Avoid coronavirus by disinfecting your credit card once a week, GP says

If you want to minimise your chances of getting coronavirus, you should be disinfecting your credit card once a week.

A GP has revealed how debit and credit cards can pass on microbes from all the other people who recently used the same card reader.

Former orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chike Emeagi, Medical Director of Hampstead Aesthetics Clinic and Dr Chike Clinics, told Daily Mail Online that Covid-19 could well be lurking on the flat surface of your card.

"I can certainly envisage a scenario where your card could be contaminated with microbes from those whom have used the exact same card reader previously," he said.

"Germs can hide in nooks and crannies in objects including watches, rings, credit cards, coins and bank notes – things we ordinarily would not worry about.

"Because of limited knowledge of this virus and how it came about, extreme vigilance to hygiene is paramount."

He says touching a credit card presents the same risk of contamination as touching any other surface with which other people have had contact, such as doorknobs and stair rails.

"Any surface has potential to harbour germs, bacteria and viruses."

While the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said the risk of being infected with coronavirus by touching objects like coins, banknotes or credit cards is "very low", studies have confirmed that the virus can remain in the air for up to three hours, on cardboard up to 24 hours and on plastic and stainless steel up to 72 hours.

"This suggests the virus could live on credit cards anything from hours to days," Dr Chike says.

"It important to note that the possibility of catching coronavirus through your card is low but theoretical.

"I would recommend using soap and water or just hot water for jewellery and disinfectant wipe for credit cards – especially the cards you use regularly.

"The frictional force of wiping is said to be sufficient to wipe away any virus, especially with soap or chloride-based cleaners."

Live updates on COVID-19 cases near you

England: 4,792

  • London: 2,433
  • Midlands: 808
  • South East: 590
  • North West: 496
  • North East and Yorkshire: 446
  • East of England: 452
  • South West: 278

Scotland: 499

Wales: 418

Northern Ireland: 149

If you're concerned about contamination you could also wear gloves when handling your credit or debit card.

"But the main consideration is to use caution," Dr Chike says.

"Wash your hands after handling anything that you think could be contaminated."

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