A gift card cannot expire for at least five years after the card was purchased or the last time it was loaded with money (which, in most cases, would be the purchase date). Since many gift cards display an expiration date so that they can be used online (most online order forms require that a card expiration date be entered), a card may have to be replaced within the first five years even if it still has funds on it. In such a case, the issuer cannot charge a fee for replacing the expired card within the first five years.
Many states do not permit gift cards to expire. (Typically, state law prevails if it is stronger than federal law.) Contact your state’s consumer protection office for more information. Find contact information in the Consumer Action Handbook.