Effective September 1st, a new gift card cash back law will go into effect in the state of Texas.
Texans will be allowed to receive cash back on gift cards or gift certificates that have a balance of less than $2.50 starting September 1, 2015. In order to receive the remaining amount on the gift card, the transaction must take place in person. The law will not apply to prepaid calling cards, cards issued as part of a loyalty or rewards program, gift cards issued as a refund for returned merchandise (store credit), cards issued by a bank or an airline, and cards initially worth $5 that cannot have any value added to them. Republican State Representative and former business owner, Dwayne Bohac, was the law’s author and "...penned the bill to strike a balance between the rights of consumers and retailers."
"I believe all of us are carrying around gift cards where we've used up virtually all the money," said Bohac, who owned gift shops. "I wanted it to be $5, but $2.50, it seemed like people could live with that." -New Law Allows Texans to Cash In on Low-Value Gift Cards article from
The Texas Tribune.
The law faced very little opposition in the Legislature, passing in the House by an 110-20 vote and in the Senate by a 26-5 vote. There has also been little complaint from the thousands of retailers represented by the Texas Retailers association. "We don't think that's going to be a heavy burden," President Ronnie Volkening said of providing cash refunds. "It's consistent with good customer service to volunteer to do that." A number of states have laws requiring gift card cash back for low balances. California offers the highest amount – up to $10, with Rhode Island and Vermont offering the lowest, a refund on gift cards with a balance of up to $1. Find out if your state offers cash back here.