Gift Cards Can't Expire for 5 Years Feds issue new protections for consumers By Newser Editors and Wire Services Posted Mar 23, 2010 3:18 PM CDT 9 comments Comments A file photo of gift cards. (Nati Harnik) (Newser) – The Federal Reserve issued new rules today to protect Americans from getting stung by unexpected fees or restrictions on gift cards. Under the rules, consumers must have at least five years to use the cards before they expire. Services fees can go into effect only after the first year, and only one such fee can be imposed a month. The rules take effect in August.