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The #1 Safest Type of Payment to Use at the Grocery Store

Reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 at the supermarket by doing this in the checkout line.
Woman paying for her vegetable vegan groceries at a checkout

Right now, the best thing to do when you go out is to avoid touching things that you absolutely don't have to come into contact with. The reasoning behind this is simple: We touch our faces more often than we think.

According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, we touch our faces up to 23 times per hour, and 44 percent of those touches were for the nose, eyes, and mouth. A specific breakout indicated that 36 percent of touches involved the mouth, another 31 percent included the nose, and an additional 27 percent for the eyes.

With that being said, it's easy to see how one can become infected with COVID-19 just by heading into a grocery store. If touching packaged foods and fresh produce in the grocery store weren't enough of a risk, the checkout line could pose another potential threat.

Typically you'll swipe your card in the machine yourself, which is harmless, however, it's using the keypad to type in your pin number for your debit card or the attachable pen to sign that could be problematic. The risk is low, however, if you don't have hand sanitizer with you while you shop, that risk increases as you could mindlessly brush your fingers across your face immediately after.

While no one is immune to the virus, there are certain people who are at particularly high risk and that's those who are 65 years and older, have heart or lung disease, diabetes, or are immunocompromised. For these groups of people, it may be best to opt for a touchless payment if possible.

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Perhaps the most popular service used for contactless payments is Apple Pay, however, there are others and apps that you can prepay on. For those who don't have a smartphone, a credit or debit card would be the next safest option, as you can disinfect those once you get home with a wipe.

The one thing high-risk category patrons should avoid at all costs during this time is paying with cash, as each bill could have recently come in contact with the virus and there's no way for you to know that.

All in all, the safest way to pay for groceries is through an app or service such as Apple Pay, however, using credit and debit cards are just fine so long as you sanitize your hands immediately after touching the keypad and pen. Consider disinfecting your cards when you get home as an additional precaution, and make sure to read How to Save Money on Groceries During the COVID-19 Pandemic for other helpful tips!

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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