Obama Debuts Cell Phone Credit Card Swipe for Donations

(Image credit: Obama for America)

The campaign team that pioneered an iPhone app for volunteer recruitment and get-out-the-vote efforts for President Obama in 2008 is out with a new tool aimed at tapping into more cash in 2012:  the Obama Victory Fund mobile phone credit card donations app, with swipe attachment.

The system, powered by the tech start-up Square, is being rolled out by a select group of Obama campaign staff at hundreds of field offices across the country this month, a campaign aide told ABC News.

Organizers equipped with the small, 1-inch square attachment that plugs into a smart phone will be able to accept credit card swipes from donors, whose information will be automatically entered into the campaign's database through the software interface downloaded on the phone.

"The idea is that if you're at a house party or in daily interactions - at a grocery store shopping - and someone sees your Obama for America button and wants to talk to you about the campaign, you can ask for a donation and accept it right then and there," the aide said.

The tool will be made widely available this spring, when supporters will be able to download the free app in the Apple iTunes store and obtain the swipe attachment.

A campaign aide closely involved in development of the technology told ABC News that each "Square" costs about 1 cent when the campaign buys them in bulk. The mobile interface may eventually connect with the campaign's grassroots fundraising pages online, which promote competition among small-dollar donors.

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

"The tool you have in your pocket today - that mobile phone - you pair with one of our readers, and suddenly you can accept payments everywhere. And it's a payment device that 90 percent of this country uses, and that's transformational. "