A popular Honiton Big Issue vendor is the latest to offer cashless payments

Andrew McGarry has made the switch to offer card payments alongside cash, with the help of a card reader and PayPal

Big-hearted Big Issue vendor Andrew McGarry has become the latest vendor to offer cashless payments after investing in a card reader.

The 52-year-old seller, who is now selling the magazine at Lace Walk in Honiton after moving from his pitch near Cathedral Green in Exeter, spent £30 to buy the device earlier in May.

He was inspired by Bristol vendor Robin Fabian, who hit the headlines in February after becoming the first to offer the payment option.

Andrew McGarry
Vendor Andrew McGarry has attracted attention for his fundraising and charity work

Andrew insists he is encouraged by his first few days using the reader.

“I read about vendors getting card machines in The Big Issue and managed to get one on special offer on eBay for £30 down from £69 I think,” he said.

“It takes about one to two hours to charge and works with your phone and it is very secure too – you don’t receive any details and the customer also gets a text confirming the transaction.

“I’m using PayPal for my mine, I’m not sure that is the case for other vendors, but that means there is no two-day delay, the money goes straight into my account so it’s a good system.”


The Big Issue magazine is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and circulates 82,294 copies every week.

Andrew has become a pillar of the community in Devon and he received the Friendly Community Together Gong at last year’s Devon Community Honours awards.

As well as marking his role as a vendor, the seller also contributes to charity and fundraising work in the region and has donated £500-worth of clothing and resources to local homeless shelter St Petrock’s.

Andrew’s community focus has also seen him attend the Houses of Parliament in Westminster as a guest of The Big Issue founder John Bird last year, as well as giving a talk on homelessness with Bishop Martin Shaw at Exeter Cathedral.

And he is relishing the chance to offer an additional way to pay to make his regulars’ lives easier.

“At the end of the day, if I am able to sell 15-20 more magazines then it is worth it,” added Andrew, whose charitable efforts also extend to supporting St David’s Church soup kitchen in Exeter.

“I’m not sure it will see me double my sales or anything like that but it is an extra option for customers. It’s good thing to offer and I think it very much depends on the vendor how much you will get out of it.”