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Worried about spreading germs? 4 simple precautions

March 13, 2020
Illustrated hand shake crossed

If you’re anything like my sister Saran, being conscious about germs isn’t something new. With an endless supply of hand soaps and disinfecting wipes (gathered even before the recent news of the Coronavirus), she’s fully stocked and ready to battle germs for at least another year.

And she doesn’t just take these precautions for herself. As a primary school teacher, she fights bad germs so her students can be as safe and healthy as possible too. So this got me thinking… what does the average person do who doesn’t have a teacher in their life to help keep germs at bay?

I decided to tackle this question by focusing on my own industry: banking. Banking might not be at the top of everyone’s minds when thinking of health precautions to take, but I definitely think it should be. Banking is used worldwide and centers around everyone’s ultimate source of livelihood: money.

With the recent news of Coronavirus spreading around the world, I want to help keep anyone involved with banking as healthy and safe as possible. Stay safe and prevent germs from spreading by checking out these 4 quick and easy tips you can follow when you're banking:

1. Keep your hands off the cash

We always believed in a cashless society, and with the recent turn of events, we think you really should too. Germs can easily and quickly spread through cash money. According to Reader’s Digest, a new study has just confirmed your worst fears: paper money harbors thousands of germs and other microorganisms, picked up from nearly everything it’s ever touched.

The best option would be to cut out your use of cash entirely. Luckily, with the combination of mobile banking and living in a credit card friendly country such as the Netherlands, France, Spain or the UK, you can conveniently avoid all use of cash. In case of an emergency where cash may be needed, make sure to always wash your hands directly after you touch a physical bill. That way you can help stop those germs right in their tracks!

2. Stay away from dirty PIN terminals by making contactless payments

The average person touches a lot more items in public places than they even realize. In just one trip to the grocery store, you pick up a shopping basket, touch the produce scale and enter your PIN on the checkout terminal. These 3 things alone have all been touched by many people before you!

Since we’re focusing on banking here, let’s dive into the payment terminal. We recommend making NFC, or contactless payments at checkout whenever possible. This way you can avoid direct contact with the PIN terminal and only touch items that belong to you in order to purchase your items (so you know who’s touched them and where they’ve been). If you have a bunq account, you can make contactless payments with your physical card or you mobile device, using both Apple Pay and Google Pay.

On a side note, germs and bacteria can also gather on your cellphone in large numbers. If you’re going to use your phone to make payments, be aware that you don’t have to actually touch the terminal to make a contactless payment. Holding your phone near the reader works just fine. It's called a contactLESS payment after all! In case you accidentally tap the machine, disinfecting your phone will do the trick.

3. Avoid bank branches & public places where many items are touched

To recap, both cash and payment terminals contain public germs. Now let’s think of a place where the two are often combined: a bank branch (don’t even get us started about the pens also used in those places… 😱)!

The best thing you could do here is to avoid all contact with public branches in general. How? By performing your daily banking activities on your phone (or in our case, also desktop). This way you don’t have to set foot in a branch, touch an ATM or discuss any formalities with a bank employee in person. With neobanks, it’s just you and your phone, conveniently (and safely) banking from the comfort of your own home.

4. Access everything from your mobile device in case of physical closures

The same goes for public shutdowns. With more and more places getting closures, one thing you don’t want to have to worry about is not having access to your money. Those stuck during travel might not even be able to physically get to a bank branch to perform certain banking needs.

Mobile banking solves this while bringing you ease of mind. By joining a neobank, as long as you have a mobile device, you can always access your bank account, whenever and wherever you are. If you use bunq, you can use the Travel Assistant feature to quickly read country-specific banking tips (such as which countries you can avoid using cash in).

Stay safe out there and remember, be sure to wash your hands! 🙌


Elise Hofman

Content Marketing Lead @ bunq

bunq.me fan & coffee enthusiast ☕


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