GP reveals you should be disinfecting your bank card once a week because it could be contaminated from previous users all touching the same reader amid coronavirus outbreak
A GP has revealed how debit and credit cards can carry microbes from those who have used the same card reader before you, including bacteria such as salmonella and E.Coli.
Former orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics, told FEMAIL that while the risk is low, it is still possible for coronavirus particles to survive long enough on the flat surface of a card reader to be transferred to your card.
He explained that germs can hide in the nooks and crannies of watches, rings, credit cards and bank notes, and recommends disinfecting your cards and jewellery once a week.
Comparing credit cards to touching door knobs and handles, he suggested using disinfectant wipes to clean cards, and warm water and soap for jewellery
How to clean your credit cards
You can clean your credit card(s) with the same ingredients you use to clean your hands — soap and water. Or you can opt to clean your card with a stronger disinfectant, such as a household spray like 409 Multi-Surface Cleaner or sanitizing wipes from brands like Clorox and Purell. If you use a liquid cleaner, spray it on a paper towel instead of directly on your card.
Make sure you gently wipe your credit card — there’s no need to put much elbow grease into it or use an abrasive material. Credit cards can withstand a gentle clean, but if you use too much force, you can cause premature wear and smudge the signature.
How to minimize germs when paying with credit cards
When you pay with a physical credit card, there are a lot of hands that can come in contact with it. For starters, you’re touching the card, then the cashier may touch the card and if there’s an issue, a manager may step in and also make contact with the card. Then the card comes back to you.
That’s a lot of hands, right?
And it doesn’t end there – you may be asked to touch a payment terminal or sign a receipt.
But you may not know that cardholder signatures are no longer required for in-store transactions for credit cards that have a magnetic stripe or chip. Card networks, such as Mastercard, Visa, and American Express, did away with most signature requirements in 2018.
Even still, the merchant may still ask for a signature due to store policy or local regulations, so this isn’t a guaranteed solution.
An effective way to reduce the spread of germs as much as possible is to use contactless cards or mobile wallets. Most credit cards are issued with contactless capability and if you have an old card, you can request a contactless card. Keep in mind, card issuers are facing high call volumes due to coronavirus concerns, so a new card may be delayed.