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Alibaba 'Has A Shot' With Cashless Payments, But Apple Has Momentum

Alibaba 'Has A Shot' With Cashless Payments, But Apple Has Momentum

It was recently revealed that e-commerce behemoth Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) is testing facial recognition technology for mobile payments. Tom's Guide Editor-in-Chief Mark Spoonauer was on CNBC Monday to discuss whether the facial recognition payment system will be successful and why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) has the upper hand in the cashless payments market.

Security Is The Major Issue

"At least in China, it [Alibaba] has a shot because of just how huge Alibaba is; but I have some questions about the security around this feature because it's been fooled before," Spoonauer said.

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"Now what's interesting about this is that 90 percent of what makes the faces different from one to the other, like the area you are talking about, is just 10 percent of the surface area. So it's pretty easy to fool, especially for younger people."

Apple's Got Momentum

Spoonauer was asked what he thinks of the cashless payment market in general. He replied, "I think Apple has the most momentum right now just because it's inside phones with the touch ID that they are using and it's moving to your wrist with Apple Pay.

"And what makes that so easy is that you'll be able to just tap to pay without even having to whip out your phone. So, it's that balance of security and ease of use that everyone is going after."

Voice Is An Alternative

On what other technologies companies are looking at for cashless payments, Spoonauer said, "Another technology could be using your voice. And it could be a trigger phrase that you program into your phone or to an app, and I think what's going to win will probably be a combination of technologies, but it can't be hard to use."


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