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The Wall Street Journal reports that McDonald’s will begin accepting credit cards and debit cards for payment throughout the US next year, and expectations are that other fast food chains will follow suit faster than you can cook up a Big Mac and fries.

The goal of the shift is to speed up the checkout process; if a person swipes his or her own card the same way they do at the gas pump, the average transaction time is under five seconds, as opposed to the eight-to-ten seconds it takes to pay cash. The move should also increase transaction size

In addition, the move is expected to have a major impact on credit cards that have affiliations with frequent flier programs, since average fast food consumers eat at such restaurants 16.4 times a month, and heavy users do so 27.5 times a month. At maybe five or six bucks a trip, the feeling is that there will be a lot of people eating burgers and fries and going to Disney…which will be news of questionable value to airlines like United and USAir that already are having financial problems.
KC's View:
In the case of the heavy users, the accent is on the “heavy.” (No wonder the US has an obesity problem. We think that any parent who takes his or her kids to fast food restaurants more than four times a month is the moral equivalent of Michael Jackson dangling his baby over the side of a hotel balcony. Though just using the words “Michael Jackson” and “his children” in the same sentence seems like an oxymoron all by itself. But, we digress…)

Here’s a question. How long do you think it will be before McDonald’s and its fast food brethren join the suit against Visa and MasterCard because they’ve realized that they and consumers are being ripped off.