OAK BROOK, Ill. - Wave if you like Big Macs.
McDonalds is testing an electronic-payment system in its home area in which customers can pay for their food by waving a tiny, barrel-shaped device at the cash register or drive-through window.
Each Speedpass key is linked to a credit card of the customers choice, or to a debit card linked to a credit card.
The worlds largest fast-food chain said it plans to operate the pilot program, aimed at speeding up service times, for the next six months at nine restaurants around the metropolitan area in Illinois and northwestern Indiana.
If it proves successful, it could be adopted at McDonalds elsewhere. McDonalds has more than 28,000 restaurants in 120 countries - about 85 percent of them owned and operated by independent franchisees.
Speedpass was developed by Mobil three years ago for use at its gas pumps and is now being offered to other companies. McDonalds is its first major customer.
The fast-food chain is also testing another electronic-payment system in Southern California in which customers can pay for their meals with the same transponders they use to pay highway tolls without stopping at a toll plaza.