Plastic accounted for ￡244bn of spending in 2003. "This year, total plastic card use, if business card usage is included, is expected to top ￡269bn." said the spokesman for the Association for payment Clearing Services.In terms of numbers of transactions, cash will remain much bigger than plastic for some time to come, he added. "Cash will always remain there for low-value payments."Meanwhile, 2003 was the year that e-commerce "came of age" in the UK. More than 18 million people bought goods or services online, up 50% compared to 2002.Credit cards accounted for 69% of the 200 million transactions, with debit cards mopping up most of the remainder.Last year was a landmark year for another reason-the first reduction in card fraud for eight years.Fraud losses on plastic cards fell by 5% to ￡402 million as measures to combat crooks started to take effect.A new generation of cards containing computer chips is being introduced,and by the end of this year most people making face-to-face purchases will have to type their four-digit Pin number into keypads at tills and will no longer have to sign receipts.