Three-year gift card expiry now national

Nationwide laws have come into effect requiring gift cards to remain valid for at least three years.
Nationwide laws have come into effect requiring gift cards to remain valid for at least three years.

Gift cards are a common Christmas stocking-filler but there are now extra reasons to purchase some plastic for loved ones.

Nationwide laws requiring gift cards to remain valid for at least three years came into effect on Friday.

Consumer advocate group Choice, which campaigned for the changes, hailed them as a big win for shoppers.

"It means you're more likely to be treated fairly if you buy a gift card," spokesperson Erin Turner said.

The law applies to gift cards supplied on or after November 1 and also requires businesses to prominently display the card's expiry date on the card itself.

"We saw some really unfair practices with gift cards before these laws, like really short expiry dates," Ms Turner said.

"Life is busy, sometimes you don't have the time to use that gift card."

A study released two years ago by comparison website finder.com.au found Australians waste $70 million a year on unredeemed gift cards.

NSW introduced three-year minimum expiry laws in March last year, while South Australia also put forward similar legislation.

Choice has estimated Australians spend $2.5 billion each year on gift cards.

"This is perfect timing for Christmas. You've got more confidence that if you'll buy a gift card they'll actually use it," Ms Turner said.

Australian Associated Press