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Good Question: What do new regulations mean for spending that gift card?

So what's at the top of many people's wish list this holiday season?

Not cashmere sweaters or iPods, but something that fits right in your wallet, a gift card!

Good Question: What do new regulations mean for spending that gift card?

Its the modern day version of the blank check, which is why many Americans are snapping up gift cards faster than ever.

"They like to be able to buy what they want and they don't have to return anything, so it works perfectly," said consumer Audra Strafella.

Retail analysts expect shoppers to spend an average of $145 on gift cards this year.

That's up about 4% from last year, adding up to nearly $25 billion for the holiday season.

"It is one of the most frequently purchased and frequently desired gifts, yet two thirds of Americans who had a gift card last year have yet to spend one of them," said Tod marks with Consumer Reports.

Under the new Credit Card Act that went into effect in August:

Gift cards can't expire for at least five years from the date of purchase
Fees have to be printed on the card or its packaging
A toll free number has to be available for questions

"The law prohibits you from being charged an inactivity fee for at least one year, in other words the card can sit in the drawer unused for a year before they can start charging you some kind of fee," said Heather Clary with the Better Business Bureau of Central Kentucky.

If you are shopping for a gift card, experts say, request one from behind the counter rather than on the rack.

That's to make sure no scammers have copied the card number.

Remember not everyone is a fan of receiving plastic.

"I actually don't really like it, I feel like its impersonal," said shopper, Ariana Chris.

Gift cards have been the most requested present for four years now with 57% of folks are asking for plastic this year.


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