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More money for vendors as The Big Issue becomes resellable

More money for vendors as The Big Issue becomes resellable

The Big Issue is trialing a new way to help its vendors make more money – making the magazine resellable through individual QR codes.

Pay It Forward means each magazine can be resold each time it has been read, allowing readers to pass the magazine onto a friend, who can scan the QR code to pay for it again, with the money going to the same vendor.

Each time someone scans the code, they will pay £2.50 for the magazine, with half of the payment going to The Big Issue, and half to the seller. If someone chooses to pay more, £1.25 will go to The Big Issue and the rest to the vendor.

Once they scan the code with their smartphone, they will be taken to a customised page where they will see a verified ‘The Big Issue’ badge next to the vendor’s avatar, and can also find out a bit about the seller.

The system has been created by creative agency FCB Inferno and is powered by Monzo. For the trial launch, Monzo has supported up to 20 sellers around the UK to open Monzo bank accounts. The money from all their sales via Pay It Forward will go straight into their Monzo accounts, which also include a debit card.

Monzo doesn’t require its customers to have a fixed address, just access to an address, such as a friend’s house or a shelter where Monzo can post their card, making it easier for homeless people to access bank accounts.

Celebrities including Gary Lineker, Roger Daltrey, Alistair Stewart and the cast of Wicked have bought copies of the magazine, which are now in general circulation, with the special QR code editions running from 1 April.


Gary Lineker and Aaron Dunn

Big Issue vendor Aaron Dunn with Gary Lineker


Lew Isaacs, Vulnerability Specialist at Monzo, said:

“In the last 10 years, the number of cash payments has halved. And although paying by card is convenient, the falling use of cash has real consequences for people in poverty and organisations like The Big Issue.

“We hope Pay It Forward will help grow the earnings of Big Issue sellers when readers pass the magazine onto their friends. Our goal is to give more vulnerable people access to financial services, and help The Big Issue continue its crucial work.”

Lara McCullagh, Director of Marketing and Communications at The Big Issue, said:

“The people who buy The Big Issue aren’t just readers, they’re often vocal champions of our mission. This fantastic new scheme, in partnership with Monzo, gives them a way to further support their local vendor by selling the magazine onto friends and family, and offers those same vendors the opportunity to grow their income and their customer base.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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