Big Issue vendors to accept payments by mobile phone with help from giffgaff

Big Issue vendor Brigitta Claudia at her pitch on Argyle Street in Glasgow (Exposure Photo Agency/PA)
Big Issue vendor Brigitta Claudia at her pitch on Argyle Street in Glasgow (Exposure Photo Agency/PA) Big Issue vendor Brigitta Claudia at her pitch on Argyle Street in Glasgow (Exposure Photo Agency/PA)

Mobile network giffgaff is giving the Big Issue 250 refurbished phones, which will be given to new vendors, enabling them to boost their cashless sales.

This is the Big Issue’s first phone partnership with a mobile network and the first time vendors will have access to phones equipped with near-field Communication (NFC) technology, meaning they can take cashless payments from a smartphone without the need for an additional card reader.

The Big Issue said the move will make sales smoother and easier for vendors, as well as making it quicker and more secure for customers to buy from them.

During the pandemic, the organisation’s frontline teams started supplying vendors with card readers, allowing them to continue selling the magazine in line with health guidelines.

Vendors quickly saw results when they started offering customers this payment option. In an average week, they sold five more magazines, adding up to £520 per year in additional earnings.

The refurbished phones supplied by giffgaff will replace existing handset and card reader combinations, helping vendors to make faster, easier payments, and increase their sales.

Ash Schofield, giffgaff chief executive said: “We’ve all been in situations where people have been trying to sell us the Big Issue and there’s an awkward moment when you realise you haven’t got any cash, because a lot of us don’t carry it anymore.

“So, by providing phones through this partnership, we help to remove that barrier. The partnership is steeped in shared values around connection, accessibility and sustainability.

“We’re trying to make connectivity through mobile as accessible as possible, because fundamentally it’s the right thing to do.”

Marsilia Cimpeanu, who sells the magazine in North London with cashless payments, said: “I’ve seen a big difference in my sales because a lot of people don’t have cash on them as much as they used to.

“It’s more convenient and secure. I can ask customers if they want a receipt via email, and when you tell them that, you give them a sense of security. I think it’s very useful for vendors and for customers.

“Once they see that they have that security and trust, they can come back to buy the Big Issue with you if they don’t have any cash, or if they want to continue using contactless because they prefer it. It saves time.”

Russell Blackman, managing director of the Big Issue, said: “The pre-Christmas period is always busy for the Big Issue, with more and more vendors signing up to sell the magazine and sales dramatically increasing.

“On these cold, dark days, we know our customers want to support vendors by buying the magazine, whilst also wanting it to be as quick and easy as possible. That’s why this winter, Big Issue is partnering with giffgaff to help vendors become cashless, connected and technologically confident, while also ensuring you don’t have to spend time in the cold digging through your wallet.”