Grab bag: States take unclaimed gift-card money

gift card display
gift card display

We've warned you plenty of times about issuers' terms, conditions and requirements that can eat away at the balances on your prepaid cash or gift cards. Now, this article from the Times-Union newspaper in Albany, NY, highlights yet another threat to your unused gift-card balances: New York and a growing number of other states will take the money on them if they go unused for five years.

How do they do this? New York and other states have dug up an old law referring to a practice called "escheatment," the article says. This is the law that lets a state claim abandoned property. Now, you might think of abandoned property in terms of deserted buildings and junked cars, but New York puts that gift card sitting at the bottom of your drawer in that category, too.