Study: Credit cards carry more types of bacteria than coins, cash

Filthy lucre? Cash isn’t the only payment method covered in germs.

Credit cards, payment tablets and ATM keypads carry bacteria that cause illnesses, a study by and the University of Texas at Austin has found.

Payment tablets, like the ones restaurant, bar and food truck patrons tap and sign with their bare fingers, were found to have more different types of bacteria than any other payment method studied. And credit cards had more different types of bacteria than cash and coins, contrary to the popular perception of money as being “dirty.”

Some of the nastiest bugs found on the surfaces of the payment methods studied included Staphylococcus aureus– the culprit behind staph infections – and Salmonella enterica, a common source of food poisoning.

Nevertheless, the average healthy person is unlikely to get sick just by swiping plastic or tapping a tip selection.

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