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Big Issue and iZettle contactless payment trials to start

Big Issue sellers in some of the UK’s largest cities are soon to start offering a contactless payment option to consumers.

The street newspaper, which offers employment opportunities to people in poverty, announced in an article this morning (3 December) that it has secured a deal with PayPal-owned iZettle to launch trials of the payments technology among its vendors.

Up to 20 sellers across Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, London and Nottingham will be the first to use the devices alongside offering regular cash payments, but the idea is to roll out the technology nationwide. Some individual vendors had invested in their own technology, but today’s announcement marks the first strategic launch of contactless at The Big Issue.

Easton Christian, a 64-year-old vendor who sells the magazine at London’s White City, told The Big Issue: “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.”

Russell Blackman, managing director of The Big Issue, added: “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.”

The Big Issue says its publication is read by an estimated 379,195 people across the UK and it circulates 82,294 copies each week.