The chip-and-pin system of payment has been credited with cutting credit card fraud by 13 per cent in 2005.
The Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) said that the alternative to signing for goods has taken card fraud back down to levels recorded in 2003.
In 2004 card fraud was still on the rise, but last year it dropped £65 million to total £439 million.
The biggest drop was observed in the theft of cards from the post prior to delivery, but the use of other stolen cards was also down by over a fifth (22 per cent).
There was also a 25 per cent reduction in incidents involving cloned cards, where personal details are copied.
Apacs spokeswoman, Sandra Quinn, said: "Back in 2002 we forecast that fraud would have risen to £800 million in 2005 if we didn't make the move to chip-and-pin so it's heartening to see total losses well beneath this figure."
Chip-and-pin technology first came to the UK in 2003, but became compulsory last month unless a customer was exempted owing to a disability or similar grounds.
In this case they could apply for chip-and-sign cards, although watchdogs have criticised banks for failing to publicise this adequately.
However, card-not-present crime, such as entering personal details on the internet, continued to climb, up 21 per cent in 2005. To read more about credit cards, please click here.
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