Last chance to apply for Spend Local card

Date published: 25 October 2021

If you have not yet applied for your Spend Local card, you must do so today.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons MLA

That was the message from Economy Minister Gordon Lyons ahead of the deadline for applying for the Spend Local card at midnight tonight (25 October). At this point the portal will close and it will no longer be possible to apply.

The Minister said:

“There are just hours left for eligible applicants to apply for their £100 pre-paid Spend Local card. If you haven’t applied, you must do so today. Join the 1.4 million who have already applied.

“I want to see as many eligible applicants as possible receive and use their Spend Local cards and take the opportunity to support thousands of businesses across Northern Ireland. So, please also consider if you have friends or family members who may need help with applying.

“Already, local businesses are starting to feel the boost the Spend Local card brings. However, this is just the beginning and we are continuing to process applications as quickly as possible so more and more people will receive their cards in the coming weeks.

“If you have already received - and activated - your card, I would encourage you to Spend Local. Use your £100 to help the businesses in your local area that were impacted by the pandemic.”

The online portal will close at midnight today (October 25). This deadline applies to new applications only. It does not apply to those who have been asked to upload further information to verify their identity.

If applicants have been notified of, or received, an Application Reference Number, (e.g. SLNI 12345678) after they made their application, or if they have received an e-mail confirming their application has been submitted, they can be confident that their application is currently being processed and there’s no need for them to reapply or contact the Department. 

If, however, a person is unable to make an application online or is concerned because they did not receive an Application Reference Number or an e-mail confirming receipt of their application, they can contact the Department’s Telephone Application Line to reapply/make a new application.  

The number to contact is 0800 046 8330. This line will be open on Monday 25 October, the last day for scheme applications, from 8.00 am -12.00 midnight.

Notes to editors: 

1. Applicants can register for the Spend Local card on nidirect

2. Key dates in the roll-out 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 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 pre-paid cards will cease to be valid.

3. 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

4. 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 issuing emails to applicants whose details could not be automatically verified. The email from is legitimate and not a scam. The email may arrive into your junk folder. If this has happened, please move the email into your inbox folder before you access the link to upload your documents. The email will ask recipients to upload further information to verify their identity. Please follow the instructions in the email carefully. If you have difficulties issues uploading your documents, please try a different file format.  

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

7. When an applicant receives their card, they will need to activate 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.

8. 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.

9. 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. It will close at 6pm on October 25.

10. The Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan is available on the DfE website.   

11. 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.

12. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI

13. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at

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

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