At this time of the year, you may be planning on giving a gift card or receiving a gift card. The good news is that, from 1 November 2019, all gift cards and vouchers sold must remain valid for at least three years and the expiry date must be clearly shown. Even if a gift card indicates an earlier expiry date, consumers will still get the benefit of the mandatory three-year period.

Note that gift cards and vouchers are not covered by this new legislation if they are:

  • Sold for a good or service at a genuine discount; or
  • Provided to customers in a limited promotion (for example: valid in-store today).

Businesses cannot charge post-purchase or administration fees that reduce the value of the gift card. Such fees include activation, account keeping and balance enquiry fees. Businesses can still charge other costs; such as fees for overseas transactions, payment by credit card, or replacing a lost or damaged card.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has set requirements for vouchers and gift cards, based on the Corporations Act 2001.

Vouchers and gift cards:

  • Must clearly display the expiry date. This includes the activation expiry date for cards that need to be activated before use;
  • Can be used more than once;
  • Cannot be reloaded (i.e. the value cannot be increased or added to); and
  • Cannot be redeemed for cash unless there is a remaining amount that, in the business’ reasonable opinion, cannot be conveniently used.