Pa. bill would eliminate gift card fees, expiration dates

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania senator has introduced legislation to eliminate expiration dates and inactivity fees that lower the value of gift cards.

Sen. Rob Teplitz (D-Dauphin/Perry) said his proposal would go beyond the protections of the federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009.

The CARD Act says money on store-issued and bank-issued cards cannot expire before five years and inactivity fees are prohibited unless the card is not used for 12 months.

Teplitz’s measure, Senate Bill 150, would prohibit the sale of gift cards and gift certificates that have an expiration date, service charge, dormancy fee, account maintenance fee, cash-out fee, replacement card fee or activation or reactivation fee.

“A gift card is a practical gift that many people receive during the holidays and throughout the year. Unfortunately, despite federal regulation, some companies still try to insert limitations that devalue the card and ultimately short-change the consumer,” Teplitz said in a news release. “My bill would protect Pennsylvania consumers who purchase or use a gift card in Pennsylvania by ensuring that the card retains its actual value, no matter when the gift is used.”

Teplitz said if his legislation is approved, Pennsylvania would join 38 other states that have enacted additional gift card protections beyond the CARD Act. Most of those states have eliminated inactivity fees and expiration dates.

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