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Northern Ireland High Street Voucher scheme: How online portal looks as huge numbers attempt to sign up for voucher

How To Apply For The Northern Ireland High Street Voucher Scheme

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Northern Ireland’s long-awaited High Street Voucher scheme officially launched today, with many of us ea…

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Northern Ireland's long-awaited High Street Voucher scheme officially launched today, with many of us eager to get our hands on our very own Spend Local card. However, shoppers were urged not to "rush at once" as the NI Direct website experienced difficulties on the first morning. Speaking to BBC Evening Extra on Monday evening, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons revealed that 441,112 requests for applications had been made on the website in the first few hours of it opening with some of those being duplicates.

Applications for the card can be made from today until October 25, and will offer GBP100 to those over the age of 18 to spend in any "bricks and mortar" business in Northern Ireland before November 30. The pre-paid card is designed to support those businesses that have been hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

How to apply for the High Street Voucher scheme

To apply, head to the NI Direct website by clicking here. After clicking on the green "apply" button, you will be asked to fill in your email address.

An email will then be sent to you with the link to continue the application process. Those applying are asked to check their junk mail or spam folders if the email does not come through. The website also states that the email may take some time in arriving to inboxes due to high demand.

Details needed to complete application

If applying online for yourself, you will need your email address and National Insurance number.

As part of the application, you will be asked for your:

  • National Insurance number
  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • sex
  • 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)

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.

Email received after application is submitted

After your application has been submitted, you will receive an email which reads: "Thank you for submitting your application to receive the Spend Local card.

We will now be carrying out some checks to confirm you are eligible to receive the pre-paid card. "This could take some time as up to 1.4 million people have to be checked but don't worry we will be in contact once we have completed the check on your application. "In the interim, please do not contact the Department for the Economy, NI Direct or the card provider as we will be unable to tell you whether your application has been approved as checking is an automated processes."

When will the pre-paid card arrive?

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 November 30. It will take up to five weeks for all the cards to be delivered, giving everyone a minimum four weeks to spend the GBP100.

When do the pre-paid cards expire?

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. If you have any further queries about the scheme, email [email protected] or phone 08000 468 333. The phone line is available 24 hours a day.

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