Personal Finance: Dirty Money

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Michelle Singletary
Thursday, January 13, 2011; 8:58 AM

The next time you pull money out of an ATM, you might want to wipe your hands afterward.

A study conducted by a U.K. firm found that ATMs had more bacteria than some nearby public toilets, according to a report in The Daily Mail.

After swabbing ATM keys and letting the samples grow overnight, researchers found that the swabs contained pseudomonads and bacillus, bacterias which are known to cause sickness, including diarrhea.

"We were surprised by our results because the ATM machines were shown to be heavily contaminated with bacteria," Richard Hastings, a microbiologist for BioCote told the Daily Mail.

Of course, the company may be a bit bias. BioCote makes an anti-bacterial coating that can be used on ATM keys.

Should you be worried about the findings? Not particularly, according to William Schaffner, a preventative medicine specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"Bacillus is trivial," he told CBS News. "It only causes infections in the most compromised people in hospitals. Pseudomonads is quite similar."

Still, I'm keeping a hand wipe nearby the next time I visit the ATM.

Celebrity Cash

Dashing away from a pre-paid debit deal may cost the Kardashians $75 million dollars.

Revenue Resource Group is suing the Kardashian sisters -- Kim, Khloe and Kourtney -- for terminating their contract to promote what was dubbed the Kardashian Kard. The ladies bailed on the endorsement deal following criticism about the debit card's high fees, reports CNNMoney.com.

The reality stars' mother, Kris Kardashian Jenner, along with the family's company, Dash Dolls LLC, were also named in the lawsuit.


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© 2011 The Washington Post Company

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