A big part of the EMV migration is awkward for restaurants in the U.S., but Apple Pay may ease the discomfort, said Harbortouch CEO Jared Isaacman.

"Outside the U.S., the wait staff brings a credit card terminal to your table, you slide the card, enter your PIN and you're done," said Isaacman. "But in the U.S., where tipping is more common, you have to also enter a tip with the waiter or waitress directly in front of you, which can be awkward. That's why we're putting 'pay at the table' on a mobile app."

Harbortouch, an Allentown, Pa.-based point of sale and merchant service provider, on Oct. 20 released Perkwave, a mobile app that uses Apple Pay to enable payments at restaurants. The app, which Harbortouch expects to deploy at thousands of restaurant clients for free, also includes loyalty and rewards functions. Consumers who download the app can search to find local restaurants that accept Perkwave.

Instead of using an EMV terminal, the restaurant can use the mobile app to accept EMV-compatible payments. Consumers use the app by scanning a QR code near a 'pay at table with Apple Pay' option on the bill.

"With the EMV migration, all restaurants in the U.S. will have to offer some form of pay at the table," said Isaacman said. "The service is better if the consumer can do things on his own terms."

While many restaurants, payment companies, and e-commerce companies offer mobile apps for dining, the expected boost in consumer awareness from Apple will breathe new life into the use case, Isaacman said.

"Pay at the table is a real challenge and has been for years," Isaacman said. "We're putting the control of the payment execution in the hands of the consumer."

While Apple Pay will have a major impact on mobile payments and on Near Field Communication as a payments enabler, those advancements  won't be overnight, said Zil Bareisis, a senior analyst at Celent, who adds some early successes for Apple Pay could come from paying at tables in restaurants or through in-app purchases.

"Consumers still need to get the new phones and merchants need to enable acceptance," Bareisis said. "There is much excitement about Apple finally throwing its weight behind NFC technology. However, I am convinced that at least in the early days, Apple Pay's success will be driven by purchases from within the apps provided by merchants and their providers, whether it's ordering remotely, paying at a table or checking out a virtual basket."

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