Gift cards are a popular gift choice for many occasions, but it's important to know the rules and regulations that come with them. Federal law offers protection for gift cards, requiring that they cannot expire until at least five years after the date of activation. However, this doesn't mean that the card will last that long. For example, if you have a gift card for a restaurant, it could close in three years, making the card unusable.
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun. If you're considering buying gift cards for your grandchildren for the holidays, you may be wondering about expiration dates. What is the lifespan of a gift card? The gift card must be used as soon as possible. If not used within 12 months, inactivity fees or service charges can be charged to the card every month, reducing its value.
These fees must be reported to the user in advance and no more than one fee can be charged per month. To ensure that your grandchildren can use the full value of their cards, make sure they know when the fees will take effect. Carole Fleck is senior editor of the AARP Bulletin. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that allows people to choose how they live as they age.