More than a third of Big Issue vendors now use contactless technology to sell the magazine in a move which has increased their sales, new figures show.
Almost 600 vendors have been equipped with a Zettle card reader and can offer a PayPal QR Code payments to their customers, ensuring they can respond to the need for touch-free, digital payments given the new norm during the coronavirus crisis.
The Big Issue said a vendor offering cashless payments will sell up to 30% more magazines than someone only accepting cash.
During lockdown, The Big Issue has also helped hundreds more vendors get set up with smartphones to help them get cashless-ready.
The latest move means that as well as tapping a card to buy a magazine, customers can scan the PayPal QR Code on a vendor’s phone and pay for the magazine out of their PayPal account within seconds.
Dave, 59, who normally sells the magazine in Hammersmith, West London, was one of the earliest vendors to go cashless.
He said: “The Big Issue helped me out, setting up my bank account and I signed up with Zettle, and it definitely helped my sales.
“Because of the pandemic, card sales increased a lot. I call it ‘Covid reasons’ – people shop less regular, they shop online, or are just afraid to come out.
“You get a lot of people who don’t engage any more, withdraw into themselves. People don’t use cash these days, and they are often in a rush – if they know they can pay cashless they know it’s going to be quick and it’s going to be secure as well.”
Beth Thomas, The Big Issue’s Head of Partnerships and Programmes, said: “The pandemic has only accelerated the need for vendors to accept cashless payments and we began a lot of this work with some vendors whilst still in lockdown.
“Financial and digital inclusion is so important as it enables vendors to access the same services and products as everyone else, regardless of their personal circumstances.”