You asked. We listened.
In this ever-growing cashless society, we have been increasingly asked when vendors would be able to take contactless payments. We are now pleased to announce that The Big Issue has partnered with contactless payments provider iZettle to launch trials of the technology for our vendors.
Up to 20 vendors across London, Bath, Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham will offer contactless payments alongside regular cash payments, before the technology is rolled out nationwide. The pilot is the first of its kind.
iZettle reports that more than 70 per cent of payments in the UK are now cashless and this partnership will help boost financial inclusion for our vendors.
Ever-popular vendor Easton Christian will be among the first to get his hands on an iZettle device.
The 64-year-old, who sells the magazine at London’s White City, said: “I’ve definitely noticed a dip in the number of people carrying cash, which has had a knock-on effect on the number of magazines that I’m able to sell.”
Mary Holden, 52, who sells the magazine outside Pret a Manger on Horseferry Road in Victoria, insists that her customers have been calling for the innovation for some time.
“It’s brilliant news that The Big Issue are moving with the times and we can now offer our customers the option to pay by contactless,” she said. “I hope I see my sales go up as a result.”
Last year, 27,000 people worldwide earned an income selling street papers, making a total of £23.4 million.
Individual vendors – like Robin Fabian in Bristol or Paul Snape in West Bridgford – have been investing in their own card reader machines over the last year, but this partnership marks the first strategic rollout of the technology from The Big Issue.
Russell Blackman, managing director of The Big Issue, said: “We have long-recognised that we are operating in an increasingly cashless society. Big Issue vendors are microentrepreneurs, effectively running their own small businesses, so understandably there are many who are keen to respond to market forces and offer their customers an alternative to cash.
“The partnership between iZettle and The Big Issue reflects our shared values and commitment to creating a more financially-inclusive society, supporting those whose lives have been blighted by poverty and a lack of opportunity.”
Edward Hallett, iZettle UK managing director added: “We’re constantly looking at ways we can aid financial inclusion so it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to partner with The Big Issue.
“Our partnership ensures that vendors never have to miss out on a sale again.”
Images: Louise Haywood-Schiefer/Francesca Stone