A Big Issue seller in London’s South Kensington has become the first to accept card payments for the £2.50 ($4) magazine.
A former London underground conductor, Simon Mott sells 80-100 issues each week, of which between five and ten are paid for by card.
In May 2013 Mott contacted Swedish payment acceptance provider iZettle, whose technology enables users to convert any smartphone into a card payment terminal.
The company made headlines in October 2013 thanks to its cooperation with Situation Sthlm, a Swedish street newspaper sold by the homeless.
By providing the vendors with card readers, the partnership with iZettle enabled them to accept debit and credit transactions via mobile.
Mott explained: "It’s an overall cash register in your pocket, basically.
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"This is a way of capturing those lost sales that may disappear."
Vendors keep half their earnings from sales of the publication which supports the homeless.
Stephen Robson, chief executive officer of the Big Issue UK, commented: "We are very actively looking at it at the moment."
For the time being, however, Mott remains the only Big Issue vendor in the country to accept card payments.
"Some people like the idea of paying by card," Mott added.
Commenting on customers’ reactions he said: "It’s novel to them, sometimes they say to me, ‘Really, you take card payments? I don’t believe that, show me.’
And it’s like, ‘Oh look, you can."