Using the Spend Local Card


The Spend Local prepaid card, which will be delivered pre-loaded with £100, works just like any other bank/building society debit or credit card. The card can be used to purchase goods and services from any business located in Northern Ireland that accepts card payments.

It cannot be used online or to withdraw cash and it cannot be topped up.

It also cannot be used for gambling or for paying for some legal and financial services such as mortgages, credit card payments, fines, insurance, and vehicle tax. A full list of exclusions to the Scheme is provided in The High Street (Coronavirus, Financial Assistance) Scheme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 .

Before you can start using the card, you must take the following steps:

  • Sign the signature strip on the reverse of the card
  • Activate the card by via an automated telephone helpline or via SMS. Details on how to activate the card will be provided in a letter that you will receive with your card
  • Once the card has been activated you will receive a PIN number.

As with all credit and debit cards, you should take every precaution to keep both the card safe and your PIN secure. Do not share your PIN with anyone, unless they are a person you trust to make purchases on your behalf.

Once activated, the first transaction on your card must be made using the allocated PIN. After this, the card can be used over the telephone, using the allocated PIN or for contactless payments, which are currently limited to £45 per transaction.

The starting balance on your card is £100 and each purchase will reduce the balance remaining on the card, by the amount spent on the card.  You cannot go overdrawn on the card so if a purchase is more than the remaining balance on your card, it will be declined.  However, the merchant may let you pay the additional amount by an alternative means e.g. cash or credit/debit card.

The card can only be used up to 14 December 2021. Any unspent balance left on a card after that date will be returned to the Department.

If you wish to check your balance, view your transaction history, view cardholder terms and conditions or find answers to frequently asked questions relating to the cards, please visit prepaid financial services NI stimulus.

Spend Local prepaid card helpline

If you are have difficulty activating your Spend Local prepaid card or if your card has been lost or stolen, you should call the automated telephone number 028 9590 8459.

For any general queries relating to the scheme, please email or call 0800 46833.

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