Over half of Britons think money is the filthiest item they touch and their fears are founded, according to new research.
Out of 1,000 Europeans surveyed by MasterCard, 83% believe handling cash is dirty while 54% of Britons think escalator handrails and library books are cleaner than money.
On average, European banknotes and coins contain 26,000 bacteria while UK currency has 18,200 bacteria. New currency only has 2,400 bacteria.
Ian Thompson, Professor of Engineering Science at Oxford University, said: "Brits' perceptions of dirty cash are not without reason. The euros we tested harboured an average of 11,000 bacteria, which, for a number of pathogenic organisms, is sufficient for passing on infection.