Big Issue vendors accept contactless payments directly on NFC smartphones in the UK

SOFTPOS: The refurbished NFC phones enable vendors to accept payments without a separate device

Big Issue magazine is enabling its street vendors in the UK to accept contactless payments for copies of the publication directly on NFC smartphones without needing an additional card reader.

Big Issue — which supports homeless and vulnerably-housed people by enabling them to earn an income from on-street sales — is distributing 250 refurbished NFC smartphones to vendors in order to “make sales smoother and easier” for them “as well as making it quicker and more secure than ever for customers to buy from them”, Big Issue says.

It originally began enabling vendors to accept contactless payments by distributing card readers during the Covid-19 pandemic, with vendors reporting that “in an average week, they sold five more copies, adding up to £520 (US$655) a year in additional earnings”.

“The refurbished phones supplied by [mobile virtual network operator] Giffgaff will replace our existing handset and card reader combinations, helping vendors to make faster, easier transactions, and increase their sales even more,” Big Issue says.

“There are many examples of vendors who have transformed their lives in positive ways by going cashless,” Big Issue’s national cashless programme coordinator Felipe Ramirez explains.

“One notable example is a vendor who was recently released from prison. They were sleeping rough and unfortunately were being robbed of their belongings on a regular basis — this included their mobile phone.

“Under the cashless project, we were able to provide a new handset free of charge, which enabled them to take card payments and provided them with a consistent livelihood by selling the magazines.

“Furthermore, we established a consistent line of communication which was not available before, and have been able to secure housing and government benefits to get them off the streets.”

Big Issue vendors accept contactless payments directly on NFC smartphones in the UK was written by Tom Phillips and published by NFCW.