Wells Fargo & Co. on Sept. 10 announced several changes to its Visa-branded prepaid cards and to those issued by Wachovia Corp., which Wells acquired in 2008. Those cards also carry the Visa brand.

New Federal Reserve Board regulations necessitated the changes as part of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act. New rules regulating fees and expiration dates for all nonreloadable gift cards went into effect Aug. 22 (see story).

Under the changes, Wells Fargo set the card-expiration date at seven years from when the card is issued. Cardholders pay a $7.50 fee to replace a card before the expiration date. Cardholders also may order a free replacement card to access value remaining in an expired card’s account.

Cardholders no longer may use Wells Fargo-branded gift cards outside the United States; Wachovia’s prepaid cards already were for domestic use only.

A $3.95 purchase fee applies to all new cards, which consumers may buy in whole-dollar amounts up to $500 for Wells Fargo-branded cards and up to $600 for Wachovia-branded cards. Consumers may order the cards online.

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