An Absa ATM that has been coated with a solution that constantly sanitises the surface of the machine. A sign on the ATM indicates when the coating, which should last for a year, was first applied.
  • Some Absa ATMS are getting high-tech coatings that kill bacteria and viruses.
  • After being sprayed on, the layer can last for a year - eliminating the need for constant cleaning with harsh chemical materials.
  • The new coating won't replace the continued roll-out of hand sanitiser at its ATMs though.
  • For more stories go to

Some Absa ATMs are being covered by a high-tech coating that constantly kills bacteria and viruses for a year.

The chemical solution, developed by a Canadian company, makes use of nanotechnology – meaning that it manipulates microscopic particles.

Unlike cleaning chemicals and sanitiser, which must be applied regularly, the very thin protective layer contains special chemicals that continue to work for a long time, says Tshiwela Mhlantla, managing executive of physical channels and Absa Retail and Business Bank.

It also contains a photocatalyst – which means that it is activated every time it is exposed to light, including sunlight and ATM lights.

The coating is sprayed onto the ATMs and then, in effect, the machine sanitises itself for a year. Absa says it will eliminate the need for constant cleaning of the ATMs with harsh chemical materials.

The coating is transparent and odourless, and won’t impact the use of the ATM.

Its formula was developed by Green Earth Nano Science (GENS), and has been approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. “The solution has been tested in international laboratories and its antimicrobial and antiviral properties have been confirmed,” says Mhlantla. It is currently used in the food industry and hospitals.

She says sealing ATMs with the nanotechnology “is not cheap” – however it is cost effective over a longer term, given that constant cleaning is avoided.

Only a small percentage of ATMs will initially be covered. "We will continuously monitor and review our hygiene regimen and the pace of rollout."

The new high-tech coating will not replace the roll-out of hand sanitiser at Absa ATMs, which has been required since January as part of new government regulations.

(Compiled by Helena Wasserman)

READ | All of South Africa’s biggest banks are in breach of ‘impossible’ new disaster rules

Receive a daily news update on your cellphone. Or get the best of our site emailed to you

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.