Last month, Big Issue launched its partnership with giffgaff, and since then our frontline teams have been busy getting 250 refurbished phones into the hands of vendors across the country, allowing them to accept cashless payments without the need for a card reader.
Not only are vendors – and customers – benefitting from this convenient payment option, they also benefit from the connectivity that giffgaff’s high quality, reliable phones bring. By supplying refurbished phones to help reduce e-waste, it’s good for the environment too.
Vendors who have been supplied with new phones say the partnership is already making a difference. Daniel Novac, a 29-year-old father of four from Romania, has been selling The Big Issue for four years in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire. “I’ve been given the new phone and I’m very pleased with it,” he says. “It’s better than when I used a card reader as it’s so easy to use and my customers are happy.”
Customers can just tap against the phone to pay.Brigitta – Big Issue vendor
Brigitta Claudia, who is also originally from Romania, has been a vendor for over seven years, with a pitch on Argyle Street in Glasgow. The 33-year-old has been cashless for a year, but has run into problems with her existing tech. “My other phone was not very good, I had it for about five years and it was secondhand when I got it,” she explains. “But now I’m happy because I’ve got my new phone, and it’s easy – customers can just tap against the phone to pay.”
As well as using the phone for sales – which, as a mother of two, will make a huge difference in the run-up to Christmas – Claudia is relieved to have reliable communication with friends and family. “I have a lot of friends in Romania,” she explains. “I like to have a good screen so I can video call them.”
Claudia is just one of The Big Issue’s many Roma vendors. Around the start of the giffgaff partnership, we also welcomed outreach assistant Leventica Paun to the Big Issue team. A member of the Roma community and former vendor, Paun helps our Roma vendors with translation and outreach work – including help to go cashless. After two months in post, she’s seeing the wider benefits that digital inclusion can bring.