Gift Cards

 Gift Cards

Gift Cards

Gift Card (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012A gift card may seem like the answer for the person who is hard to buy for or seems like they have everything.  There are a few things you should know.Gift cards are now subject to the federal CARD Act if they have been issued after August 22, 2010.

Gift cards often seem like the perfect solution for that person that is hard to buy for or that seems like they have everything. You may know they like books, sporting equipment, coffee or a myriad of other things, but exactly what would they like best?  Isn’t it sometimes better to leave it up to them?  Gift cards probably don’t project a lot of thoughtfulness but let’s face it.  Sometimes we just get stuck for ideas for a gift.  These cards operate completely outside the credit scoring system.  They only look like credit cards.  No reports are made to credit scoring agencies regarding their use or activity.

Gift cards issued are now subject to the federal CARD Act.

Under federal law they cannot expire for 5 years.  States are free to set stricter standards if they wish, but under no circumstances can their laws be more lenient.

Watch for Expiration of Gift Cards

Stores are allowed to charge an inactivity fee if the cards are not used within 12 months of the date of issuance. If you don’t spend it all you are entitled to the balance in cash if that balance is less than $1.00. This law does not apply to loyalty cards, promotional cards, phone cards or bank cards.  If the gift card is lost or destroyed, the recipient is out of luck.

These rules do not apply to free awards cards, loyalty cards, promotional cards, phone cards or bank cards.  No activity associated with gift cards is reported to the credit bureaus.  Their use does not affect your credit score one way or another.


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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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