McDonald’s and payment cards are coming together like chicken nuggets and fries. The fast-food behemoth recently acknowledged that accepting payments cards has been a key driver of sales this year, delivering higher than average ticket-lift and faster service at the checkout. In an analyst call last week, McDonald’s says it is increasing its payment credit acceptance to 13,000 U.S. locations this year, compared to only 3,000 in 2004. According to VISA USA, spending on VISA-branded cards at fast food restaurants, during the month of June, soared to $1.5 billion with consumers spending an average of $11.18 per transaction. CardData (www.carddata.com) projects that overall QSR (quick service restaurant) payment card volume will top $30 billion this year. The QSR market is estimated to produce $140 billion in annual sales.