One week left to apply for Spend Local cards

Date published: 18 October 2021

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Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today encouraged those who have yet to apply for their Spend Local card to do so as soon as possible.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

The online portal and accompanying telephony service will close on Monday 25 October. After this date it will no longer be possible to apply for the £100 pre-paid Spend Local card. 

With just one week left to apply, the Minister said:

“The response to the High Street Scheme has been magnificent and our retail, hospitality and service sectors are now starting to feel the benefit of the extra spend that it brings. With just days left before the portal closes, around 90 per cent of those eligible have applied for their Spend Local card.

“I would appeal to those people who have yet to apply for their pre-paid £100 Spend Local card to do so now through the online portal on nidirect.

“By applying for, receiving and spending your card you will be supporting your local shops, hospitality and other services which have been most affected by economic impact of Covid-19.”

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.

Spend Local cards can be used in all participating businesses in Northern Ireland up until the 30 of November. They cannot be used online or for gambling or some financial and legal services.

The Minister concluded:

With just days left before the portal closes, my message to those yet to apply for their Spend Local card is: apply now, spend local.

Notes to editors: 

1. The online portal will close at midnight on October 25th. The telephony service will close at 6pm the same day

2. Applicants can register for the Spend Local card on the nidirect website

3. Key dates in the rollout of the High Street Scheme:

  • 27 September to 25 October - Applications portal open.
  • Week commencing 4 October – First tranche of cards issued to those who have successfully applied for the Spend Local pre-paid card.
  • 11 October – Telephone service opened 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. 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
  • telephone number

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.

5. The Department is required under Section 75 to monitor the implementation of its policies which includes collecting data on age, sex and disability. 

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. The telephone support service opened on 11 October. The later opening of the telephone service has been implemented to encourage more people to apply online when the portal opened 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.

9. The Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan is available on the Department's website.

10. The Department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the Department’s internal records management system. The Department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The Department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.

11. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI

12. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk

13. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800 hrs and 0800 hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110. 

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