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Big Issue to roll out Tap to Pay technology for vendors

Melanie May | 9 May 2022 | News

Big Issue vendor Dave takes a Tap to Pay payment with his phone

The new Tap to Pay solution from Zettle by PayPal, which launched last Friday (6 May), enables sellers to accept contactless payments in-person directly on their Android mobile devices, with no additional hardware or fees.

The Big Issue Group has now equipped 1,000 of its vendors with contactless technology via the Zettle by PayPal card reader, up by 68% since this time last year. It’s also working on enabling all 1,500 vendors to become cashless by the end of the year with the adoption of Tap to Pay from Zettle by PayPal. The two have worked together since 2018 as part of the Big Issue Group’s Digital and Financial Inclusion strategy.

The Big Issue Group has found that a vendor offering cashless payments will sell up to 35% more magazines using the Zettle card reader than a vendor that is only accepting cash. Nearly 70% of debit card transactions and over half (56%) of credit card transactions in the UK are now contactless.


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With Tap to Pay, Big Issue vendors will be able to start accepting contactless payments within minutes of signing up with Zettle by PayPal. Big Issue vendors will be able to accept contactless payment via physical cards and digital wallets on smartphones and connected watches, directly on their Android mobile device, alongside cash payments.

Dave normally sells the magazine on his pitch at Tesco, Brook Green, Hammersmith and was one of the earliest vendors to go cashless.

He said:

“The Big Issue helped me to set up my bank account and sign up with Zettle by PayPal, and it has definitely helped my sales. Since the pandemic, most people want to pay by card as people don’t use cash these days, and they are often in a rush. So if they can pay by contactless they know it’s going to be quick and it’s going to be secure as well. And for me, Tap to Pay makes the process even simpler as I only need my phone, and that’s great! It’ll be perfect for new sellers too, as they can get out and start selling magazines with contactless as an option really quickly.”

Russell Blackman, Managing Director of Commercial at The Big Issue, said:

“This is a significant milestone for The Big Issue Group. We have long-recognised that we are operating in an increasingly cashless society, even more so since the pandemic. Big Issue vendors are microentrepreneurs, effectively running their own small businesses, so understandably there are many who are keen to offer their customers an alternative to cash. The roll out of the new Tap to Pay feature now lowers the barriers to financial inclusion further, making cashless sales more accessible for more of our vendors.


“The partnership with Zettle by PayPal 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. It has enabled us to work with our vendors to help them manage their finances confidently, using technology to simplify their experience and ensuring they can access the best value of financial products and services.”

Ed Hallett, Senior Director of Small Business at PayPal, shared:

“Financial inclusion can lift people up and spur economic development. It can draw more people into the fold of economic activity so they can make a better living. Our launch of Tap to Pay and collaboration with The Big Issue to enable all of their 1,500 vendors to take contactless payments just from their phone at no additional cost is an important step in our commitment to build a more inclusive, fair and transparent financial services system where everyone deserves a chance to lead a better life.”