Millions of gift cards that are set to be destroyed under new Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act rules would be temporarily spared under legislation the House passed this week.

The bill would delay the rules requiring gift cards to prominently display expiration dates and other information on the actual card from Aug. 22 to Jan 31. The exception would apply to cards produced before April 1, according to the bill.

Existing cards would still be subject to the provisions, which mandate that gift cards cannot expire prior to five years from activation and cannot incur "inactivity" fees unless a card has not been used for at least 12 months. However, they would not have to bear such information on their packaging.

"The main thing we're trying to avoid is having to destroy 100 million-plus pieces of plastic and cardholder agreements," said Terry Maher, a partner with the Baird Holm LLP law firm in Omaha and general counsel for the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association.

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