The Big Issue Launches Pay It Forward Scheme

This month saw the official launch of Pay it Forward, a scheme which turns The Big Issue into the world’s first re-sellable magazine, providing participating vendors with the opportunity to earn extra income via the onward sale of their magazines.

Twenty vendors from across the UK are participating in a trial throughout the first 4 weeks of April. The scheme works very simply – vendors sell the magazine to their customers as they usually would, and once they’ve finished reading, they are then able to “sell” their copy on to a friend via a QR code on the front cover. These codes are specific to each vendor, and when they are scanned, they show a verified ‘The Big Issue’ badge next to the vendor’s avatar, and you can find out a bit about the seller by tapping to see more.

Proceeds from these additional sales are divided between the original vendor and The Big Issue. Each magazine can be sold on multiple times, and all income generated is divided between the original vendor and The Big Issue.

Owen Lee is chief creative officer for FCB Inferno, the creative advertising agency who helped create the Pay It Forward system. He said: “By turning every Big Issue buyer into a potential seller, we’ll activate a huge and untapped force for good with each vendor being the head of a chain of entrepreneurship. While all Big Issue magazines are made to do good, this means that every magazine can keep on doing good.”

Pay It Forward has been developed in collaboration with Monzo as part of their #NoBarriersToBanking campaign. Pay It Forward was built during Monzo Time, a day every month where their product teams work on projects that aren’t on their roadmap.

Aaron Dunn, 30, who sells The Big Issue in Covent Garden, said: “It is great because you get to earn extra money on top of the sales you make of the magazine. You never know how far it is going to go. One of my magazines has already been passed around over 20 times.”

You can to support the vendors participating in Pay it Forward by buying a copy and selling it on (a map of participating vendors pitch locations can be found here).

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