WASHINGTON (WKOW) -- Before you buy gift cards this Christmas, you may want to brush up on federal law.
Ninety-five percent of Americans have bought gift cards in the past, according to the government.
Now the Federal Reserve is proposing new rules to protect consumers from unexpected costs or restrictions on gift cards.
The changes would give consumers at least five years to use gift cards before they expire. Also, service or inactivity fees would be permitted only under certain conditions. Fees could be charged if the consumer hasn't used the card for at least a year, if the consumer is given clear disclosures about them and no more than one fee is charged a month.
The new provisions are slated to take effect on Aug. 22. The government is accepting comments from the public and industry groups before then.
The Fed was directed to take the action under a law Congress passed in May.