The Big Issue fast-tracks financial inclusion as 1,000 sellers now accept cashless payments
Big Issue vendors to be among first in UK to use new Tap to Pay with Zettle by PayPal

London, UK (Thursday, 5th May 2022) - The Big Issue Group (TBIG) has hit a breakthrough of equipping 1,000 of its vendors with contactless technology via the Zettle by PayPal card reader, up by 68% since this time last year1. In addition, it is quickly fast-tracking to its goal of 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.

With every pound of profit being invaluable for The Big Issue vendors, the new solution from Zettle by PayPal, launching today, enables sellers to accept contactless payments in-person directly on their Android mobile devices, with no additional hardware and no additional fees.

The launch is timely for vendors as the popularity of contactless payments continues to rise, with TBIG finding 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, as nearly 70%2 of debit card transactions and over half (56%) of credit card transactions in the UK are now contactless.

TBIG has worked in collaboration with Zettle by PayPal since 2018 as part of its Digital and Financial Inclusion strategy which ensures its vendors, some of society’s most vulnerable people, are financially included and have access to the tools they need to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

With Tap to Pay, Big Issue vendors will be able to start accepting contactless payments within minutes of signing up with Zettle by PayPal. 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, so was aware of the benefits of offering contactless sales even before the pandemic. “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,” he said.

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.”

For more information or to locate your local vendor and buy an issue directly from them visit

For more information, please contact:
Ruth Law -
Jenna Thompson-Nurse –

Notes to Editors:

In May 2021 594 Big Issue sellers were equipped to take contactless payments. As of May 2022 1,000 sellers are enabled to take contactless payments.

2 UK Finance Card Spending Data March 2022 

Tap to Pay from Zettle by PayPal

It's simple, quick and easy for Big Issue vendors to start accepting contactless payments with Tap to Pay with Zettle by PayPal:

  1. Download the Zettle Go application on an Android device and once signed up with Zettle by PayPal, begin accepting payments within minutes.
  2. To accept a payment, either enter a specific amount or select an item from the product library. Then select “Charge” and choose “Tap to Pay” as the payment method.
  3. To make a payment, customers can tap their card or digital wallet-linked smartphone or watch on the back of the Android device. 
  4. Once the payment is approved, a receipt can be text or emailed to  the buyer if they wish.
  5. The fee for accepting contactless payments via Tap To Pay is the same as the fee for card-present transactions, other than that, there are no additional fees.

About PayPal
PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering tens of  million consumers and merchants in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy. For more information, visit

About The Big Issue Group

  • The Big Issue is a social enterprise whose mission is to deliver a world that works for everyone. Creating and offering self-help and sustainable business solutions that dismantle poverty now and for future generations.
  • The Big Issue is an award-winning weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which offers a new hope for homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK. When vendors are able to sell, they buy magazines for £1.50 and sell to the public for £3, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income. 
  • Founded in 2005, Big Issue Invest (BII) is the social investment arm of The Big Issue which extends the organisation’s mission to dismantle poverty through creating opportunity. BII offers loans and investment from £20,000 to £3 million to social enterprises and charities across the UK. The capital raised by BII is from private sources and not from sales of the magazine. Big Issue Invest currently manages or advises on £170 million of social funds.
  • The Big Issue Shop offers a platform for social trading that will make social and ethical shopping a truly accessible option for consumers, giving them the opportunity to use their spending power to make a positive difference to the world we live in. The Big Issue Shop sells its own-branded products as well as those from other social businesses meaning every item purchased has a positive social outcome. This could be through what the product is made from, who it is made by or where the profits end up. Every purchase through The Big Issue Shop puts people and planet first. For more information go to:
  • The Big Issue Foundation is the organisation’s charitable arm, which exists to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the issues which have led or contributed to their circumstances. The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals.
  • Lord John Bird, Founder of The Big Issue, is an independent ‘People’s Peer’, appointed in 2015 and is a co-sponsor of the Wellbeing Future Generations Bill alongside Conservative MP Simon Fell.
  • The Wellbeing Future Generations Bill will require the UK Government to:
    1. Work to prevent problems, including the climate crisis, poverty & pandemics from happening, and not just deal in emergencies;
    2. Give current and future generations a voice in decision-making, and protect them from global threats;
    3. Deliver a new, sustainable vision for the nation, as we seek to recover from the covid crisis, that prioritises our environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing.
    4. The full bill can be read here.
  • For further information please go to
  • The Big Exchange was founded in November 2020 with the mission to build a new financial system in the UK - one that works for everyone and delivers a positive impact on people, and the planet. The Big Exchange has since been recognized with a number of accolades, including being named as one of Good with Money’s top sustainable platforms for 2022 and receiving Boring Money’s Best Sustainable ISA award. It has also been awarded with Investors Chronicle ESG Community award, recognising it for giving people a new way to invest.
  • Big Issue eBikes is a national eBikes scheme launched by The Big Issue Group, in partnership with Norwegian micro-mobility experts, ShareBike.
  • In 2020, The Big Issue Group partnered with ShareBike in the UK to create bike-sharing solutions in combination with social impact.
  • The first eBikes were rolled out in Bristol in early 2022, with plans to expand nationwide and to provide hundreds of green jobs to under-served communities.
  • The monthly subscription is £19.95/month. This is for unlimited rides up to 10 minutes per ride and then charged at 20p per minute to a maximum of £12 a day. The subscription can be cancelled at any time without penalty.
  • There is also a pay-as-you-go option which only requires a £10 deposit and 50p to get started and then is charged at 20p per minute up to a maximum of £12 for the day.
  • To find out more please visit:



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