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The FDIC on November 13 issued a statement that they will insure stored value cards if those funds have been placed at an insured depository institution.
There is pressure during these financially troubled times with chains such as Sharper Image, Circuit City and others going under, for the government to insure gift cards. Gift cards are a huge seller for the holiday season. This year there is added controversy because the card can become useless to the consumer when the chain accepting the card goes bankrupt (see LA Times article).
In answer, the FDIC writes, "Under the new opinion, all funds underlying stored value products will be treated as 'deposits' to the extent that the funds have been placed at an insured depository institution. As a result, all such funds will be subject to assessments. Also, all such funds will be insured up to the FDIC insurance limit."