As national and local governments, across the globe, explore ways to help restart their economies there has been much talk recently (example article) about how to provide vouchers or money to people that can only be spent at local businesses or at a restricted network of nominated businesses.
Miconex have been working with towns, cities and business communities over the past 3 years to do exactly this using the existing Mastercard infrastructure, keeping nearly £2 million in local economies. There are now over 40 local currency programmes in place, across the UK, in the form of Town & City Gift Cards - https://www.mi-cnx.com/live-and-planned-gift-card-programme
These programmes provide a local alternative to online gift cards such as Amazon, Google and Apple. They promote the ‘place’, encourage civic pride and exploration, drive footfall, support local businesses and stimulate additional economic activity. When people go out to spend their gift cards at local businesses they spend up to 65% more the value of the card itself, this is exactly what businesses need right now.
Town & City Gift Cards can also be used to disperse money or as part of a localised stimulus package. They are also effective employee rewards for companies looking to support their local community.
We are currently doing this in multiple cities in North America where funds have been provided to local governments to be given to residents. These forward thinking locations would prefer to keep this money to be spent in local businesses rather than the money disappearing online or in other locations so are distributing local currency gift cards to their residents.
Rather than implementing temporary measures, here in the UK, there is a real opportunity to build on the existing network of Town & City Gift Card programmes to support local businesses in a way that delivers lasting value.