It’s a bane of modern life remembering the myriad of passwords vital for everything from smartphones to bank accounts and online shopping.

This tedious task, however, is set to be a thing of the past as other methods are developed.

These include using fingerprint, voice and facial recognition instead of passwords seen as an outdated security risk.

Apple is among several companies preparing to turn to fingerprint recognition.

It is said to be releasing a new iPhone allowing owners to identify themselves by pressing a finger onto the handset.

The technology could eventually spread to allow access to bank accounts and email accounts.

Google, maker of Android phones, is examining voice recognition, iris scanners, behavioural biometrics and heartbeat reading.

Michael Barratt, head of security at PayPal, said: ‘It’s a case of looking beyond passwords and the best alternatives are provided by smartphones.

‘The general view is that Apple will launch a fingerprint-enabled iPhone before the end of the year.

‘The Android handset market intends to stay competitive so it’s highly likely there will be fingerprint and voice identification- enabled devices from them too in the near future.’

Apple has bought a firm forging ahead in fingerprint identification technology and has submitted a patent for a biometric sensor.

Some smartphones already have voice recognition software and around a fifth have facial ID capabilities, including the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Research into passwords by Microsoft in 2007 suggested that the average person used 6.5 passwords for 25 sites. The number will have increased massively since the study.


Mr Barrett, whose firm handled £95billion of transactions last year, claims this year is the beginning of a new ‘experimentation phase’ for the next generation of smartphones.

Apple has already bought a company which is a market leader in fingerprint identification technology. Shortly afterwards, it submitted a patent for a biometric sensor.

The company is expected to release the iPhone 5S this summer followed by the iPhone 6 later in the year.

An iWatch device is also rumoured to be in production.

A number of smartphones have already introduced voice recognition software and around a fifth have facial recognition capabilities, including the Samsung Galaxy S III which allows the user to unlock the phone by looking at it.

But critics point out that the rumoured methods may not work in certain situations.

They say that voice recognition may not work in a bar or otherwise with background noise and fingerprint technology may not always work.

Philip Hoyer, director of strategic solutions at HID Global which manufactures secure identity technology, said the only way round the problem was to combine methods.

‘If you’re trying to access your account in a noisy bar, instead of using voice recognition, you could switch to facial recognition using the phone’s video camera.’ 

Apple declined to comment.