2012 Mobile Star Awards Entries:
> Operator Solutions: Mobile Payments – payvia
> Success Story: Mobile Payments – Obama for America & Romney for President
6601 Center Dr. W, #700
Los Angeles, CA 90045
info [at] usepayvia.com
Company Structure: Private Company, established in 2012
Markets: Politics, Retail Point-of-Sale
Operating Systems Supported: All Platforms
Success Story: Obama for America & Romney for President
Prior to the US 2012 election, political campaigns were eager to harness mobile in fundraising, but the method faced many legal and technical obstacles.
For background, in 2000 the Federal Election Commission (FEC) considered a text message donation plan by the wireless carrier association CTIA, but the proposal faltered when the group could not figure out how to comply with campaign requirements to deposit contributions within 10 days, among other technical challenges.
With experience in providing mobile donations for relief efforts in Haiti and its close relationships with operators, payvia presented its mobile payments service to the FEC in June 2012. It was able to address how its technology would comply with all the legal requirements in providing political contributions. In a rare act of bipartisan agreement, the FEC approved payvia’s text donation proposal, a plan supported by Obama for America (OFA) and Romney for President (RFP).
By August, payvia became the exclusive provider to bring political contributions via carrier billing for OFA and RFP campaigns. As a result, supporters were able to securely donate using nothing but their mobile phone as contributions were made by text message and charged to the users’ carrier bill.
Through payvia, any mobile phone user could text in a contribution in one of two ways using highly-secure and authentic methods of double opt-in methods:
Mobile: mobile-originating message where the contributor simply texted in their contribution amount to the candidate of their choice.
Online: web page opt-in where the contributor entered in their mobile phone number and is then sent a one-time PIN via SMS. The user then entered the PIN and their contribution was placed directly on their mobile phone bill.
While both campaigns would not disclose funds raised via text contributions, Obama credited reaching the $10 million mark in fundraising to new technologies such as payvia. Similarly, Romney credited payvia in allowing contributions in seconds rather than minutes. By the end of the election one in 10 voters made a political contribution via text message or a mobile app.
In closing, within a short period political contributions via payvia made a tremendous impact on fundraising efforts by Obama and Romney campaigns. By becoming the exclusive provider to both campaigns, payvia empowered millions of Americans to make their voices be heard in the electoral process through the new ability to make small-dollar contributions via their mobile – enabling transformative change within the campaign finance system.
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