More than 100 Aldi stores and over 70 Sainsbury’s stores are now accepting the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card as a method of payment.

Aldi and Sainsbury’s join the likes of Marks & Spencer, Spar, Scotmid, One O One Group and Boots - as well as large numbers of independent retailers in communities across the country - in supporting the programme.

Customers can spend their regional Scotland Loves Local Gift Card at Aldi and Sainsbury’s stores in the areas for which their card is branded. The gift card gets swiped at the till like a debit or credit card, with the balance automatically updated.

Aldi has stores in Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Dundee, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, the Highlands, Inverclyde, Mid Lothian, Moray, North and South Ayrshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Perth, Scottish Borders, Stirling and West Lothian.

Graham Nicolson, Group Buying Director for Aldi Scotland, said: “With over 450 Scottish products from more than 90 local suppliers in our stores, shoppers can use their Scotland Loves Local Gift Card to enjoy some of the finest and best-value food and drink the country has to offer.”

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s main stores and Sainsbury’s Local stores in Aberdeenshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, North Ayrshire, Perth, Stirling and West Lothian are already registered to accept the Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards, with more stores to be added.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We are delighted to come on board with the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiative as a redemption partner, giving customers even more choice in how they spend their gift cards in their local area and powering local economic recovery.”

The Scottish Government is backing the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiative, designed to fuel the regional economic fightback by locking in spend locally, delivered by Scotland’s Town Partnership (STP).

STP chief officer Phil Prentice believes the addition of Aldi and Sainsbury’s to the list of merchants will add to the wide variety of businesses where people can spend as part of the scheme.

He said: “The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is about locking money into local economies, protecting jobs and helping lay the foundations for a stronger future. By creating the greatest possible choice of businesses for consumers to spend their cards, we are enhancing the potential of the cards to do exactly that.

“Of course the cards can be used to spend on treats, but can also be used to put food on the table or clothes on people’s backs. It is the power of this flexibility and choice that makes the Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards suitable for a variety of purposes to encourage people to choose local in every region of the country, whether that be through gifting, disbursement of funds initiatives, sector specific support or employee reward and incentive programmes.”

Onboarding for the Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards began in late 2021. Cards can be spent with national and independent shops, restaurants, attractions, salons and service providers, with over 3500 businesses signed up to date. Scottish fintech Miconex is providing the technology for the initiative, and managing the onboarding process.

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, said:  “The blend of national and independent businesses on each Scotland Loves Local Gift Card greatly influences its usefulness and success for that area. When employers are looking at rewards to give their staff, national brands like Aldi and Sainsbury’s offer universal appeal and indies are central to vibrancy and uniqueness. Customers will often visit a town or city for the nationals and stay for the indies, and vice versa, the mix contributes to the overall appeal of the place, and it’s the same for the Scotland Loves Local Gift Cards.”