Donating money to a political candidate is now as simple as firing a 140-character joke about Donald Trump’s hair.
Twitter on Tuesday announced it would partner with payments service Square to allow its users to donate to political candidates via tweets. Political candidates sign up for accounts through Square Cash, and then their campaigns can tweet a $Cashtag to request donations from supporters.
Though the feature just launched on Tuesday morning, Twitter met with every major presidential candidate before its launch. So far nine presidential candidates and the Democratic National Committee are on board. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio have all already fired off tweets asking for donations.
Jeb Bush and Donald Trump notably are not on the list of candidates using the service. Their campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Though the 2016 presidential election is still more than a year away, campaigns are in full swing and candidates are competing for their party’s top technologists. After President Obama’s success at leveraging the Internet to drive a grassroots campaign in 2008 and 2012, many politicos believe targeted digital advertising and online donations could be key to taking the White House.
The Twitter and Square partnership is a transformative moment for online campaigns. Now if Marco Rubio has a strong moment in the debate, his campaign will be able to send a tweet asking for money. It’s much faster than email lists, and it’s more likely to be seen organically by people the campaign wasn’t already targeting.
Twitter’s partnership with Square marks the first time campaigns will truly be able to harness the power of mobile payments. Apple has strict rules that mobile apps cannot solicit political donations. But with the Twitter/Square partnership, the user will be redirected to Square Cash. Square Cash works across mobile devices unlike some clunky campaign websites, and it does not violate any of the Apple Store rules or campaign finance laws.
Square takes a cut of 1.9 percent of each transaction, the usual rate for businesses using Square Cash. Twitter specifically launched the service ahead of Wednesday’s Republican showdown because the network sees the most political tweets during live events like debates.