European gift card group welcomes proposed ban on expiry date
Disclosure of terms and conditions would also be mandatory
Craig James, chairman of the Prepaid International Forum (PIF), welcomed the proposed legislation as Ireland moves to strengthen consumer protection around the operation of gift card products.
The European industry group for regulated prepaid card operators has welcomed proposed new consumer legislation in the Republic that would ban short-term expiry dates on gift cards and make the disclosure of terms and conditions mandatory.
Craig James, chairman of the Prepaid International Forum (PIF), welcomed the proposed legislation from Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins as Ireland moves to strengthen consumer protection around the operation of gift card products.
“We welcome any moves by legislators that strengthen consumer confidence in prepaid products including gift cards,” Mr Craig said. “The measures proposed address some key consumer concerns in this area and brings regulation to bear on the currently unregulated sector of the market such as store-branded gift cards, which can only be used in outlets of the card originator.”
Mr James noted that PIF members issued their products under the European Union e-money directive.
This directive goes further than the proposed legislation in Ireland in that it offers security for consumer funds, and for products to operate in a fair and open manner through adherence to Treating Customer Fairly guidelines, according to Mr James.
In Ireland, gift card products that operate under this directive include multi-store gift card issuers, and a number of shopping centre gift cards that carry the Mastercard or Visa labels.
“The proposed legislation in Ireland will bring some of the obligations of the EU directive into play for store-branded gift cards and that is to be welcomed,” Mr James said.
He said the PIF had consistently made the argument that the EU Electronic Money Directive provided the highest level of consumer protection to consumers of gift cards, and that national legislation should seek to address the unregulated sector and bring standards into line with the directive.
The Bill brought by Mr Collins was debated in the Dáil on Thursday. It was not opposed by the Government and so will move to committee stage.
PIF is a not-for-profit industry body representing organisations in the high-growth prepaid and fintech sectors across Europe. Its members include Mastercard, the Post Office in the UK, and the One4All gift cards in Ireland.