The Big Issue and iZettle have launched trials that will see a number of magazine sellers in Bath and Bristol accept payments via contactless technology alongside regular cash payments.
The pilot 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.
With contactless payments now outweighing cash transactions and a new study showing one in five Brits never carry cash anymore, there is a clear shift in consumer behaviour across the nation.
It was recently reported that the frequency of contactless payments almost doubled in the past year to 5.6 billion payments, as the use of notes and coins dropped by 15%. iZettle reports that over 70% of their payments in the UK are now made via contactless.
Following the trial, The Big Issue and iZettle aim to roll the initiative out nationally, in an effort to improve levels of financial inclusion and better serve those who have difficulty accessing mainstream financial services and products typically offered by retail banks.
Dean Telfer, 38, who sells The Big Issue outside Co Op on Gloucester Road in Bristol said: “About 90% of my regular customers have to go to the cash machine to get money out to buy the magazine from me.
“I have noticed that my sales have gone down, with less and less people carrying cash on them. I am glad that I can now offer my customers the option to pay by contactless, I hope I’ll see my sales go up as a result.”
Russell Blackman, Managing Director of The Big Issue, commented: “We have long-recognised that we are operating in an increasingly cashless society. Big issue vendors are micro-entrepreneurs, 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.”
“The Big Issue looks forward to providing our vendors with the opportunity to cater for their customers’ needs and increase their ability to earn a legitimate income.”
Edward Hallett, Managing Director at iZettle UK, said: “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, giving sellers access to tools that will help them manage in an increasingly cashless society.
“Now, people who aren’t carrying cash can simply tap-to-pay and show their support by buying a magazine. Our partnership ensures that vendors never have to miss out on a sale again.”