McDonald’s is making buying a Big Mac easier by allowing consumers to charge their fast-food meals. reported that the move may be just what the fast-food giant needs to get “consumers to supersize their spending.” Gas stations, grocery stores and even the IRS have given people the option to “charge it,” and in 2003 McDonald’s will too.

A recent study by Visa showed that diners spend 20 to 30 percent more per transaction at fast-food restaurants if they can use a credit card.

Visa has been accepted, on a trial basis, in various fast-food restaurants, including Arby’s, Burger King and Subway, according to

“When fast-food outlets began accepting the Visa card in 1999, it generated $600 million in new charges,” reported.

It isn’t just about making things more convenient for the customer. McDonald’s is banking on findings that when people use plastic, they tend to spend more.

“For frequent fast-food patrons, the tabs could add up to thousands of extra frequent-flier miles each year,” according to “The average fast-food consumer eats 16.4 times a month at a fast-food joint, and so-called heavy users, fast food’s equivalent of frequent fliers, eat 27.5 times a month, according to Sandelman & Associates Inc., a Villa Park, Calif., restaurant market-research firm.”

And if using a credit card at McDonald’s catches on, lines could be shorter as well.

“Powerful processors and faster networks are making plastic faster than cash,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “If all goes according to plan, with the latest systems, a McDonald’s customer will be able to place an order at a counter or drive-through, swipe his or her credit card, and get an approval in under five seconds—no signature required—in the same way that customers pay for gas at the pump.”

Now, Americans short on cash can plunk down their plastic and have it made their way—even faster.

Jodi Mathews is BCE’s communications director.

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