First-ever 'clean payment' bank card launched

The antibacterial and antiviral card consists of a special layered metal coating that prevents pathogens from living on its surface.
By Rachel McArthur
01:13 am
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Credit: Insignia

An antibacterial and antiviral payment card, considered the first of its kind in the world, has been launched by a member-only luxury lifestyle management group. Insignia’s “clean payment” card consists of a special layered metal coating that prevents pathogens from living on its surface.

Tests on the materials used demonstrated that the coating reportedly killed up to 99.9% of germs, with the “pathogens not having time to develop resistance before being destroyed.” Meanwhile, further studies demonstrated that the surface silver covering “catalysed the release of reactive oxygen species, which could even kill nearby free-floating bacteria that were not in direct contact with the surface.”

The company is now championing for other brands to use the technology, not only on credit and debit cards, but other commonly used items, such as mobile phones, stationery and laptops, it said in a statement.

WHY IT MATTERS

This new type of card was created by Insignia in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, after it found that one of the most unavoidable forms of germ transmission occurs via the day-to-day use of money and credit cards.

“With 63% of people being credit card holders in the UAE – roughly 5 million active credit cards in circulation – the potential risk of spreading the bacteria is very high,” the company revealed. 

While card transactions have been on the rise during the pandemic, there are still many factors that can help spread transmission of COVID-19. Insignia cited clinical findings from studies conducted at the UK’s Queen Mary, University of London, where scientists swabbed the hands, money and credit cards of nearly 300 participants. The study found that bacteria was found on the hands of 11% of the total group, with 8% of credit cards and 6% of receipts tested found to be also contaminated.

“The same vector operates for viruses, a crucial consideration during the COVID-19 crisis,” Insignia added in its statement. “Most people are more inclined to disinfect their hands while interacting with others or with large surfaces, while credit cards are almost always forgotten.

“Research proves that this is unfortunately overlooked all over the world, and these ‘hard surface’ equivalent of currency alternatives, such as credit cards, carry contact-viruses all too efficiently."

It is understood that the card will be available across all the markets that the company operates in, and they are trying to launch it in as many counties as possible to support the prevention of the spread of germs on cards.

ON THE RECORD

“During a time of extreme global crisis, our focus today is the safety of payment cards going forward. Everyone at Insignia is extremely proud and excited about the launch of the clean card, not only to help our bid to combat the spread of COVID-19, but also to raise awareness,” said Luka Sur, vice president of Lifestyle Boutique at Insignia. “Together, we will help fight the spread of other viruses and bacteria from what may be perceived as an unsuspecting source of contamination. In this day and age, you have pre-existing bacteria on 8% of credit cards and 6% of cash.”

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