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The Big Issue magazine is trialling contactless payments for its vendors in a bid to combat the UK public's increasing tendency to go cashless, relying on card and smart payment systems.

20 mag sellers across London and Bristol will trial the contactless payments to make it easier for the public to pick up copies of the magazine, without having to dig out change or withdraw money.

Fintech company iZettle is helping with the launch, informing the publication with its research. The drive is built on insight claiming that one in five Brits never carry cash anymore. Meanwhile, research shows that contactless payments doubled in 2018 to 5.6bn transactions, while note and coin usage dropped by 15%.

Edward Hallett, managing director of iZettle UK, said: "We’re constantly looking at ways we can aid financial inclusion so it’s fantastic that we’ve been able to partner with The Big Issue, giving sellers access to tools that will help them manage in an increasingly cashless society.

"Now, people who aren’t carrying cash can simply tap-to-pay and show their support by buying a magazine. Our partnership ensures that vendors never have to miss out on a sale again.”

Easton Christian, a Big Issue seller in White City, London, said: “I’ve definitely noticed a dip in the number of people carrying cash, which has had a knock-on effect on the number of magazines that I’m able to sell.”
 
“Accepting contactless payments as well as cash, can only be a good thing as it will allow me to sell more magazines and grow my business.”

Trials will be contained in five UK cities and expanded nationally after.

Vendors buy the magazines for £1.25 and sell to the public for £2.50. A bumper Christmas edition is priced at £3.

The title was launched in 1991, and since then 200m copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people.