In the ongoing search for the successor to unsecure passwords and PINs, financial services giant MasterCard is taking a modern approach to authenticating transactions called MasterCard Identity Check.

Last year, MasterCard completed a pilot program for a feature that allows users to authenticate online transactions using facial recognition. Dubbed by many as "Selfie Pay," the app maps the user's face and requires them to blink to eliminate fraud by using a still photograph. The company says its algorithms can also detect if someone is trying to fool it by using a video.

Ajay Bhalla, MasterCard's president of enterprise security solutions, told The Verge that the facial recognition system won't be used to authenticate every transaction. Instead, it may be utilized if the context of a purchase seems abnormal such as, for example, if you're shipping an item to an unfamiliar address.

It may seem silly to some but it could come in handy if your phone doesn't have a fingerprint scanner.

Following the successful trials, MasterCard said it will be rolling out the technology to 14 countries over the summer including Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Norwary, Switzerland, Denmark and Finland.

Within five years, Bhalla believes the technology will be ubiquitous. It's unclear if that prophecy will indeed come to fruition but it's encouraging to see large players like MasterCard moving past the traditional password and PIN approach.

Image courtesy Flickr