QUESTIONS have been raised over which businesses are accepting the £15 card Herefordshire Council is offering every household in the county.

And Herefordshire Council has given advice to county residents about the Shop Local scheme.

It said the card, which is a pre-paid card from Allpay, can be used in most shops which accept Mastercards.

But the businesses must be in Herefordshire, which the council hopes will give a boost to independent firms after the coronavirus pandemic.

The pre-paid card is not a credit card and will have no loan or credit facility, so people will only be able to make payments from the available balance on it.

The cards also cannot be used to withdraw cash at a cash machine, but there are no fees associated with it.

Any unspent funds remaining on the card by March 31, 2022 will be returned to Herefordshire Council, but people are encouraged not to throw them away as more funds might become available.

Speaking about where cards can be used, Herefordshire Council said: "Your card has been restricted to only permit purchases at businesses based within the geographical location of Herefordshire.

"These measures depend on the information we receive from that business. This means there may be occasions where your card does not work, and the attempted transaction is declined.

"This is because the address of that business (or their acquiring bank) may not be registered in Herefordshire.

"You may be restricted from using your card for some purchases as agreed with Herefordshire Council, which could include restrictions at off-licences, as well as for betting and gambling (including lottery tickets and casinos), dating and escort services, massage parlours, pawn shops and tobacco stores, counselling services, automated fuel pumps, cable, satellite, or other paid TV subscription services and telecommunication services."

How do people apply?

To apply for the £15 prepaid card, visit Herefordshire Council's website here.

When you have completed the application form, your prepaid card will be sent to you in the post. It should arrive within 10 days of your application.

There is only one card per household. If someone from your household has already applied, your application will not be processed.

Why are households being offered the money?

Herefordshire Council said the aim of the scheme is simple – to get everyone back out supporting local businesses as they emerge from the Covid restrictions of the last 18 months.

"By keeping spending local we can help our local communities survive and thrive," the council said.

"The card must be used in Herefordshire. That way we can all help our great county and its local and independent retailers, producers and traders bounce back from the pandemic and ensure our retail, hospitality, cultural and leisure sectors continue to thrive.

"All businesses that accept Mastercard will be able to accept the Shop Local prepaid card.

"There is one card per household."

It is part of the council’s £6 million plan to help the county’s economic and wellbeing recovery in the wake of the pandemic.