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Gift card provider will return to N.J. market after change in law

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A major gift card provider, InComm, announced Monday it would immediately return its gift cards, including Visa and MasterCard gift cards, to the Garden State.

"We plan to continue selling gift cards in New Jersey indefinitely as long as there is no requirement to collect consumer data at the point of sale," said Brooks Smith, president and CEO of InComm, in the company's announcement. "InComm intends to spend the next four years working to have any such data collection requirement permanently removed from the law."

The decision comes after a flurry of action taken by the state Legislature in the final days of the session, including a bill that was signed into law provided a temporary sigh of relief to retailers across the state. With amendments to the state's unclaimed property law, New Jersey eliminated expiration dates and post-purchase fees on gift cards sold. More importantly, a four-year moratorium was placed on the collection of ZIP codes at the point of purchase of gift cards.

The state's previous escheat regulations convinced several of the top branded gift card providers to pull their cards from New Jersey shelves in April, including American Express, Blackhawk Network and InComm.

John Holub, president of the New Jersey Retail Merchant Association, said getting the data collection law off the books will remain a priority for his members, and that now he'll have four additional years to get it done.

The association was a key entity behind the changes to the unclaimed property law, but Holub said he is concerned that in three to four years, the state will again reach an impasse with gift card providers over the data collection, and it will be "déjà vu all over again."

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