American Express Co. has begun removing its nonreloadable prepaid gift cards from shelves in New Jersey because of a law that requires retailers to collect ZIP codes from purchasers at the point of sale.
The card brand removed its gift cards because it cannot verify retailers' compliance with the law, Amex said in an emailed statement. Amex still sells the cards online to New Jersey residents, and retailers in the state still can accept the cards for payment at the point of sale.
The ZIP code-collection rule stems from a 2010 escheatment law that allows the state to collect unspent funds on gift cards. Consumer can reclaim those funds at any time.
Gift card sales have "been a strong and successful business for us," Vanessa McCutchen, an Amex spokesperson, said in an email. She would not say exactly how much business gift cards represent for Amex in New Jersey.
Amex's decision affects only its gift cards, not its reloadable prepaid cards.
New Jersey's Department of the Treasury responded to Amex's decision in an April 4 press release.
"Many gift card issuers and merchants collect ZIP codes–and much more information–at the point of sale; … adding ZIP code information is not a big lift," the release said.
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