Apply for High Street scheme ‘Spend Local’ prepaid card
As part of the NI Executive’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery programme, if you are resident in Northern Ireland and aged 18 or over, you are eligible to apply to receive a £100 Spend Local prepaid card to spend in local businesses across Northern Ireland.
How to apply
You will need an email address and your National Insurance number to apply online.
When you hit the green button below you will be asked to enter your email address.
Make sure that you manually enter your full email address, character by character, and do not use the autofill option.
You will then be sent an email with a link to continue the application. Remember to check your junk mail or spam folders.
Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria for a Spend Local prepaid card but has never been issued with a National Insurance Number can apply for the High Street Scheme by contacting the High Street Scheme telephone support service on 0800 046 8330 from 12 noon on Monday 18 October 2021.
The telephone support service is available until 25 October, and lines are open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday.
The eligibility criteria for the scheme can be accessed at the FAQ link below.
Applying on behalf of someone else
If you want someone to apply on your behalf you will need to give them the details needed. As this means sharing your personal data with them, the person who applies on your behalf should be someone you trust.
You can only apply on behalf of four others. This includes yourself. You must not make an application on behalf of anyone else without their permission.
To apply, you will be asked for your:
- National Insurance number
- date of birth
- disability status (specifying if you have a visual impairment)
- email address (this will be pre-populated)
- telephone number
- driving licence number (this is optional but will help speed up the checking process)
You will not need a nidirect (NIDA) account or to register on nidirect to apply.
Please take care when entering personal information on the application form. To activate a Spend Local prepaid card using the automated telephone service the last four digits of the phone number, and date of birth are required and these must match exactly what was entered on the application form. If these details are unable to be confirmed the card will not be able to be activated, the card will be cancelled and another application will need to be made, before the closing date for applications on 25 October 2021.
It is also important to remember to take care to enter the correct National Insurance Number when applying:
- Your own when applying for yourself
- The other person’s when applying on behalf of someone else.
You can get details about how your personal data is processed by the Department for the Economy at this link:
A telephone support service is available until 25 October from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday.
This service is specifically for those people who do not have access to, or are unable to use the internet. People who are able to apply online should do so, thereby making sure the telephone service is available for those who need it most.
- Telephone application number: 0800 046 8330
Receiving the card
Once your information has been verified, your card will be posted to you or whoever you have applied on behalf of.
The scheme is open until 30 November.
It will take up to five weeks for all the cards to be delivered, giving everyone a minimum four weeks to spend the £100.
- 4 October - first Spend Local prepaid cards issue
- 11 October - telephone service opens for applications
- 25 October - online portal and telephone service for applications closes
- 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 prepaid cards will cease to be valid
Card expiry date
All cards will expire at the end of November 2021. You will not be able to use the card after this date.
Any balance remaining on the card after this date will be returned to the Department for the Economy.
Be scam aware
Scams may come in a variety of ways: post, phone, email, online, sometimes via a knock on the door.
It's important to be vigilant and the Department for Economy advises that any person who receives any contact which they think may be a scam should contact Action Fraud online or by phoning 0300 123 2040 Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
The Department for Economy will never ask for your personal bank details.
Queries about the prepaid card scheme
The Department for the Economy is responsible for this scheme.
Some frequently asked questions are available at this link:
If you have any further queries about the scheme, email SpendLocalNI@economy-ni.gov.uk or phone 08000 468 333. The phone line is available 24 hours a day.
The nidirect website team cannot respond to queries about the High Street prepaid card scheme.
Emails to those applicants who could not be automatically verified for a Spend Local card have started to issue. The email will be sent from the same firstname.lastname@example.org that confirmed your application.
The email may be in your Junk folder. If this has happened, please move the email into your Inbox Folder before you access the link to upload your documents.
Some people may have had difficulties uploading their documents due to the file format. This issue has now been resolved. If you are continuing to have issues uploading your documents please try a different file format.
There is no requirement to send the requested information to the Spend Local or @Economy_NI email mailboxes - any documents sent to these mailboxes will not be processed.