Successful trial sees The Big Issue and iZettle roll contactless payments out to vendors nationwide

The Big Issue and iZettle have launch their nationwide contactless payments initiative, allowing magazine vendors across the UK to sign-up and accept card payments, in addition to cash. The UK-wide rollout follows on from a successful pilot in seven cities that took place between December 2018 – May 2019.

Vendors taking part in the trials noticed a significant uplift in sales as a result of accepting contactless payments. Two vendors are making around 80% of their sales via cashless payments and on average 25% of the vendors total sales were cashless payments via iZettle readers.

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.”

Jim Hannah, 59, who sells the magazine on Dove Street in Norwich, said: “I am really pleased to be able to offer card payments to my lovely customers, which I am now able to do thanks to The Big Issue team and iZettle.

“Before all this started I had no ID, no bank account and a rubbish phone and now I have a decent smartphone, a passport, a Monzo bank account and a card reader. I now feel ready for a cashless future.”

Mike Hall, 29, who sells the magazine inside Bristol Temple Meads station, Bristol, as part of The Big Issue’s partnership with Network Rail, said: “Since I started using my iZettle card reader, I have seen my sales increase by a third, which is incredible. It has been really important in attracting more customers to buy copies of the magazine from me and I am so pleased to be part of being able to offer contactless.”

The initiative is the first of its kind and aims to help Big Issue vendors – who buy every copy of the magazine upfront for 50% of the cover price – to continue to make a living in an increasingly cashless society.

Russell Blackman, MD of The Big Issue, comments: “Big issue vendors are microentrepreneurs, effectively running their own small businesses. It has long been our intention to provide our vendors with the opportunity to cater for their customers’ needs and increase their ability to earn a legitimate income.”

“The Big Issue looks forward to , in partnership with iZettle,  rolling the initiative out nationally, in an effort to improve levels of financial inclusion for vendors, who often live lives that are blighted by poverty and who have difficulty accessing mainstream financial services and products typically offered by retail banks.”

Edward Hallett, Managing Director at iZettle UK comments: “We are proud to support The Big Issue and vendors across the UK as part of our ongoing effort to aid financial inclusion.

“Today 80% of iZettle’s total card payments in the UK are contactless as more people than ever choose to tap to pay for their purchases. It is fantastic to give even more sellers access to the tools they need to stay on top of consumer trends and manage in an increasingly cashless society.”

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