Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced that the first 100,000 Spend Local cards are being issued today (October 4).
The Minister 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.
“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.”