Obama launches cell phone credit card swipe for donations

Through Devin Dwyer
January 31, 2012

(Image credit: Obama for America)

The campaign team that launched an iPhone app for volunteer recruiting and efforts to get the vote for President Obama in 2008 came out with a new tool to raise more money in 2012: the Donation App Obama Victory Fund cell phone credit card, with swipe attachment.

The system, powered by tech startup Square, is being rolled out by a select group of Obama campaign staff in hundreds of field offices across the country this month, a campaign assistant told ABC News.

Organizers equipped with the small 1-inch square accessory that plugs into a smartphone will be able to accept donor credit cards, whose information will be automatically entered into the campaign database via the software interface downloaded to the phone.

The idea is that if you’re at a house party or in daily interactions – at a grocery store – and someone sees your Obama for America button and wants to tell you about the campaign, you can ask for a donate and accept right away and there, ”the assistant said.

The tool will be widely available this spring, when supporters can download the free app from Apple’s iTunes Store and get the swipe attachment.

A campaign aide closely involved in the development of the technology told ABC News that each “square” costs about 1 penny when the campaign buys them in bulk. The mobile interface can optionally connect to the campaign’s online fundraising pages, which promotes competition among smaller donors.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square Inc., who also co-founded Twitter, told Bloomberg TV last summer that the tool has the potential to revolutionize business and politics.

“The tool that you have in your pocket today – that cell phone – you connect with one of our readers, and all of a sudden you can take payments anywhere. And it’s a payment device that 90 percent of this country uses it, and it’s transformational. “

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