Next time you get your debit card out, you might want to use it to buy some hand wash.
A study has found that nearly one in 10 bank cards contains fecal matter. Cash is little better with one in seven bank notes containing high levels of bacteria similar to that found in a dirty toilet bowl.
The research, carried out at Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, showed our hands are therefore dirtier than we might think.
More than a quarter (26 percent) of hands sampled showed traces of fecal contamination including bacteria such as E. coli, the study found.
And we may be making ourselves ill as a result. A further survey of the 272 participants revealed only 39 percent washed their hands before eating.
The vast majority (91 percent) of respondents also stated that they washed their hands after using the toilet, although the levels of fecal organisms contaminating the cards and currency suggested otherwise, researchers said.
Washing hands with soap can reduce diarrheal infections by up to 42 percent but only 69 percent of people reported doing this whenever possible.