New Rules Prevent Gift Card Penalties

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The federal government revealed new rules, Tuesday, that will protect consumers from unexpected fees and restrictions on gift cards.

Under the new rules, gift cards must be good for at least five years.

Penalty fees for not using the cards can only be charged after a year and those fees must be clearly explained before purchase.

Gift card use is on the rise.  The government says 95 percent of Americans either purchase or receive them.

The new rules do not go into effect until Aug. 22, but New York Sen. Charles Schumer said he wants to see faster implementation.

"Now that the new rules are finalized, we will work with the Fed to speed up the effective date rather than keep consumers at risk of being ripped off until next summer," Schumer said. "These new rules will curb the abusive fees and early expiration dates that can drain gift cards of their value before they are ever even used."

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