New gift cards being rolled out across Scotland will give people another great way of being able to choose local and enjoy all their region has to offer.

Businesses across the country are being urged to sign up to accept the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card - a win-win product which comes with no charge and gives customers another way in which to spend with them.

The Scottish Government is supporting the scheme financially, with Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and Communities Minister Tom Arthur encouraging businesses to sign up to receive payments via the scheme.

The Scottish Government’s support has enabled the creation of cards for each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas, each of which can only be used in that specific region.

Payments are processed through the Mastercard network. Businesses can sign up at www.lovelocal.scot/giftcard.

The landmark initiative is being delivered by Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) - the organisation spearheading the Scotland Loves Local campaign - working with Perth-based gift card programme specialists Miconex.

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.

A major registration drive is underway as the latest phase of the Scotland Loves Local campaign urges people to “choose local” - and make a permanent, positive choice to use and support businesses close to home.

STP Chief Officer Phil Prentice said: “This is a tremendous opportunity and we are keen for as many retailers 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 - giving people another way in which they can ‘choose local’. The more businesses that sign up, the better the local experience will be.”

Miconex already supports more than 60 gift card programmes across the UK, Ireland and North America.

HeraldScotland:

Managing Director Colin Munro said: “The launch of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is groundbreaking, giving every businesses in every region a chance to capitalise on the loyalty of local people in a scale we have never seen before.

“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.”

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) is one of Scotland Loves Local's campaign supporters and has promoted the gift card programme to its members.

Chief Executive Pete Cheema said: “We are behind any initiative which encourages people to support their local stores - and the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is another great way in which people can spend with our members.

“Choosing local has never been more important. Our members and their staff have supported their communities in remarkable ways throughout the coronavirus pandemic - and so many people have appreciated more than the value of their local shops. They have developed really positive habits in supporting the stores around them and we hope that this will continue. Our communities will be the better for it."

Find out more about the Scotland Loves Local campaign at www.lovelocal.scot. Follow #ScotlandLovesLocal and #ChooseLocal on social media.

This article is brought to you in association with Scotland Loves Local