Updated: Mar 19, 2021
The problem with money is that it is dirty; what I mean by this is that all cash, no matter how newly minted, has germs on it. Then your clothing, wallet, pockets, purse, handbags, and cards all get germs and have the potential to transmit viruses including Covid-19. Cards have this problem too; you touch chip and pin pads to pay by cards or interact with an ATM that is used by several other people to get your cash. So, you go from dirty devices that have been used by several others to pay for your goods, services, or food.
“Dirty Money. found on bills: faecal matter. A 2002 report in the Southern Medical Journal showed found pathogens — including staphylococcus — on 94% of dollar bills tested. Paper money can reportedly carry more germs than a household toilet. And bills are a hospitable environment for gross microbes: viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces for about 48 hours, but paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days. It's enough to make you switch to credit.”
But as I mentioned earlier, Credit/Debit cards are not safe from these germs either, sure they are cleaner than money, but you still have to interact with additional third-party hardware like card readers, chip and pin devices and ATMs. No matter how clean you are, you never know how clean the people before you were or even if they were infectious.
A Linton-based viral purification specialist is calling for banks to raise the contactless payment limit from £30 to £200 to minimise the potential spread of Covid-19.
John Creedy, who ran Cambridge-based biotechnology company, Progressive Research System until his recent retirement, contacted the Cambridge Independent in a bid to alert the public about the potential dangers of ATM card readers where the card comes into physical contact with the reader - either through inserting the card into the reader or by tapping the card against the reader during a contactless payment. He also highlighted the fact that there are no clear guidelines as to the minimum infective dose for this virus.
Explaining the way the virions (individual virus particles) are spread primarily through droplets generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose - are transmitted, Mr. Creedy said: “The precise number of virions required to be infected by Covid-19 could be in the tens of thousands. The disease is expressed in the lungs and scattered out when you sneeze. Each particle could travel up to 8 meters - depending on the force of the sneeze - and each particle could easily contain millions of virions.
These changes raise several concerns about fraud. With card limits raised to £200 per transaction and no daily limit for contactless payments, every time you shop using contactless payments, you'll need to put your card into the machine and enter your PIN to verify it's you before you can process transactions. So potentially you can have a tremendous amount of fraud, chargeback.