Did you know that most gift cards are not allowed to expire or have fees? BC’s gift card speaks to expiry dates, when fees can be charged, and what information must be disclosed to you.
Read the Prepaid Purchase Cards Regulation
Gift cards for a specific dollar amount, for example, a $50 gift card to a spa, are not allowed to expire.
Expiry dates are allowed for:
- Cards issued for a specific good or service. For example, a gift certificate for a manicure can expire.
- Cards that were sold at a discount. For example, if a business discounted their services during a promotion or you bought a gift certificate at an auction.
- Cards sold for charitable purposes
- If the gift card was bought before 2009 (when the law came into force)
Fees can be charged for:
- Personalizing a card
- Replacing a lost or stolen card
- “Mall cards” that can be used at multiple un-related businesses. For example, a card that can be used throughout a shopping mall.
- They need to let you know about the extra fees
- Mall cards can charge up to a $1.50 service fee at the time of purchase
- If you do not use your card within 15 months, a monthly service charge can be applied to the remaining balance. This is called a ‘post-purchase fee.’ This information needs to be included on the card but you should always ask about these charges before deciding to purchase a mall card.
- The monthly post-purchase fee cannot be more that $2.50 per month.
If after 15 months you need more time to use the card, you can ask the issuer to delay monthly service charges by an extra 3 months.
By law, you must be told about any restrictions, limitations, terms and conditions on the card. The issuer must let you know the rules about using, redeeming and replacing your card. They must also include information about any charges that will apply.
Not sure if your card was issued by a federally-regulated financial institution? The easiest way to find out what type of card you have is to read the information on the back. If it was issued by a bank, trust or loan company, you likely have a general-use prepaid card. You can check to see if the institution found on the back of your card is listed on the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution website.
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