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What should I consider before purchasing a gift card?

Before purchasing a gift card, you should read the product disclosures (which may be included on the packaging or on the card) to understand the terms and conditions of the account.

Issues to consider include the following:

  • Any fees that apply during or after the sale that reduce the value of the card
  • What to do if the card is lost or stolen
  • What to do if there are problems with the card
  • Where the card can be used
  • How to claim any unused portion of the card

If the gift card has an expiration date, the date must be at least five years after the date on which funds were last loaded on the card.

Every year billions of dollars in gift cards expire unused. If purchasing a gift card for someone else, you may want to consider the likelihood that the recipient will use it.

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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