Those giving gift cards for the holidays with some reminders.  That card is good for five years and the merchant cannot charge a fee or deduct from the value of the card due to inactivity.

 

That's the rule after complaints that cards, that had gone unused for a period of time, were found to be lacking in available funds when the recipient eventually redeemed them--or tried to.

It's always a good idea to check on a balance before heading out to the mall or your local store to make sure you know exactly how much is on the card to make sure you're getting all of the credit you're entitled to.   Also, keep track of the cards--even if you don't plan to use them right away--or give them to someone who will turn them in.  Analysts say every year, more than a billion dollars in cards are never redeemed.