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Proposed New Jersey legislation could allow state to reclaim unused gift card balances

April 25, 2012

New Jersey is in the process of implementing a law that would give the state rights to unused balances of inactive gift cards.

New Jersey is in the process of implementing a law that would give the state rights to unused balances of inactive gift cards. The New Jersey Treasury Department released a statement explaining that promotion gift cards would be considered inactive and the unused balances would be claimed after two years. However, consumers would still be able to redeem their money even after that deadline if they file a claim.

If the law is passed, retailers would be required to collect cardholders’ zip codes at the point of purchase so they could redeem the gift card value if it is never used. New Jersey could use the unclaimed money to fund state projects such as highway construction and other public works.

The state is still discussing the law with retailers, who have been able to reclaim the money from custom gift cards if it isn’t spent. While some are reluctant to give up the extra revenue, others have already started collecting zip codes. Last year, about 2 percent of all gift cards were not used, a study by CEB Tower Group found, which translates to approximately $2 billion in cash, as reported by USA Today.

Merchants can make sure their customers are getting the most out of their gift cards by offering quick and easy redemption at credit card terminals. They could also keep small items at the counter to encourage impulse purchases that will use up the last few dollars of a remaining gift card total. 

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