05/22/2014 12:14 EDT

Tim Hortons Mobile Payment Arrives, Bringing Chain Out Of Stone Age

Tim Hortons customers can now pay for their double-doubles with their smartphone.

The coffee and donuts chain launched its mobile payment system on Thursday, several years after competitor Starbucks did the same.

As some bloggers have noted, Tim Hortons has been famously resistant to new payment technologies. The chain only started accepting Interac debit cards in 2010.

That attitude seems to be changing.

"We're continuously working to implement best-in-class, customer-centric technology in our restaurants and the launch of mobile barcode payments enables us to offer the best overall guest experience," Timmies COO David Clanachan said in a statement.

Timmies customers who have the TimmyMe app on their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry can buy a prepaid Tim Card and register it on their phone. The app then generates a barcode that can be scanned in store, deducting money from the Tim Card.

BlackBerry users will be able to pay using the smartphone's tap-to-pay technology, but the chain says that’s available only “at participating locations.”

iPhone users will be able to add their Tim Hortons to account to Passbook, Apple’s app that brings together all of a user’s online payment accounts in one place.

Part of the impetus to build a mobile payment app may have to do with the company’s struggling efforts to gain a foothold in the U.S. market, where Timmies lags far behind competitors like Starbucks. The lack of a mobile payment app could prove a barrier to gaining new customers.

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