A gift card or gift voucher is a card loaded with an amount of cash that lets you, or the person you give it to, buy goods and services.
Gift card laws are changing
Starting on 31 March 2018, most gift cards and gift vouchers sold for use in NSW will be subject to a mandatory minimum expiry period of 3 years and all post-purchase administration fees will be banned.
Gift cards and vouchers purchased before 31 March 2018 will have the same expiry date and other terms and conditions that applied at the time of purchase.
Information on this page below applies to the use of all gift cards and vouchers currently in the possession of a consumer and any that are purchased before 31 March 2018.
Gift cards checklist
- Check the expiry/issue date
- Treat your gift card like cash – if you lose it, it's gone
- Read terms and conditions about getting ‘change’
- Check if there is an issue fee
- Beware of cards that charge a fee to check the balance.
Check the expiry date
When you receive a gift card, check the expiry date. If it's not printed on the card, ask the sales attendant to write it on there. You should also keep the receipt. You need to use the total value of the card by the expiry date as the remaining amount is usually not refundable. You can check the terms and conditions on the issuer's website or on the back of the card.
Treat them like cash
If you lose a gift card or it is stolen, in most cases you will not be able to replace it. Some retailers may replace it if you have the receipt and they can check it hasn’t been redeemed but generally they cannot be replaced so be careful and treat them as you would cash.
Read terms and conditions about getting 'change'
When purchasing something with the gift card, if stated in the terms and conditions the retailer is required to give you the rest of the money back in cash.
If the terms and conditions do not state a cash back option for your change, the retailer can insist on leaving the remaining credit on the gift card or giving you a credit note instead.
Fees and charges
Most retailer cards have no fees on gift cards. Fees are mainly a problem with prepaid credit card gift cards. Some cards charge an issue fee.
You should be able to check the card balance easily by phone, in-store or online. Be careful of cards that charge a fee to check the balance as you might be losing money each time you check your balance.
Need more information or have a complaint?
- NSW Fair Trading - Lodge a Complaint
- MoneySmart - ASIC's consumer website
- ASIC's online form
- ASIC’s infoline on 1300 300 630