The Big Issue Foundation is a U.K.-based organization that offers income opportunities for people who are homeless. Or, more specifically, to those that are either homeless, unemployed, in danger of losing their home or currently residing in temporary accommodations. And how do they do this? By making them small business owners.
The foundation publishes a namesake magazine that eligible individuals are able to sell to the local population for a price almost double what they pay for it, though still a nominal fee. This enables those vendors to make enough profit to offer a level of somewhat dependable income.
However, as cashless payments continue to infiltrate the ecosystem, these street vendors are experiencing enough lost sales to motivate the foundation to take a stand.
According to the Financial Times (via PYMNTS.com), The Big Issue is now asking the U.K.’s retail banks for assistance in enabling their vendors to accept cashless payments. As it stands now, according to the article, only those vendors with active bank accounts are able to offer cashless technology – which would mean they need a permanent address.
The foundation has partnered with contactless payments provider iZettle to launch an eight-week trial for 20 magazine vendors in select areas to offer both cash and cashless payment options to their patrons, according to The Big Issue.
The foundation said that this pilot is “the first of its kind,” as it will provide the cashless technology to these vendors, versus them having to purchase it on their own.
“We have long recognized that we are operating in an increasingly cashless society,” said The Big Issue Managing Director Russell Blackman. “Big Issue vendors are microentrepreneurs, effectively running their own small businesses, so understandably there are many who are keen to respond to market forces and offer their customers an alternative to cash. The partnership between iZettle and The Big Issue 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.”
And according to The Guardian, if the trial goes well, the plan is to roll it out nationally.