Saturday, July 9, 2011

Don’t Catch the Flu From Your Credit Card (or Pharmacy and Grocery membership cards!)

We all know that using credit and debit cards on a regular basis can be bad for our financial health, but did you know that this can also be true of your physical health? With the current fears about swine flu, you’ve probably heard that germs can survive for hours on inanimate objects such as door handles or elevator buttons.

What you may not realize is that this can extend to your credit and debit cards too. If someone who is carrying the flu virus comes into contact with your credit or debit card, he or she can easily pass the virus on to you. For example, if a cashier who has developed flu symptoms handles your card during a transaction, they can contaminate your card with germs that linger for anything from hours to months. The more people who touch your card, the higher your chances of contracting the illness.
How can you protect your cards against flu?
You might think that carrying out transactions yourself using keypads is the obvious answer to this, but even this carries a high degree of risk. Keypads are notorious for harboring germs, especially as they will be touched by numerous individuals throughout the course of a day and this can make them more of a potential hazard than handing your card to a cashier.  While you can wipe both your card and your hands with anti-bacterial wipes after it has been handed back to you to minimize the chance for germs to hang around, it is less feasible to do this on keypads before using them as they are not your property to do so.
However, you can still use anti-bacterial wipes on your hands after having touched a keypad. This is obviously not a fool-proof way of killing flu germs, but it is one of the few things that you can really do while on the move. Washing your hands on a frequent basis is recommended for preventing the spread of the germs too.
Don’t Catch the Flu From Your Credit Card posted by MasterCard

FACTOID: Drug and grocery store, gym and other membership cards are often used daily, laid on the counters and never cleaned.


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