolen. Maintenance and usage fees are restricted. You cannot be charged for using the gift card, not using the gift card, card maintenance or for adding money to the card unless the card has not been used for more than 12 months.