On October 23, 2018, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 353 into law. The measure excludes certain types of items from the state’s definition of unclaimed funds effective January 22, 2019. Currently, unclaimed funds subject to escheat generally include any money, rights to money, or intangible property that the owner has not adjusted, assigned, recorded receipt, or otherwise indicated an interest in or knowledge of. Unclaimed funds do not include, among other things, any credit represented by a gift certificate, gift card, merchandise credit, or merchandise credit card redeemable only for merchandise. House Bill 353 extends this exclusion to gift cards or certificates issued by financial organizations or business associations and expands the type of merchandise the certificate or obligation can be redeemed for to include goods and services, rather than just merchandise. Under House Bill 353, “unclaimed funds” also do not include electronic payment devices that do not expire, are prepaid for future use, and are redeemable upon presentation to a merchant or affiliated group of merchants, but are not redeemable for cash. House bill 353 further excludes from the definition of “unclaimed funds,” “open-loop prepaid cards,” which share the same characteristics as the electronic payment devices described above but are redeemable at multiple unaffiliated merchants. Finally, rewards cards are excluded from the definition of “unclaimed funds.” Rewards cards are defined, in part, as any loyalty, incentive, or promotional type program that is issued by a financial organization or a business association, whether represented by a card or electronic record, established for the purposes of providing cardholder awards, rewards, rebates, or other amounts to reward the cardholder for the cardholder's relationship with the entity sponsoring the rewards card, provided that no direct money was paid by the cardholder for the rewards card. Please stay tuned to TWIST for future unclaimed property updates.
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