Representative Emily Alvarado (D, 34th LD) is set to introduce two bills that would significantly affect how customers purchase and use gift cards.
HB 2094 has several components, but the most alarming is the requirement for establishments to “cash out” gift card balances of less than $50. California has the nation’s highest “gift card cash out” at less than $10. Currently, Washington’s cash-out law is $5 or less. If this bill were to pass, the new cash out would be ten times higher, increasing the risk of fraud and money laundering activities.
HB 2095 would require unused gift cards to be remitted to the state’s unclaimed property fund after a period of time. Although the legislation is being framed as an additional protection for customers, this bill could require purchasers to provide their personal private information or that of the gift card recipient at the point of sale before being able to walk out the door with the gift card. Additionally, the funds being remitted to the unclaimed property fund would create a new revenue stream for the state.
WR has been working very closely with other organizations and stakeholder groups who would be deeply impacted and will be monitoring this legislation closely.