In Ireland, moves are being made to strengthen consumer protection around the operation of gift products. These moves have been broadly welcomed by PIF, the European industry voice for regulated prepaid card products.
Mr Niall Collins TD of Fianna Fail has proposed in Dail Eirann (the Irish Parliament) new consumer protection legislation covering the gift card area. The proposed legislation proposes to introduce a ban on short term expiry dates on gift cards and make disclosure of terms and conditions including fees mandatory.
In response to the proposed Irish legislation, PIF Chairman Craig James said:
"We welcome any moves by legislators that strengthen consumer confidence in prepaid products including gift cards. 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."
However, Mr James adds that the organisations PIF represents issue their products under the European E-Money Directive. This Directive goes further than the proposed legislation in that it offers security for consumer funds and for products to operate in a fair gift and open manner through adherence to Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) guidelines. In Ireland, gift card products that do 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.
Mr James said:
"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."
PIF has consistently made the argument that the EU E-Money Directive provides the highest level of consumer protection to consumers of gift cards and that national legislation should seek to address the unregulated sector and bring the standards applied to that sector in line with those in the Directive.
Notes to Editors
PIF is the not-for-profit industry body representing organisations who are regulated under e-money and payment services legislation and who operate in the high-growth prepaid and fintech sectors. Prepaid technology underpins a vast range of financial products from everyday payment accounts and challenger bank accounts to corporate incentive and expense management solutions. Driven by a belief that prepaid delivers a wealth of social and financial benefits to consumers, businesses and governments, PIF was formed in 2007 with a mission to protect and advance prepaid as a driving force for innovation in financial services. To learn more about PIF visit www.prepaidforum.org or follow us @prepaidintforum
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