High Street scheme Spend Local prepaid card
The High Street Scheme closed at midnight on Sunday 19 December 2021.
Card expiry date
All cards expired at midnight on 19 December 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.
Who can use their card between 24 December 2021 and 7 January 2022
A small number of people received their card close to/after the scheme ended on 19 December 2021. There were also a small number of cards cancelled prior to the scheme ending due to a technical error. For these cardholders only, the Department for the Economy has re-opened the scheme for a two-week period, from 9.00am on Friday 24 December 2021 until 11.59pm on Friday 7 January 2022 to provide them with some additional time to spend on their card.
The Department has emailed all of these cardholders, to the email address provided in their application, to advise of this provision. The email provides further information on activating cards and retrieving PINs.
The Department appreciates that there may be wider issues affecting applications or the use of cards and now that the scheme has closed, the Department will take stock of the various issues people have faced and consider potential options for remedy.
Activating your Card and Retrieving your PIN
If you need to activate your card, you can do this from 2.00pm on Thursday 23 December 2021.
Instructions on activating your card or what to do if you cannot activate your card were included in the email sent to you by the Department on 22 December 2021.
If your card is a replacement card that was not previously activated, you will need to activate the card.
If you had previously successfully activated your card, you should not need to activate it again.
Via SMS: Text PIN and the last 8 digits of the card number to 07883 294184. This will activate your card and you will receive your PIN via a text message.
Please note, you can only activate your card via SMS using the phone number provided in the application. If someone applied on your behalf, the last four digits of their phone number needs to be entered, if you chose the SMS option. The text message will then be sent to that phone number. If you provided a landline number or an old mobile number, you will not be able to activate the card using SMS.
Via Telephone: Call the automated helpline on 02895 313153 and choose option 1 (retrieve your PIN). You will be asked to enter the 16 digit card number on the front of your card, the last 4 digits of the phone number provided in the application and your date of birth.
Please note, if someone applied on your behalf, use the last 4 digits of their telephone number. If you cannot remember which number was provided in the application, please try the last 4 digits of your landline/other mobile numbers or any other number you think you may have provided on your application. In instances where a single telephone number was used to make more than 5 applications, a default number ending in 4444 was used to replace the original telephone number. If other options fail to activate your card, try entering 4444 when asked for the last four digits of your phone number.
Using Your Card
You MUST use your PIN for your first transaction. Contactless transactions can be used thereafter.
If you forget your PIN, you can retrieve it by calling 02895 313153.
Your card will be blocked if you enter an incorrect PIN three times. After the second attempt you should not try again but instead retrieve your PIN by calling the number above.
If you do block your card, you will need to wait at least 24 hours before attempting to use it again. Due to the holiday period it could take a number of days for your PIN to become unblocked.
Your card will be declined if the value of your purchase exceeds the amount on your card so try to keep track of your balance. You can check your balance by calling the automated helpline of 02895 313153 or logging onto the client portal at https://clients.prepaidfinancialservices.com/nistimulus
If you wish to purchase something which costs more than the balance on your card, please tell the retailer the amount you have on your card and they will process the transaction accordingly.
If your card fails to work/stops working or if you suspect it is faulty, please ask the retailer if they could input the card details manually.
Queries about the prepaid card scheme
The Department for the Economy is responsible for this scheme.
If you have any further queries about the scheme, email SpendLocalNI@economy-ni.gov.uk.
Some frequently asked questions are available at this link:
You can get details about how your personal data is processed by the Department for the Economy at this link: