The Big Issue goes cashless with the help of iZettle

Big Issue vendors across the UK will now have access to cashless technology, thanks to our partnership with tech innovators iZettle

Cashless payments now far outweigh cash transactions, with one in five Brits ditching notes and coins entirely, while tapping a card against a reader accounted for 5.6 billion payments last year.

That means Big Issue vendors, working hard for a living across the country, were financially excluded by only accepting cash. We have seen that reality take hold in recent times so that’s why we decided to do something about it.

Some enterprising vendors have already decided to take it upon themselves to offer cashless payments. But we want to give everyone who sells The Big Issue the opportunity to have a card reader so we launched a trial with iZettle in December to assess how it could be done. The Swedish firm report that 80 per cent of their overall payments in the UK are now contactless, so they were the perfect partner to help us include our vendors in the cashless present and future.

Hugh’s story

In London’s St Paul’s Underground station vendor Hugh Palmer says offering contactless payments has enabled him to “fit back in society”.

The 73-year-old started selling The Big Issue after going bankrupt in 2011 and he believes that offering contactless payments as part of the iZettle trial has given him renewed confidence. “It’s promoting you and people think, ‘Ooh he’s got contactless, he must be OK,’” said Hugh. “You fit back into society; before when it was cash only you would get days when people just didn’t buy the magazine from you.”

As one of the vendors in the vanguard of The Big Issue’s cashless revolution, Hugh also features in the above short film that shows what a big difference being able to offer cashless tap-and-go payment for the magazine can make to vendors. He is filmed at his pitch, showing exactly how it works – and how the speed and ease of each transaction is helping to drive up vendors’ sales.

Help us spread the word over on Twitter and Instagram.

If you are passing his pitch, stop to say hello, buy your copy of the magazine and be part of our #CashlessBigIssue revolution!