Northern Ireland High Street Voucher Scheme: How to apply and who is eligible

As anticipation grows for Northern Ireland's High Street Voucher Scheme, many people are left asking how they can apply.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Monday, 27th September 2021, 9:50 am

Northern Ireland’s High Street Voucher Scheme has now launched.

The application portal opened on Monday, September 27, 2021, with the cards being issued after Monday, October 4, 2021.

The voucher scheme is hoped to give a vital boost to business impacted by the pandemic and bring people back into our towns and cities, after a turbulent 18 months for retailers.

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Retailers in Northern Ireland are set to get a huge boost from the high street voucher scheme when it launches

Who is eligible for the voucher scheme?

All adults in Northern Ireland over the age of 18 will be eligible to receive a £100 voucher, with the electoral register and other government databases such as DVLA and DfC being used to verify people's details.

In late August some politicians argued for the scheme to be extended to be offered to older teenagers, MLA Claire Sugden said: “16 and 17-year-olds can work, they have a National Insurance number, they can spend. I would be fully supportive of extending it to 16 and 17-year-olds.' However, the Department for Economy have confirmed that they will not be extending the age limit of the scheme.

How to apply for the High Street Voucher Scheme

To apply for the voucher you must go onto the NI Direct website.

You will need to log onto the online portal using your email address for security purposes.

This will lead to an email being sent to your inbox which you then should click on to bring you back to the online portal.

At this point you will be asked to input your national insurance number to bring you onto the application page.

On the application page you will be asked to provide the following items of personal information:

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)

Including a driving licence number will enable checking to take place with the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

What if you can’t apply online?

People who do not have access to a computer, the internet or an email address can register via phone from Monday, October 11, 2021.

This method will involve you declaring the same personal information outlined above over the phone to a call handler.

More information on the telephone option will be made available closer to the opening time.

How do I activate my card?

Once you receive your card you will be required to verify it by SMS, phone or online before you are able to use it.

You will need to use a PIN for your first transaction, which will be provided for you.

Afterwards the card can be used by contactless payments.

Where can I use my £100 Pre-Paid Card?

A pre-paid card with £100 can be used at any retail business including shops and services such as hairdressers, restaurants and even for home heating oil.

There will be some restrictions and the voucher cannot be used online, donated to charity, to pay for financial or legal services or gambling.

The card must be used in full by Tuesday, November 30, 2021.

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