London: 01 November 2022 – The EQ Foundation (EQ), the charitable arm of EQ Investors, the B Corp wealth manager today announced a partnership with the Big Issue to accelerate the take-up of contactless card readers to its magazine vendors in London.
In recent years, contactless has become king. So much so that according to the Bank of England the use of cash fell from 50% of payments in 2010 to just 17% by the end of that decade. Of course, Covid has accelerated this: during 2020, contactless payments rose by 12% and are set to make up almost half of all UK payments by the end of 2022.
Currently there are about 294 active vendors of the Big Issue in London but only 46% can accept contactless payments. On average, vendors that offer customers a cashless option sell more magazines – accounting for 52% of Big Issue magazine sales.
John Spiers, CEO at the EQ Foundation, said: “Personally, I haven’t carried any cash when walking around town for more than two years; there’s really no need for it. Unless, of course, you want to buy the Big Issue.
“It’s not easy trying to make ends meet by selling magazines at the best of times but if more than half of your potential customers can’t transact with you it becomes impossible. That’s why the EQ Foundation has been helping to fund an accelerator initiative to provide all Big Issue vendors with access to a card reader.
“This will take a little time, as it’s not straightforward to open a bank account if you don’t have an established residential address but I’m hoping that most of the vendors will be accepting cards by the end of 2023. And whilst the process can take some time, there are spin-off benefits that make it a little easier for vendors to move back towards a self-supporting lifestyle.”