Forecasters have long been predicting the demise of the humble password but now a new contender has emerged as a potential successor – the selfie.

MasterCard has been looking at ways of making online payments quicker and more secure, whilst also trying to do away with the effort of remembering old passwords. It settled on biometric recognition, which is simply the process of identifying someone through their physical features. MasterCard’s way of achieving this is either through the fingerprint scanners present on some devices (such as recent iPhones), voice recognition, or the simple selfie.

Using biometrics for security purposes is nothing new, although previous iterations have stalled for not being sophisticated enough to be truly secure. MasterCard hopes to have overcome this with its own system, due to be released in the US next year, before being rolled out globally in 2017.

Not only does MasterCard claim its new method allows people a quick and easy way to access their accounts without having to remember passwords, it said there could also be financial benefits on offer to online retailers. New research conducted by the payment processor found that more than a third of people abandon their baskets if they encounter password difficulties. An even greater number (six in ten) said that password woes had got in the way of them buying time-sensitive purchases, such as concert or festival tickets.

Commenting, president of enterprise security solutions at Mastercard, Ajay Bhalla, told “We believe that security is one of the barriers which is actually inhibiting expansion of e-commerce, because people have to remember passwords and because it is very inconvenient.

“The idea is these technologies should actually change your life, and make it extremely convenient to do shopping on e-commerce sites or on your mobile phone. That’s what we’re trying to refine in these programmes.”