High Street Spend Local cards : First 100,000 being issued today in Northern Ireland

The first 100,000 Spend Local cards are being issued today (Monday October 4), it has been confirmed.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “Today marks the next significant step in the rollout of the High Street Scheme as the first 100,000 applicants are set to receive their Spend Local card.

“I am delighted that the process to issue the pre-paid cards is now well under way and that the first applicants will soon be able to use their cards to support their local retail, hospitality and services businesses. This will deliver the timely boost that they need to help them emerge from the economic shock caused by the pandemic.

“Since the opening of the portal last week, demand for the Spend Local card has been unprecedented. So far, over 970,000 people have now submitted their application.

Shipquay Street. DER2126GS - 041

“I would encourage those who have yet to apply for their Spend Local card to do so now on NI Direct.”

When an applicant receives their card, they will need to verify the card through a computer-operated phone system or text message and make the first payment using a personal identification number (PIN), before they can start to use it for contactless payments.

The objective of the High Street Scheme is to support local businesses across Northern Ireland adversely affected by the drop in footfall due to the pandemic.

The Minister concluded: “As the Spend Local cards start to land in homes across Northern Ireland, my message to everyone who receives theirs is ‘spend local’. Please use your card to support your local shops, hospitality and other services which have been most affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.”

Shoppers in Derry’s city centre (File picture). Photo: George Sweeney DER2047GS - 005

Applicants can register for the Shop Local card at www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/apply-high-street-scheme-spend-local-prepaid-cardKey dates in the rollout of the High Street Scheme

27 September to 25 October - Applications portal will be open.

Week commencing 4 October – First tranche of cards will issue to those who have successfully applied for the Spend Local pre-paid card.

11 October – Telephone service will open to support applications from people not able to access or use the online portal.

25 October – High Street Scheme online portal and telephone services will close.

25 October - the last qualifying date for those turning 18 to be eligible to apply for a Spend Local card.

30 November – High Street Scheme closes and the Spend Local pre-paid cards will cease to be vali

4. From 27 of September to 25 of October, applicants can apply for the Spend Local card through the portal on NI Direct.

5. For verification purposes in order to reduce the risk of fraud and error, each applicant will be asked to provide: name; address; age; gender; disability status; national insurance number;

email address; and telephone number.

6. Applicants will also have the option of including a driving licence number to enable verification. Once the applicant has completed the registration process their information will be checked against a number of government databases to verify their identity.