The overlooked benefit

Filthy lucre. Literally.

Stinking Cash

WHEN IT COMES TO selling online services, bank marketers typically focus on benefits such as speed, convenience, accessibility, and economy. These are valid, but another, largely overlooked benefit is available, just waiting for the right brave marketer to capitalize on it: hygiene.

In an article for NPR, Michaeleen Doucleff writes,

“… those greenbacks in your wallet are hiding far more than cocaine and the flu. They’re teeming with life.

“Each dollar bill carries about 3,000 types of bacteria on its surface, scientists have found. Most are harmless. But cash also has DNA from drug-resistant microbes. And your wad of dough may even have a smudge of anthrax and diphtheria.

“In other words, your wallet is a portable petri dish.”

Before you run out screaming “Beware of currency!” and treating everyone you meet to a dose of Purell, you need to know that Doucleff says anthrax and many other nasties usually show up on currency only in harmless, trace amounts.

Still, currency gets dirty fast, which is why there’s a good chance it transmits disease.

How does lucre become filthy in the first place? Here’s just one way. Research suggests that more than half of everyday, normal people do not wash after using a public restroom. Now, imagine them handling currency. And imagine someone else licking a finger in order to count it.

You don’t have to be a pathologist to understand how that can transmit disease. And you don’t have to be a germ phobe to find it gross. Especially when you imagine all the other ways currency can become tainted from ordinary, everyday handling.

So here’s a rock-solid benefit: when you convert tangible currency into digital currency, you needn’t worry about where those greenbacks—that is, those digits—have been. The challenge is to present that benefit in a positive, scientifically responsible, non-alarmist, non gross-out sort of way. Any takers?

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