|Politicians have long accepted credit card donations via their campaign Web site, but thanks to plastic card readers they can accept funds on the trail too.|
Square enabled the Salvation Army to accept credit card donations at its kettles this past holiday season, allowing donators to swipe their cards on readers attached to Android phones donated to bell ringers by Sprint ( S). The option was available only in select markets, including New York, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco. There's no official word on whether the nonprofit plans on expanding the option in 2012, though it did announce in January that the technology (it also introduced online kettles that accepted donations via plastic) led to a fundraising record of $147.6 million last year. Pay your library fees
Many libraries, including the Los Angeles Public Library, San Francisco Public Library and New York Public Library, allow you to pay fines and late fees online with a debit or credit card. But residents of Columbus, Ga., recently were given the option to charge their library fees to their Visa ( V) or MasterCard ( MA) in person. Buy Girl Scout cookies
The Girl Scouts announced in late February that troops in northeast Ohio would be ringing up cookie sales by accepting credit cards on their mobile phones with GoPayment, another app, plus a card reader that lets smartphone owners accept credit cards. "We've lost out on sales in the past because many potential cookie customers did not carry cash," said Marianne Love, director of business services for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, in a press release. Intuit, the company behind the GoPayment app, offered to help Girl Scout council leaders across the U.S. introduce cookie-selling credit card capabilities.