Vote of Confidence
Supporters are then prompted to reply "YES" to confirm the contribution, and the donation is charged directly to their carrier bills.
They also can start the process online by entering their mobile phone numbers on the campaign site's mobile opt-in page, Wedd says. Their contributions are authenticated using a unique, one-time, four-digit PIN sent to the users' mobile to authorize the transaction.
Both methods also require the mobile users to certify they are eligible to make political contributions under the Federal Election Commission regulations. Moreover, campaign finance laws have capped the amounts that people can contribute each month to each political committee at $50.
The 'big shift'
Wedd says political candidates are jumping on the bandwagon and taking advantage of the "big shift in consumer behavior online."
"Think back two or three years ago — the thought of paying with your mobile device to read The Wall Street Journal on your device was very foreign and no one would do it," he says. "But now it's very common to do this."
The idea of donating via text really took off when payvia's parent, m-Qube, processed more than $40 million in text donations for the Haiti earthquake relief fund on behalf of the Red Cross and other charitable organizations, Wedd says. m-Qube launched the ability for mobile users to pay or donate via text in 2004, and since then, the company has paid out just more than $2 billion to merchants and other clients.
However, not everyone is enamored with the idea of Obama and Romney encouraging their supporters to donate via text — considering that the carriers are likely taking as much as 50 percent and possibly even more for their services, says Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer at Hipcricket in New York City. For charitable donations, such as for the Haiti relief fund, many carriers have announced that they will waive their fees.