Under federal law, the funds on your gift card have to be good for at least five years after purchase of the card. And, if you add money after purchase, those funds also have to be good for five years.
Dormancy fees can only be charged after a year of inactivity. At that point, you can be charged one dormancy fee per month. (There are other fees you can still be charged, such as usage, maintainance and replacement card fees, though not all cards charge these.)
Some states have laws that are even stronger than federal law. Typically, state law supersedes federal law if it provides greater protections for consumers. (View state laws at the National Conference of State Legislatures website, or contact your state consumer protection agency for information (find contact information in the Consumer Action Handbook).
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