Mobile payment providers hoping to disrupt payments make a lot of claims about their products, touting them for convenience and security. Now add another benefit to mobile payments: cash is disgustingly unclean.
According to MasterCard, scientists at Oxford University recently found that European bank notes contain more 26,000 bacteria on average. Even the newest notes were home to 2,400 bacteria, with Swiss Francs and Danish Krone the dirtiest money of all.
“The bank notes we tested harbored an average of 26,000 bacteria, which, for a number of pathogenic organisms is sufficient for passing on infection,” said Oxford Professor of Engineering Science Ian Thompson in a statement on the research. “Previous studies of bank notes have indicated contamination with potentially harmful bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter, species which can cause disease in humans.” Thompson added that with recent concerns regarding antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, “there is merit in a wider study tracking the spread of resistant strains through movement of bank notes globally.”
“(The bacteria) come from multiple hands,” said Hany Fam from MasterCard. “These notes have a long time in circulation, they’re handed, hand to hand, from different individuals and it’s inevitable that germs accumulate on them.”
Clearly, a credit card company like MasterCard has its own economic interests in pushing people away from cash. “No, I’m not just advocating credit cards: I’m just saying that consumers are increasingly flocking to other forms of payment – not only for cleanliness, obviously, but for ease, for convenience, for lots of reasons,” Fam said.
This also means that using other forms of payment – like card or mobile payment- is not only easier but more hygenic. Other researches proove that the mobile phone of a single user is much cleaner, and new smartphone surfaces are also antibacterial.