Virgin Media O2 has announced it will be working with Big Issue Group to support all Big Issue vendors with free O2 SIMs and data vouchers, as the cost-of-living crisis deepens this Christmas.
Last year, O2 gave over 200 Big Issue vendors free data plans, enabling them to take contactless payments, providing vital support at a time when 52% of magazine sales are via contactless.
This year the company will be offering monthly data to the magazine’s entire network of vendors. This comes as it is reported 18.7 million people are expected to have their ability to get online impacted by the cost of living crisis.
In the UK, nine out of ten in-person transactions are now via contactless, which makes vendors’ access to data crucial in order to successfully sell the magazine. On average vendors who use contactless make 35% more than those who do not.
Stevie Paterson from Edinburgh, one of the Big Issue vendors given O2 data last year, explained: “The O2 SIM was really important to me. It meant I could set myself up on Zettle to accept contactless payments – now, it’s how I sell about half my magazines.”
Big Issue vendor Darren Brown from Middlesbrough, who was also part of last year’s data roll-out, said: “I’ve never been a technology person, but they showed me how to use it and access the internet. If a customer is looking for somewhere, I help them with the maps on my phone, and I’ve even had my supermarket shopping delivered. The O2 SIM card is the best thing I’ve ever had through The Big Issue.”