The Big Issue has teamed up with Monzo to launch what it's claiming is the "world's first resellable magazine", opening up the potential for vendors to earn more.
Going under the name of 'Pay it Forward', the partnership between the publisher and the digital bank will see each magazine of The Big Issue feature QR code that allows readers to pass the magazine on to a friend, who can then scan the front cover to pay for the magazine again.
Founded in 1991 to give the homeless a “hand up not a handout”, The Big Issue is distributed by some of the poorest people in society who buy copies for £1.25 and sell them on the street for £2.50, keeping the profit.
The Monzo collaboration offers magazine vendors the chance to earn extra money from the onward sale of a single weekly issue, making the time they spend on the pitch more lucrative.
For the trial launch, Monzo has supported up to 20 sellers around the UK to open Monzo bank accounts. The money from all their sales via Pay It Forward will go straight into their accounts. The system was created by FCB Inferno.
On Monday (1 April) a host of celebrities including Gary Lineker, Roger Daltrey and Vincent Kompany will take part in a campaign to encourage people to buy The Big issue, read it, then pass it on.
"The people who buy The Big Issue aren’t just readers, they’re often vocal champions of our mission," explained Lara McCullagh, director of marketing and communications at The Big Issue.
"This fantastic new scheme, in partnership with Monzo, gives them a way to further support their local vendor by selling the magazine onto friends and family, and offers those same vendors the opportunity to grow their income and their customer base."
The launch comes just months after The Big Issue revealed it was testing contactless payments for its vendors in line with UK consumers' increasing proclivity for cashless transactions – with note and coin usage dropped by 15% in 2018.
20 magazine sellers across London and Bristol were selected to trial the system, which makes it easier for the public to pick up copies of the magazine, without having to dig out change or withdraw money.
The publisher has also been making strides when it comes to digital content. Last year, The it brought ex-Motherboard editor Ben Sullivan on-board as its first digital editor in order to cement its online presence and reach a younger audience.