Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced that the first 100,000 Spend Local cards are being issued today (October 4).
The Minister said:
“Today’s 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.
“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.”
Notes to editors:
1. Caption: Economy Minister Gordon Lyons.
2. Applicants can register for the Shop Local card on the nidirect website.
3. Key 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 valid.
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:
- 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.
7. The Department is required under Section 75 to monitor the implementation of its policies which includes collecting data on age, sex and disability.
8. 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 pin, before they can start to use it for contactless payments.
9. The cards can be used in all participating businesses in Northern Ireland. They cannot be used online or for gambling or some financial and legal services.
10. The telephone support service will open on 11 October. The later opening of the telephone service has been implemented to encourage more people to apply online when the portal opens on 27 September and avoid using the phone line leaving it available for those who do not have access to, or are not able to use, the internet.
11. The High Street Scheme Spend Local pre-paid card will be able to be accepted by shops and businesses which can accept credit and debit cards for payment. It cannot be used to purchase goods or services online.
12. The Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan is available on the Department's website.
14. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI.
15. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at firstname.lastname@example.org
16. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
- County Antrim directors agree to disqualification 15 October 2021
- Labour market statistics 12 October 2021
- Lyons announces Assured Skills Academy in welding at South West College 11 October 2021
- Telephone service for High Street Scheme applications opens Monday 09 October 2021