Credit cards are the worst. They disconnect users from their money, making it too easy to spend and too simple to rack up debt and potentially ruin your credit score, making it harder to buy other things. Plus, they get skimmed or the numbers stolen, and for some reason most credit card companies think a signature is a good way to keep them secure.
Now it turns out there’s another reason to hate credit cards, and it has nothing to do with money.
Credit cards are just plain dirty. In fact, they have more germs than a urinal handle, according to LendEDU.com. The finance website swabbed credit and debit cards along with a whole bunch of other everyday items, sent them to a lab for analysis, and found that they are positively filthy. The germ scores (where lower scores indicate less bacteria) for the 41 cards tested by the website were 285 on average. For some reason, the magnetic strip had the most germs, coming in with a germ score of 317. Weirdly, credit cards had more germs than debit cards, with an average germ score of 314. (Fun fact: One of the few things that came in with a higher germ score were the handles on Citibikes!)
According to the tests, cards were significantly grimier than cold hard cash. LendEDU tested 27 different bills and 12 different coins, and found that bills had a germ score of 160, and coins just 136. It’s not that cash is clean, though. According to research from Mastercard and the University of Oxford, the average bank note is home to 26,000 types of bacteria, including E. Coli, and the average coin has more germs than on a toilet seat.
This is all just a good argument to start carting hand sanitizer with you everywhere or finally figure out how to use Apple Pay.