The change won't be in place until the new year

A bill to give gift vouchers a five year expiry date has been passed by cabinet ministers.

It also makes it illegal for a shop to ask you to spend all of the voucher in one transaction.

Companies won't be allowed to cancel a voucher if the wrong name is on it - or to charge extra fees for correcting the name.

Business Minister Heather Humphreys has said she hopes the bill will pass through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible to protect consumers.

However the changes won't cover thousands of people buying gift vouchers this Christmas.