New York State law has changed when it comes to gift cards. Here's what you should know before you buy them as gifts for the holidays. Last year, Governor Hochul signed major changes to gift card laws into effect in New York State. The new law took effect on Saturday, December 10, 2022.

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Before you start complaining that New York tries to regulate everything, the changes work in favor of consumers in New York, offering added protections and options. It's nice to see these changes since most of us lose out when it comes to gift cards. According to USA Today,

Even if you know you received a gift card recently, a problem people have is holding on to them for too long (29%) or not knowing where it is (25%). Another problem was having a gift card for so long that the business closed before the card could be used. In total, 47% of gift card owners eventually lose out on the gift money.

 

What Does The New Gift Card Law Change In New York State?

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The law does a few things when it comes to making gift cards in New York more consumer-friendly:

- Gift cards purchased after December 10, 2022, will now last for at least nine years from the day they were purchased, giving cardholders plenty of time to use the funds.

- If there is less than $5 left on the card, cardholders can get cash for the balance.

- The new law prohibits all fees to stop gift cards and gift certificates from losing some of their value.

The law specifically forbids the imposition of any “activation fees, retroactive fees, redemption fees, service fees, dormancy fees, latency fees, administrative fees, handling fees, access fees, periodic fees, renewal fees, re-loading fees, or any other fee of any kind.” There is one exception to the law. A gift card or gift certificate that is redeemable at multiple, unaffiliated merchants or service providers may charge a one-time activation fee, not to exceed $9.

You can read more about the gift card law here.

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