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When can the bank impose service and other fees on gift cards?

A bank can only charge fees on gift cards in certain circumstances.

A bank generally cannot charge a dormancy, inactivity, or service fee with respect to a gift certificate, store gift card, or general-use prepaid card, if sold to a consumer on or after August 22, 2010, or provided to a consumer as a replacement for such certificate or card, unless

  • there has been no activity with respect to the certificate or card, in the one-year period ending on the date on which the fee is imposed.
  • not more than one dormancy, inactivity, or service fee is imposed in any given calendar month.

An additional requirement for imposing these fees is that the following are stated, as applicable, clearly and conspicuously on the gift certificate, store gift card, or general-use prepaid card:

  • The amount of any dormancy, inactivity, or service fee that may be charged
  • How often such fee may be assessed
  • That such fee may be assessed for inactivity

The disclosures discussed above must be made on the certificate or card, or in the case of a loyalty, award, or promotional gift card, on the card, code, or other device. It is not sufficient to include these disclosures on packaging surrounding a certificate or card.

For other fees, the bank must disclose

  • the type of fee.
  • the amount of the fee (or an explanation of how the fee will be determined).
  • the conditions under which the fee may be imposed.

For the fees discussed above, the bank must disclose a toll-free telephone number and, if one is maintained, a website, that a consumer may use to obtain information about the fees (this must be included on the card or certificate, itself).

Visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website for more information on gift cards.

Refer to 12 CFR 1005 "Electronic Funds Transfer (Regulation E)."

Last Reviewed: October 2020

Please note: The terms "bank" and "banks" used in these answers generally refer to national banks, federal savings associations, and federal branches or agencies of foreign banking organizations that are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Find out if the OCC regulates your bank. Information provided on HelpWithMyBank.gov should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion of the OCC.

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