The portal allows anyone aged 18 and over and resident in Northern Ireland to apply for the £ 100 Spend Local prepaid cards.
Minister Gordon Lyons said: “Now is the time for residents of the Derry City area and Strabane District Council to prepare to spend locally.
“But I urge people to be patient as we expect demand to be high when the online portal begins to open.
“The portal remains open until October 25, so anyone will have the opportunity to apply, with at least four weeks after that to use their Spend Local cards, as the program doesn’t end until November 30.”
The aim of the £ 145million High Street Support Scheme is to boost local businesses following the drop in footfall caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minister Lyons added: ‘By offering anyone aged 18 and over in Northern Ireland a prepaid card worth £ 100 to spend at local businesses, we will encourage many more customers to come back through the doors. retail, hospitality and local services.
“By applying, receiving and ultimately using your Spend Local Card at local businesses such as stores, hotels and other services before November 30, you will help support your local businesses and the community at large.”
Applicants are encouraged to apply through the NI Direct website. For verification purposes to reduce the risk of fraud and error, each applicant will be asked to provide their: name, address, age, gender, disability status, national insurance number, email address and number phone.
Applicants also have the option of including a driver’s license 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.
Eligible applicants must receive their Spend Local card within 7-10 days of application.
When an applicant receives their card, they will need to verify the card through a computerized phone system or text message and make the first payment using a PIN, before they can start using it for contactless payments. .
The cards can be used at all participating businesses in Northern Ireland. They cannot be used online or for gambling or certain financial and legal services.