Gift cards have become something close to a scam. Many stores will automatically reduce the value of them monthly until they’re worth nothing, and many others provide expiration dates. If the company files for bankruptcy—even if they’re just reorganizing—that’s a debt that they may just not pay off, rendering the cards worthless. Gift cards are, fundamentally, an interest-free loan from a customer to a business, so the fact that they charge you to loan them money is just nuts. So I’m glad to see that Congress’ credit card regulation bill also regulates gift cards, prohibiting businesses from expiring them in less than five years, prohibiting fees until there has been one year of inactivity, and giving the Federal Reserve the ability to regulate them further. Whether you think of a gift card as a loan or as a prepaid debit card, in either case it’s a significant form of interstate commerce that is well within the purview of the feds and, given how badly businesses have treated their creditors/customers, is badly in need of regulation.