The Federal Reserve announced Monday that they were proposing new legislation that would limit the fees and expiration dates of retail gift cards. The main changes focus in on retailers no longer being able to charge fees for owners who using used their gift cards in the previous year.

This directly benefits the consumer because as long as after you buy the gift card and use a portion of it towards any purchase, the establishment cannot charge you any maintenance fees. It’s also rumored that gift cards will now be valid for a period of up to five years.

Although some representatives are fighting for speedy changes, these scheduled modifications are set to go into effect August 2010, so they won’t affect any cards purchased this Holiday season. But, it’s good to know that the Federal Reserve is taking steps towards securing the value of your gift card.

Got a gift card but don’t know the value of it? Check out the web’s #1 resource for gift cards balances here.