Can I Extend the Expiration Date on a Gift Card?

Q: Do gift cards have an expiration date and can I extend the date if there is one?

A: If you have a gift card – perhaps something a card you received during the holidays or as a birthday gift – and you’re worried about it expiring, there’s no need to worry.

Thanks to the credit card reform legislation signed by President Obama, as of February 2010 gift cards now have new rules.

For starters, gift cards cannot legally expire before five years – as opposed to some gift cards that previously had a six or 12-month expiration date.

Additionally, you now have at least 12 months to use a gift card before any fees can be imposed that would erode the value of the card.

The law applies to gift cards from retailers, as well as general use gift cards, such as those with MasterCard or Visa logos. But the law doesn’t cover any paper gifts card or certificates, loyalty cards, reward cards, telephone or promotional cards.

Gift Cards: The Funny Hidden Messages Behind Giving and Receiving Gift Cards

There’s something else you should know about gift cards.

If you have a gift card that’s not used, or that still has value on it, you can sell it to someone else.

There are a number of gift card exchanges out there – like the one offered by CardHub.com – that will allow you to buy or sell gift cards.

So these gift card networks can be a way to make some quick cash – or purchase a gift card at a steep discount.

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