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Every second counts in the competitive fast food industry and Tim Hortons (THI) is about to speed up the clock.

This summer, the company plans to introduce new 'contactless' credit card payment technology that allows customers to pay for their daily 'double-double' simply by tapping their card against a point-of-purchase terminal.

That means no bills or signatures – at least for purchases under C$25 – and UBS analyst Peter A. Rozenberg says it could shave 5-10 seconds off each transaction. In turn, he thinks Tim's could increase sales by 2.5% by 2009.

"We think Tim's could be a leader in contactless payment and Canadian acceptance of this technology as Tim's has a large network of 2,711 stores in Canada, a very loyal customer base where 46% of its customers visit its stores four or more times a week, and executes a very significant 1.7 billion payment transactions in Canada per year," he said in a note to clients.

He added that while contactless technology hasn't reached mainstream acceptance in Canada, a 2006 Ipsos Reid and Peppercoin survey concluded that 100 million Americans would use contactless payment for inexpensive items such as fast food and transit fare.

Over the next five years, Mr Rozenberg anticipates a "high growth" of contactless credit cards as it begins to replace cash as the preferred transaction method for consumers.

He also said plans for new cash-like gift cards could result in an additional 1-2% lift in Tim's sales.

His 'buy rating on the stock remains unchanged as does his price target of C$42.

Source: UBS: Tim Hortons' Speedpay Plan Should Accelerate Gains