Consumer Payment Card News

Cashless Burgers

Before long, the first thing you’ll do at a fast food drive-thru is swipe your credit card. Believe it or not, after 35 years of penetrating every corner of consumer payments, credit cards are finally coming to the quick service restaurant market. In the past, credit cards were too slow and too expensive for fast, low-ticket fast food sales. Today, credit cards can be processed in seconds, and the merchant fees have become cost-justified. Prior studies have shown that consumers tend to spend about 30% more when using plastic in fast food outlets. VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express logos are now showing up at Arby’s, Burger Kings, and McDonald’s. This summer, VISA launched a pilot in Atlanta that includes about 100 Burger King restaurants. Three of the restaurants involved in the pilot are testing a drive-thru payment system which enables customers to swipe their cards at the order board before placing their food orders. By the time the customer drives up to the food pick-up window, the payment transaction will have already been completed. The test will determine the best card solution based on speed and accuracy of transactions, overall customer satisfaction, average ticket size and other measures. The VISA pilot is similar to a Chicago pilot involving use of ExxonMobil’s Speedpass at McDonald’s restaurants.

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