11/01/2011 05:23 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Cash Machines Crawling With Bacteria

Here's something that might help you keep more money in the bank this month. According to British microbiologists, the cash machines on our very own high streets are almost as dirty as public toilets in terms of the bugs they carry.

Cash-machines-are-crawling-with-bacteria Getting cash from an ATM can be a grimy business. Photo: Stock.xchng, Stephen Davies

That's probably way too much information. But according to the scientists, who work for an antibacterial product company called BioCote, ATM machines really do harbour a similar level of bacteria - including bugs that are known to make you sick - as public loos.

They know because they recently ran tests, swabbing the numeric key pads on several city centre ATM machines around England and comparing them with swabs from the seats of public toilets.

If you're a regular cash machine user, you may feel slightly queasy to read that both sets of swabs contained not just the same level of bugs but the same kind of bugs too. And if that's not a good reason to carry a bottle of hand sanitiser in your handbag, we don't know what is (perhaps all cash machines should have signs saying, 'Here's your cash, now wash your hands').

If your stomach is strong enough to carry on reading, there's more. In a survey of 3,000 people, the scientists have revealed what we think are the dirtiest public places: toilets obviously ranked top of the list, followed by public telephones, bus stops, tube stations, bus, tube and tram seats - and then cash machines.

Some people, however realise ATMs aren't the most hygienic way to get cash, with a quarter of those surveyed saying they prefer to get cashback from shops than use the grime-ridden keypads.

Are you concerned at the lack of hygiene in public places? Or are we turning into a nation of germophobes?

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