The new federal gift card laws will soon go into effect and the gift card market will be impacted in several ways. One of which will be the cost associated with bank issued gift cards (Visa, American Express, MasterCard, Discover).
Many bank issued gift cards start charging a $2.50 monthly maintenance fee after the first 6 months and the new federal laws prohibits any fees within the first year. Naturally the banks will increase the fees to make up for lost revenue and I may have found a hint of the new fees to come.
The Terms state: A $2.50 Monthly Maintenance Fee will be "charged for each month there is a balance remaining on the Card. The fee is waived for the first six (6) months after the purchase date."
The FAQ states: "After twelve (12) months of inactivity, a monthly service fee of $5.00 is deducted from the remaining balance on the Card. Other fees may apply. Please refer to the FirstMerit Gift Card Terms and Conditions for details."
My first thought: the Terms on the website are out of date. Naturally, I sent a note in asking for clarification. FirstMerit's Customer Contact Center confirmed the version of the terms I sent was current and the fees in the FAQ and Terms both apply. I'd be surprised if FirstMerit charges fees which are not described in the current version of the Terms, and suspect the FAQ reflects the new monthly fees we'll see after the new federal laws go into effect.
Finally, I spoke to a member of the gift card support team and they said a $5.00 inactivity fee did not apply to the gift cards.