More than 160,000 people who have not yet applied for their Spend Local card in Northern Ireland have been reminded to do so before the portal closes in a week. t has emerged that 10% of those eligible for the card have not lodged an application. The online portal and accompanying telephone service will close on Monday, October 25. After this date it will no longer be possible to apply for the GBP100 pre-paid Spend Local card.
A spokesperson for the Department for the Economy said that over 1,333,000 applications for the scheme have already been received, and that the department "will be working hard this week to ensure everyone who is eligible can apply for the scheme, and has budgeted for all those eligible to apply." Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: "The response to the High Street Scheme has been magnificent and our retail, hospitality and service sectors are now starting to feel the benefit of the extra spend that it brings. "With just days left before the portal closes, around 90% of those eligible have applied for their Spend Local card.
"I would appeal to those people who have yet to apply for their pre-paid GBP100 Spend Local card to do so now through the online portal on nidirect. "By applying for, receiving and spending your card you will be supporting your local shops, hospitality and other services which have been most affected by economic impact of Covid-19." 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.
Spend Local cards can be used in all participating businesses in Northern Ireland up until the 30 of November. They cannot be used online or for gambling or some financial and legal services. The minister concluded: "With just days left before the portal closes, my message to those yet to apply for their Spend Local card is: apply now, spend local."
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