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The New York State Office of Unclaimed Funds took in a record $48 million from unused gift card balances in 2022. A settlement with Apple netted authorities almost $3 million, while another with H&M brought in around $18 million.

“Unused gift cards have set a new record, as they make up a growing number of the accounts being held by our Office of Unclaimed Funds. … This holiday season I encourage all New Yorkers to spend their gift cards in a timely manner to avoid possible inactivity fees or having the money turned over to my office,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement.

A new law that went into effect on Dec. 10 increased the expiration deadline for gift cards from five years after the last loading of funds to nine years.

The law also forbids “activation fees, retroactive fees, redemption fees, service fees, dormancy fees, latency fees, administrative fees, handling fees, access fees, periodic fees, renewal fees, re-loading fees, or any other fee of any kind,” according to a release from the New York Department of State.

However, the law governing unused funds remains unchanged — gift cards owed to New York residents or issued by New York incorporated entities are deemed abandoned after five years of inactivity.

The Office of Unclaimed Funds currently has $17.5 billion. New York residents can search on the comptroller website to see if are eligible; $405,853,169 was returned to New Yorkers in 2022.

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