New Terminal Could Bring Mobile Pay Platforms to More Restaurant Tables

A new payments terminal, E la Carte's PrestoPrime EMV, could potentially bring Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems to more restaurants, and let people pay for food and drinks without either a card or interacting with a waiter.

The terminal sports dual processors with one dedicated to payments, E la Carte said, and can even temporarily save some data locally in case of a power failure, forwarding it later once an internet connection is back. In addition to Apple Pay, it also supports Android Pay and Samsung Pay, plus less direct mobile payment methods by way of a camera and QR code reader.

For card-based transactions, the device supports both chips and magnetic stripes, with a PIN pad and signatures. Before or during a meal it can provide entertainment like games and video.

The PrestoPrime EMV's predecessor is said to be in use at over 1,800 U.S. restaurants, including chains like Applebee's. While restaurants are unlikely to upgrade en masse, a gradual changeover during the next few years could see mobile payment systems become more prominent.

Traditionally, mobile payment systems were limited to fixed point-of-sale terminals or handheld readers like those from Square. At restaurants, waiters may sometimes have to bring a reader to a table for people to pay.

Platforms like Apple Pay and PayPal so far appear to be winning out over QR-based options. Recently MCX sold off assets from CurrentC, a failed QR-based challenger, to JPMorgan Chase. The latter company is working on a system called Chase Pay.

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