This New Law in New York Will Help You Cash Out Old Gift Cards

There's also a new ban on hidden fees and restrictions on expiration dates.

It's the holiday season, which means one thing: gift cards. Thankfully, new legislation means New York residents will now have more options when it comes to those pesky bits of plastic that always seem to accumulate in a forgotten drawer. 

In a bid to protect consumers, a package of laws recently signed by Governor Kathy Hochul puts new restrictions on gift cards. We all know the frustration of having small amounts of money left on cards, and the law will, first and foremost, allow consumers to exchange their gift cards for cash when the remaining balance is less than $5.

It also puts a nine-year minimum on expiration dates for gift cards from the date issued, meaning your cards must be accepted for nearly a decade. There's also a new ban on hidden fees, including those charged at the time of purchase and ones for "dormancy" of an older card. This means gift cards that decline in value over time are now banned. 

Altogether, these laws are meant to help consumers get the most out of their cards and not lose out on arbitrary fees and expiration dates. You can learn more about the new laws here.

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Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.