August 12th 2020

Virus on the Cash - how hygienic is that really?

Wherever many people gather, bacteria and viruses also congregate. A constant presence in such scenarios is cash, which circulates through numerous hands. The natural question arises: do bacteria swarm on cash, and what impact does paying with cash have on hygiene when selling food?

From Hand to Mouth - Contagion Risk during Payment Transactions

Bacteria and numerous other pathogens can be found on banknotes. In winter, in addition to the current Covid situation, there is also the cold and flu season. People wash their hands if they feel they are dirty, for example after touching an animal or using public transport. However, when it comes to cash, hygiene awareness is divided. People are aware that contact with cash represents a lack of hygiene, but the thought quickly disappears when they want to bite into a freshly bought snack while hungry.

Delicious Food - Unappetizing Cash

In bakeries, markets, or snack bars, food for immediate consumption is sold, with efforts made to serve customers with freshness and quality. It should be appetizing. However, buyers and sellers take turns handling cash and food as a matter of course. Nevertheless, banknotes are neither cleaned nor disinfected. First, the bread roll is paid for, and then it is immediately brought to the mouth along with any germs. Particularly in the eurozone, cash passes through many hands across borders. According to a study by the University of Oxford and Mastercard, an average European banknote can contain 26,000 potentially harmful bacteria (1). However, only one in five people wash their hands after touching money..

Hygienic Food Sales with Cashless Payment

Cashing up and handing out food are not always easy to separate at market stalls and in small stores. There is also no need to take gloves on and off if you offer customers the option of cashless payment. Mobile card terminals make payments possible in the blink of an eye. Card readers equipped with SIM cards can be used at any market stall or snack bar. With a contactless card terminal, the vendor no longer even has to pick up the card. The customer pays directly at the terminal and the sales staff hand out the food more hygienically. The disgusting thought of cash is a thing of the past and the snack at the snack stand or the sandwich tastes even better.

(1) Scientific study conducted by the University of Oxford on behalf of Mastercard, March 2013

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