New law helps Texans cash in on low-value gift cards

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Are you one of the many people who received a gift card this holiday? If so, there’s a new law that helps you get every penny out of it here in Texas.

If a customer has less than $2.50 on their gift card or certificate, they can request the remaining cash on the card from the retailer.

While the law went into effect this September, many consumers – and some businesses – don’t know about it.

“From the retailers perspective there has not been a lot of information that has been given out,” said Michael Ferweda, owner of Zinger Hardware and General Merchant. “I think there will be some initial confusion on how to do it. Once that’s over, I think it’s a good thing. It’s better to have the values redeemed instead of sitting out there.”

With the new law, gift cards with low-values will hopefully not go to waste.

“My older daughter just throws them at me and says, ‘Here I don’t want this anywhere, I can’t buy anything with it’,” says Brenda Morgan, who purchased several gift cards this season. “I think it’s an absolutely great idea.”

Keep in mind, the law only applies to store value cards, issued by businesses like Macy’s or Best Buy.

Some exclusions include prepaid calling cards, cards issued by a financial institution, or an airline. It also excludes cards issued as a refund for returned merchandise and cards that had an initial value of $5 or less to which additional value could not be added.

Zinger Hardware is just one of the many companies profiting from gift cards. CNN Money reports roughly two billion cards were purchased last year in the U.S.

“Gift cards for local businesses are great because you really help promote local,” said Ferweda. “I think it’s a great way of introducing people to stores or to local venues, and I think the gift of giving is always great, so why not do it?”

Texas is now the tenth state to pass a law of this kind.

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