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Out-of-the box thinking: Packagd, a company operated by a team incubated with the venture firm Kleiner Perkins, has launched a mobile commerce app that builds on the unboxing trend. The app, called Unboxed, shows videos of product unboxings with links to buy the products, TechCrunch reports. The company works with Best Buy and takes payments through Apple Pay, the article states; the company's backers compare its appeal to QVC or the Home Shopping Network. Unboxing videos are already popular on YouTube, though video makers on YouTube typically get revenue from advertising and sponsorships rather than direct product sales.

SoftBank's Pepper robot
Timmy, a SoftBank Group Corp.'s Pepper humanoid robot, stands inside the arrival hall at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China, on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017. Bloomberg News

Rise of the machines: Perhaps we should all get used to seeing robot waiters taking payments, like SoftBank's Pepper does at Pizza Hut using Masterpass in Asia. SoftBank is buying the robotics company Boston Dynamics, a unit of Google/Alphabet, and Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft, Bloomberg reports. The original Pepper robot stemmed from SoftBank's 2012 purchase of French robotics company Aldebaran Robotics SA, but adoption was limited, the article notes; the purchase of the widely revered Boston Dynamics could create a better robot for SoftBank and its clients.

Bad Apple: Apple has had a spotty reputation with data security — its iCloud service was implicated in the 2014 release of personal photos by Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and other celebrities — but this time Apple's problem comes from within its own operations. Chinese authorities have detained 22 people, of which 20 worked in direct marketing and outsourcing for Apple in China, accusing them of using Apple's internal database to access and sell customers' personal information, the AFP reports. The exposed information includes names, phone numbers and Apple IDs.

The not-so-great firewall: Microsoft has discovered a group is able to compromise Windows machines by using an Intel management tool that bypasses the Windows firewall, Ars Technica reports. The tool, called Intel Active Management (AMT), is given deep access to machines to allow administrators to perform tasks such as installing operating systems remotely. The same deep, remote access can be exploited by hackers who want to take over a machine and update their malware without alerting the operating system. The article notes that this method does not exploit a flaw in AMT, but rather uses AMT's standard features for malicious purposes; the attack won't work if AMT is not activated.

From the Web

Ant Financial extends online credit service to retailers
China Daily | Fri Jun 9, 2017 - Ant Financial Services Group, the online finance firm backed by billionaire Jack Ma, will extend its online consumer credit service to four million retail businesses across the country to boost sales and encourage spending-as China's consumers increasingly feel more comfortable shopping with borrowing money.

U.S. business schools embrace 'fintech' as students clamor for courses
Reuters | Thu Jun 8, 2017 - Leading U.S. business schools are trying to teach students how to become masters of financial technology, a subsector of Wall Street that has grown in size and prominence, but because the area is still ill-defined and relatively new it is hard to develop courses.

Wells Fargo Employee Arrested On Charges Of Fraud, Identity Theft
CBS | Thu Jun 8, 2017 - Police arrested a Wells Fargo employee accused of bank fraud and identity theft. Hassante Denise East, a customer representative for Wells Fargo located at 700 Adams Ave., allegedly engaged in a scheme with others depositing fraudulent checks and withdrawing money, according to Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

More from PaymentsSource

Facebook's dynamic ads blend the social network with e-commerce sites
Hoping to convince e-commerce merchants to let Facebook target offers to customers, the social media giant is placing a strong emphasis on “dynamic ads” that include payment buttons.

Under the hood of ExxonMobil's Speedpass expansion
ExxonMobil's contactless and mobile payment system, Speedpass, is well known as a way to help drivers accelerate the payment process after they fill up on gas. The system's latest updates focus less on the payment process and more on flexibility and rewards.

Protecting the point of sale means improved third party vetting
Given the breach epidemic, it's time for retailers to consider the security of the vendors that sell point of sale systems, according to RiskVision CEO Joe Fantuzzi.

Mastercard's stake in AvidXchange gives it fresh ammo in the growing B-to-B war
Many companies in the payments industry see B-to-B transactions as ripe for modernization, and Mastercard is no exception. Its recent participation in a $300 million funding round in AvidXchange enables a new approach to this market.

Walmart adds immediate credit access to Walmart Pay
Credit card usage began expanding with the economy, and Walmart wants to ride that wave with several enhancements to its own credit cards, including near-instant access to newly issued credit accounts within its mobile payments app.

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe

Daniel Wolfe is editor in chief at PaymentsSource and a contributing editor at American Banker.