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Your Wallet May Holds Way More Bacteria Than Cash

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There are germs all around you, but you don’t think about that fact very often. Everything you touch, from a subway pole to your cell phone, has bacteria, some good, some bad, some neutral.

A new report that just came out adds another hotbed of germs to its list, and it’s one that can lead to you carrying these little things around in your pocket with you all day. The next time you stick your debit or ATM card into an ATM, you’re probably going to get a lot more than you wanted at the bank. You’ll get cash and you’ll also get more bacteria than you probably would on the subway or in a bathroom, according to the report.

Manhattan is the worst offender on average, especially the most crowded places, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, the New York Post reports.

The New York Post followed around a man who was going around to ATMs and testing them for germ counts. Mike Brown only had to use a special device that fit in his hand that he could then use to quickly check a number of ATMs in hot spots like the West Village and Times Square. He would swab and test the keypad, touchscreen, and card-reading device on each ATM, the New York Post added. He also checked some other surfaces for bacteria so that he would have points of reference for comparison.

“You go to any ATM and you can see the fingerprints on the touch screen, so that may get wiped, but nobody ever sees what’s going on inside the card-reader,” Brown said. “I was surprised that many of them are as dirty as they are.”

Even for Brown, he couldn’t believe what the tests showed.

“Everybody’s always warning people not to put their finger in their eye after touching a subway pole, and this can’t be any different,” he said.

“It might not directly give you a cold or a strep throat, but it can’t be good.”

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