CBSN

Here's how selfie passwords will work

MasterCard plans to introduce a new "selfie pay" security system in more than a dozen countries this summer.

The technology is simple: Instead of typing in a password into your phone to use the MasterCard app for mobile payments, users simply take a selfie to verify their identity and complete the transaction.

"The technology basically assigns a value to your face, the shape, the exact length of your nose, etcetera," Cheryl Guerin, MasterCard's Executive Vice President of Products and Solutions, told CBS News.

Mastercard's selfie system is one of the many forms of biometric authentication that companies are working on to enhance security of online data. Fingerprint scans, palm scans and iris scans are being used to authenticate identity at airports, banks, hospitals and other facilities around the world.

Biometrics are also being built into millions of smartphones that unlock with a fingerprint and consumer products like the PS4 video game system which can recognize individual players' faces.

"It's a little weird giving over your physical personal information to a business and it can feel a little invasive, but yes, it can be a lot more secure. It's hard to fake biometric information," CNET cybersecurity reporter Laura Hautala said.

To ensure that the image is of an actual person and not a photo, the Mastercard selfie has users blink in front of the camera.

"It can't be somebody taking a picture of you and putting it in front of the phone to authenticate. The blink let's us know that it's really you and it's happening right now," Guerin said.

Such technology could become even more commonplace in the near future. Amazon, the world's biggest retailer, has reportedly filed for a patent on a similar system that would allow customers to make online purchases with a photo or video of themselves instead of a password.