‘No Evidence’ Cards are Safer than Cash

calendar iconMay 27, 2022


Research shows the virus that causes COVID-19 is more stable on plastic than banknotes, suggesting the prioritisation of card payments over cash to reduce its spread is misguided.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses started refusing cash payments, and despite studies from across the world confirming cash is safe to use, the problem persists. The latest study adds to existing research showing the virus (SARS-CoV-2) is better able to persist on plastic surfaces than various banknote materials, highlighting the flaws in assuming credit and debit cards are the safer payment choice.

The use of money cards over banknotes is not advisable.
"Presence and stability of SARS-CoV-2 on environmental currency and money cards in Utah reveals a lack of live virus, PLOS One 2022

Published in scientific journal PLOS One, the recent study set out to establish whether existing laboratory-based research held true for plastic (in the form of payment cards) and banknotes in a real-world environment. Cash and payment cards—including credit cards and university money cards—in use on and around Brigham Young University in Utah, U.S. were swabbed and the samples were examined in a lab.

The study found no SARS-CoV-2 RNA on banknotes versus a small amount on cards. The researchers add that no viable virus (which could cause infection) was detected on either. They conclude there is no evidence to support the assumption that card payments are safer than cash payments.

Last Updated: May 27, 2022