The Big Issue magazine is now available via contactless payment as consumers move away from using cash.
The magazine, which is sold by homeless people, launched the initiative. Vendors involved in a trial scheme in five cities saw 80% of sales become cashless and card reader devices are being rolled out across Britain.
Sellers will “increase their ability to earn a legitimate income”, the managing director of the magazine Russell Blackman told the BBC.
Mr Blackman added that the scheme was “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”.
Financial technology company iZettle is making card readers available to Big Issue vendors for the reduced price of £9.
It says they will benefit from a per-transaction fee “significantly lower” than its standard rate of 1.75%.
Some enterprising vendors already decided to offer cash payments before the scheme was announced.
Big Issue seller Robin Fabian from Bristol bought a card reader after potential customers said they did not carry cash, according to the BBC.
Mike Hall, 29, who sells the magazine inside Bristol Temple Meads railway station said: “It has been really important in attracting more customers to buy copies of the magazine from me”.
Norwich Big Issue seller Jim Hannah, 59, 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 bank account and a card reader. I now feel ready for a cashless future.”
Edward Hallett, managing director at iZettle UK, said: “Today, 80 per cent 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.”
The Big Issue was launched in 1991 and is sold by people who are homeless or close to homeless.
Vendors buy each magazine for £1.25, before selling them on for £2.50.
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