Businesses of every kind across the country are being urged to sign up to accept the new Scotland Loves Local gift card.
The cards will give residents in each of the nation’s 32 local authority areas another way in which they can support and spend with businesses in their region.
A major business registration drive is underway, with merchants encouraged to sign up to receive payments via the gift card ahead of the product becoming available for consumer purchase later this year.
The Scottish Government-backed rollout is being led by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local campaign urging people across the country to “choose local” and support their community’s recovery from Covid-19.
It is completely free for businesses to register. Signing up is quick and simple. Payments for merchants are processed through the Mastercard network.
Local cards – which can be accepted by businesses of all kinds – will be launched regionally over the coming months, as councils agree to lead the scheme in their area.
STP chief officer, Phil Prentice, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity and we are keen for as many businesses as possible to be part of this, boosting their business while helping create a ripple effect that benefits the whole community.
“Registering is quick, simple, and has no cost – only increased spending potential. Becoming part of this is a no-brainer.
“These gift cards will ensure that money stays local for longer. The more businesses that sign up, the better the local experience will be.
“And, if you have signed up already, please encourage your neighbours to do so as well.”
Scotland’s economy secretary, Kate Forbes, and community wealth minister, Tom Arthur, have also encouraged businesses to register as merchants.
The cards will lock in local spending for businesses of all kinds, whether in the retail, service, hospitality or leisure industries.
The only condition of registration is that the businesses must have a physical presence in the region of which the gift card can be spent.
STP is working with Perth-based fintech Miconex, which already supports more than 60 gift card programmes across the UK, Ireland and North America, to deliver the project.
Miconex managing director, Colin Munro, said: “We hope to see businesses in every community register to realise the scheme’s full potential – and so everyone can benefit.”
Research by The Gift Card and Voucher Association suggests that local gift card schemes have a huge multiplier effect, with up to an additional 65% of the card’s value being spent as people visit other shops, hospitality venues or leisure attractions.
To register, please visit www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard.