Biometrics, online security, and an unlikely partnership in this week’s staff picks

 In News, Staff Picks

Good morning! Here are the most interesting tech stories we read this week.

Kohl’s will let Amazon customers return stuff for free (Read by Alexandria H.)

Even the largest brands in retail are struggling to compete with the hold Amazon has on consumers, which is why Kohl’s has decided to partner with the online retail giant. In a move announced this week, the department store chain will now accept returns from orders placed on and will also start selling a number of Amazon-branded items in its store. I’ll admit, I thought it was an odd partnership at first, but when I learned Amazon has its sight set on apparel too, the alliance made a bit more sense. Regardless of what Amazon does next, both online and bricks-and-mortar stores should have a game plan because some heavy competition is coming their way.

 ‘Payment by vein’ trialled in supermarket (Read by Camillia S.)

Although I’m not fond of the millennial label, by definition I am one, and lately companies have been making bank off of our need for convenience. I do enjoy services like Amazon Prime and Blue Apron, but I’ll be the first to say when the pursuit of convenience has gone too far. This might be it: Costcutter in London is testing out a biometric payment system that uses the unique vein pattern in your finger to pay for purchases instead of cash or credit/debit cards. With tools like Apple Pay at the fingertips of just about every millennial, I’m not sure “payment by vein” is necessary. Perhaps I’m being too critical, but one expert cited in the article also questions its advantage over traditional payment methods.

Did you pay to freeze your own credit? This bill would refund you — and ban the fees (Read by Heidi B.)

Knowing your credit standing has never been more important. In the aftermath of the extensive Equifax data breach, many consumers have decided to freeze their credit, making it impossible for anyone to apply for new accounts under their name. The problem? Freezing your credit isn’t free. Now a team of politicians is working on a bill that would ban credit reporting agencies from charging fees and also require them to refund consumers who already paid. Stay tuned as this bill progresses!

Avril Lavigne has been named the most dangerous celebrity online. Here’s why (Read by Heidi B.)

Believe it or not, Avril Lavigne has been deemed the most dangerous celebrity on the internet. What does that mean? Security company McAfee says searches for Avril were the most likely to direct users toward malicious sites containing malware or viruses. For example, if a user searches for “Avril Lavigne free MP3,” there’s a 22 percent chance they’ll end up on a dangerous webpage. Yikes. I guess we all need to say “See you later, girl.”

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