A new app could see Mastercard accepting selfies instead of passwords to make purchases online.

The trial will involve users taking a selfie using a Mastercard app on their smartphone, then using this at the checkout point of purchase, rather than a password, reports the Daily Telegraph. Mastercard customers currently have to use the SecureCode system to input a complex password at checkout.

The app converts the selfie image into a unique binary string using facial recognition technology, and then compares it with a stored code held by Mastercard. If the two codes match up, then the purchase will be approved.

The app is being trialled by a select group of 500 consumers this autumn, but could be rolled out more widely is successful. The scheme is also using fingerprint authentication as a backup, according to ITProPortal.

"We want to identify people for who they are, not what they remember," MasterCard executive Ajay Bhalla said in an interview with CNN Money. "We have too many passwords to remember and this creates extra problems for consumers and businesses. The new generation, which is into selfies ... I think they'll find it cool. They'll embrace it."

Banks and financial institutions are increasingly looking for improved ways of authenticating customers, one of the front runners being biometrics. However, as We Live Security reported recently, a surprising 24% of UK consumers would consider going as a far as giving their bank their DNA profile, while 42% would share biometrics such as fingerprints – a mere 26% would share their social network profile however.