Mobile payments may be better for customers' health
April 01, 2013

The benefits of mobile point-of-sale systems are manifold. They allow companies to be more flexible by being able to accept credit card payments and debit card payments. They help businesses keep better records. They are cost-efficient investments because they use hardware that many businesses already own (smartphones and tablets). In some cases, they can even free cashiers from checkouts and enable them to venture onto the floor to aid customers.

A new study from scientists at Oxford University have uncovered yet another benefit of mobile payments - one that many entrepreneurs probably haven't even considered. According to the report, mobile payments are much healthier than using cash because physical bills tend to collect bacteria after passing through a number of hands.

The Oxford research found that more than 26,000 bacteria live on the average bank note. Even freshly printed notes were home to upward of 2,400 bacteria organisms. Although the study was conducted using European cash, the same results are likely true with American currency as well.

"The bank notes we tested harbored an average of 26,000 bacteria, which, for a number of pathogenic organisms is sufficient for passing on infection," says Oxford Professor of Engineering Science Ian Thompson, as quoted by Mobile Marketing Watch. "Previous studies of bank notes have indicated contamination with potentially harmful bacteria such as Klebsiella and Enterobacter, species which can cause disease in humans."

Perhaps even worse, Thompson notes that many strains of bacteria found on the cash were antibiotic-resistant. The Oxford scientists asserted that there may even be merit to studying the spread of resistant strains through bank notes internationally.

Doing away with cash through mobile payments
There are a number of benefits of mobile payments, but now businesses can even claim they are doing their customers a favor by offering the solutions. While infection from dollar bills may be unlikely, Thompson did say the number of pathogenic organisms on bank notes is sufficient for passing on illnesses.

Illnesses can affect both employees and customers, resulting in downtime or contributing to a bad customer experience. By deploying mobile payment solutions, businesses can minimize chances of bacteria being spread. Mobile payments are much cleaner than cash, which is just another perk of utilizing these systems.

Nexus: G-WEBCD3