Key dates for scheme are:

  • September 27: open for registrations online
  • Week commencing October 4: First tranche of cards will issue to those who have successfully applied for the Spend Local pre-paid card.
  • October 11: Telephone service will open to support applications from people not able to access or use the online portal.
  • October 25: High Street Scheme online portal and telephone services will close.
  • October 25: The last qualifying date for those turning 18 to be eligible to apply for a Spend Local card.
  • November 30: High Street Scheme closes and the Spend Local pre-paid cards will cease to be valid.

How to apply for the High Street Voucher 

In order to receive your voucher, you must:

 - Register online on NI Direct. You will be presented with an information page on the High Street Scheme and a button to launch the registration process.

 - 8 pieces of information will be requested during the registration process - Name, Address, DOB, Gender, Disability, National Insurance Number, Driving Licence number, mobile phone number and email address. Please note that all fields are mandatory except driving licence number. Inputting your driver licence number will assist the checking process for your application.

 - You can register to complete an application on behalf of a limited number of other people however you must have their permission and their personal details.

 - Following completion of the online registration process, you will receive an email confirming the receipt of the application. The information provided will first be checked against electoral register database followed by Driver Vehicle Licencing Agency. This is an automated process with no access to your personal information.

 - Once your identity has been confirmed the details required to complete the process will be sent to the pre-paid card provider and you will receive an email to inform you that the registration process is now complete and when you should expect to receive your card.

 - If you are unsuccessful in the first phase of checks then your identity will be checked against a further suite of government databases. If you identity is confirmed then your details will be forwarded to the pre-paid card provider and you will receive a confirmation email. If your application is unsuccessful, you will be informed and directed to the appeals process.

 - Following a successful application to the scheme, you will be provided with a £100 pre-paid card which can be used in any local business with debit/credit card technology. The card can be used in card terminals that include a swipe facility as well as a pin facility.

 - Once you receive your card you will be required to verify it by SMS, phone or on the computer before you are able to use it. You will be able to use it alongside other forms of payment subject to the merchant’s agreement.

You can use the card to order and pay over the phone to purchase services from local businesses however you will not be able to purchase online service or products, to pay for financial services or to purchase legal services.

The Department is also working on establishing a telephone registration service for those who may require it.

Latest available info: