AROUND 47,000 households in Herefordshire have snapped up £15 to spend in independent shops, the council has said.

That means more than half of the county's 90,000 households have applied for the prepaid card loaded with £15 to spend as a part of Herefordshire Council's new Shop Local campaign.

The council wanted it to help the county's local and independent traders.

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

The deadline for applications is January 31, 2022, and here's what you need to know.

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."

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.

What are the rules for using the card?

The prepaid card is not a credit card and will have no loan or credit facility. You will only be able to make payments from the available balance on the card.

Your card also cannot be used to withdraw cash at a cash machine, but there are no fees associated with this card.

Any unspent funds remaining on the card by March 31, 2022 will be returned to Herefordshire Council.


But the council also said urged people to keep their card until the scheme closes on March 31, 2022 as more money may be available depending on scheme take-up.

The card will be restricted to only permit purchases at businesses based within the geographical location of Herefordshire.

These measures depend on the information Herefordshire Council receives 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 also 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, 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.

What have councillors said?

Councillor Ellie Chowns, cabinet member environment and economy said: "Herefordshire's fabulous local and independent retailers, producers, traders and hospitality sector help make our county the special place we all love, but they have had a particularly tough time during the Covid pandemic."

"The run-up to Christmas will be a key period for Herefordshire's economy – and local and independent traders.

"By incentivising residents to shop local at such an important time, the council hopes to boost overall spend with the local business community both in the run up to Christmas and beyond."