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The Dirtiest Thing You Touch Is Your Credit Card

September 29, 2020

The Dirtiest Thing You Touch Is Your Credit Card

According to a study by and the University of Texas at Austin*, credit cards had more different types of bacteria than cash and coins, which are generally thought to be “dirtier” due to the amount of people handling them.  What they found is that you may not realize how many germs your card comes in contact with, even if it never leaves your hand.

Credit cards were found to be more likely to be contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella than any other payment method tested, including being almost three times as likely to carry the bacteria that causes salmonella poisoning than payment tablets.  The study found more than 3,000 types of bacteria, some of which can cause strep throat, pneumonia, boils and other illnesses.

In another study by**, credit and debit cards were found to have worse germ scores than such unsanitary items as a urinal handle or the subway poles in New York City.  The 41 cards tested had an average germ score of 285, whereas the urinal handle had a score of 163.  Compare that to 160 for various bills and 136 for coins.

Dirty Credit Cards - Sanitize them with the Teko Card Cleaner

How is it that a credit card, which is not handled by as many people, can be even more germ-infested than bills and coins which change hands often?  Credit and debit cards are being used more often and in more and more places everyday.  The key is that many people don’t realize the surfaces their credit card touches have been touched by hundreds, if not thousands, of cards that have been touched by their cardholders.  When you slide your card through a POS, insert it in an ATM or hand it over to a cashier (even one that is wearing latex gloves), your card is picking up the germs left behind by all those other cards.  Most of these surfaces are rarely cleaned, if they’re cleaned at all.

From there, you take the card and either put it back in your purse or wallet, passing that bacteria along to other surfaces that you touch often without realizing that they may have become contaminated.

To combat the issue, UV wands and cleaning stations have been invented to periodically disinfect your cards, but by the time you get your cards home and into the cleaning station, they have already touched your hands, your wallet, and/or your purse.  You could spray your card with disinfectant after each use, but there is a chance you may not cover the card evenly and you’d be missing out on the benefits of abrasion to wipe away the bacteria.  You could use a disinfectant wipe to clean your card after every use, but wipes are only good for one use before they need to be discarded and the cleaning solution on some wipes may damage the chip or the mag stripe on your card.  Carrying around enough wipes to have one ready each time you use your card also becomes an issue.

Enter the Tēko Credit Card Cleaner.  This compact card cleaning system is compact and portable enough to fit in your pocket or purse, and when charged, can be used for 450 cycles (approximately 2 months, depending on frequency of use) before needing to be refilled with cleaning solution.  The simple and convenient process allows you to clean your card quickly and easily after each use before storing your card away.  In situations like the ATM or the gas pump, you can insert the card in the Tēko cleaner without ever taking your hand off your card.  When you need to hand your card to an attendant, you can insert one side of the card first, then flip it over and insert the other side to ensure the entire surface is cleaned before putting your card away.  The cleaning process involves a card-safe cleaning solution combined with gentle abrasion to effectively remove grime from the card surface.

The Tēko Credit Card Cleaner has been designed in a way to make it easy to keep on hand for use when you need it, but also secure enough to keep the cleaning solution inside the container without spilling out or prematurely drying out.  The last thing you want is to find that your purse is full of cleaning solution that leaked out, rendering the cleaner useless.  The container even includes a handy stylus that allows you to push buttons and sign your name on digital screens without touching the surfaces with your hands.  The stylus stores away in the container with the tip resting in the cleaning solution so it is ready for the next use.

So while it’s true that payment cards are dirtier than you may have realized (and you may be thinking about that every time you use your cards from now on), thanks to the Tēko Credit Card Cleaner, you can continue to use them throughout your day while keeping them clean.

*The study was conducted by University of Texas student researchers, who analyzed samples from payment methods that were swabbed by 30 data collectors from all over the U.S. from March to May 2018.

**The study was conducted by LendEDU in May 2019 using Hygenia’s SystemSure Plus Handheld testing device.

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