Remember the days when you had to sign something if you paid by card?

Believe it or not, it’s been 10 years since the introduction of Chip & PIN changed the way we use our credit and debit cards.

To mark the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of Chip & PIN, The UK Cards Association has published new figures showing exactly how much we use debit and credit cards to pay for goods.

According to the figures, nearly £4 out of every £5 of spending at British retailers is now made through debit and credit cards.

Figures from the UK Card Association showed that spending on payment cards was up to £53.2bn in November – up by 0.6% on October.

Spending on payment cards was up to £53.2bn in November 2015

Contactless spending hit the milestone of £1bn spending within a single month – up by 10% on October – compared to £0.3bn a year ago.

Forecasts suggest the amount spent on debit and credit cards could reach £901bn in 2024.

In 2006, when the switchover to Chip & PIN happened, 55% of spending at retailers was made on payments cards, compared to 78.5% in December 2015.

The switch, on 14 February 2006, was one of the biggest changes in the way we pay for goods in the UK since decimalisation in 1971.

Chip & PIN was introduced to combat fraud on lost and stolen and counterfeit cards.

Technology for the payment system was rolled out gradually by banks and retailers in the months leading up to the changeover and from 14 February, 2006, all transactions had to be Chip & PIN.

Since the system was introduced, there has been a reduction in counterfeit cards and high street fraud, with annual counterfeit card fraud losses alone down £81.9m between 2004 and 2014.

Chip & PIN introduced more security, bringing with it a reduction in counterfeit cards and high street fraud

Among the Chip & PIN’s successes are contactless cards, which are now used for a tenth of card transactions, and its system has also enabled card payments to be processed by mobile retailers.

It also gives retailers more flexibility as they no longer have to serve customers at a fixed till point and can use things like tablets instead.

Richard Koch, head of policy at The UK Cards Association, said: “Chip & PIN was introduced a decade ago to combat the rising levels of counterfeit and stolen card fraud in the UK.

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“It was the biggest change to consumer behaviour since decimalisation and it has been hugely successful in tackling counterfeit cards and reducing the threat of fraudsters using lost and stolen cards on the high street.

“The introduction of Chip & PIN was a break with an 18th Century system which relied on signing pieces of paper to authorise a payment.”

He said Chip & PIN was deliberately designed so it could allow innovation like contactless and mobile payments, which use the same robust security features.

“Chip & PIN was world-leading in 2006 and is the envy of many industries.

“It has proven both a huge success and a great foundation for the future.”