Skip to the content

The safest methods to pay and how to clean your card payment terminals and other retail surfaces


Symphopay joins today to the global efforts to fight against the spread of the Coronavirus by informing our clients, partners and anyone else interested in the safest payment methods and the disinfection of their payment devices. 


Cash is dirty 

Because of the way we use cash, money is a real vehicle for infections. Banknotes change hands often, but they are rarely (read „never”) clean or sanitized. If you pay by cash or receive cash from customers, be sure to use medical gloves or remember to wash your hands often. In their efforts to stop spread the virus, the Chinese authorities announced that it is disinfecting and isolating used banknotes to stop the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  

What to do: Inform your clients about this and urge them to use contactless as much as possible.  


Germs and viruses can be transmitted via payment terminal buttons 

Contactless is the safest way to pay, but unfortunately, if you use a bank card this method is available only for small sums only. For bigger purchases, you will still need to handle and touch the payment terminal that was before touched by other persons. Trying to understand how respiratory viruses such as coronaviruses spread at airports, Finnish researchers in 2018 found out one surface testing positive: the buttons of the payment terminals. 

What to do: If you are a cashier, wiping clean often your terminals could stop the germs to spread. You will find below how to clean the payment terminal. If you paid and touched the payment terminal to type your PIN, be sure to wash your hands once you got home (and maybe disinfect your bank card if swiped through, inserted in or touched a payment device).


The safest methods to pay are contactless

Contactless payments are most hygienic, as customers won’t leave or pick up germs that way.

Contactless payments are most hygienic, as customers won’t leave or pick up germs that way.

Paying with your smartphone, smartwatch or biometric bank-card (if you already have one) is the only payment methods that are completely contactless no matter the sum. Every one of these methods is available at Symphopay payment terminals (and at any of the other payment terminals in the market accepting contactless). Self-explanatory enough, this method ensures the payment takes place without even touching your device with the payment terminal. 

What to do: Most of the banks offer now the possibility to pay with smart devices. Check with your bank if it offers a contactless payment service like Apple Pay or e-wallets. If you are a retail business owner, you can help your cashiers to handle (and touch) fewer devices by upgrading your payment infrastructure, integrating multiple banks in one single POS and connecting it with the cash register.


How to clean the payment device (and any other devices that you use in-store)

While the main recommendation of the authorities involved in COVID-19 fight is to first wash our hands, in the retail environment it is also important to clean the devices we touched all day long. Anyway, there is no reason to be scared of payment terminals. Simply getting coronavirus or other germs on your fingers does not yet lead to an infection, as it cannot penetrate the skin. It is essential, as stated before, to wash hands before touching the face. At the same time, business owners should help their customers avoid both bacterial and viral infections by simply cleaning the payment terminals and other surfaces. 

What to do: 

  • Before you clean the payment terminal for the first time, read your manufacturer’s instructions for this process. Certain things, like the type of cleaning product used, can nullify the warranty of the device. 
  • If the card machine is plugged into a power socket, unplug it, and switch off of the terminal (if possible). 
  • Carefully rub the exterior of the card machine with the wipe or cloth dipped in a soap solution or just a drop of washing-up liquid in a small cup of warm water, one surface at a time. Be particularly thorough around buttons and sides where people tend to grab the terminal. If an area gets too wet, immediately wipe it with a dry cloth or paper towel.
  • Use the cleaning card (for chip and swipe slots) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 
  • Wash your hands afterwards. Switch the card machine back on again if it was switched off before. 

For more detailed instruction read your manufacturer’s instructions for this process.  


More details and sources used to document this article: 

About the author

Mihai Paraschiv

Mihai Paraschiv

Symphopay is an ingenious middleware payment solution that helps us to provide our partners with customized experiences and make the difference in the banking market.

Viorel Vasile, Alpha Bank Romania

Get in touch with us


Learn more about how Symphopay can help transform your business and increase customer engagement with each payment.