Brandon Crane and Joe Debruynkops founders of SaniSwiper, a small device that cleans credit cards. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

The light bulb moment for Brandon Crane and Joe Debruynkops came during a trip to the grocery store early in the coronavirus lockdown. They saw how their credit cards passed through the same machine as everyone else’s with nothing to protect them or the cashier from the germs their Visas may have picked up. Credit cards, they learned, are two times dirtier than the average dollar bill and five times filthier than the average subway pole.

So Crane, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, and Debruynkops, a current Cal Poly student ― who knew each other from high school in Santa Barbara and had already talked about someday going into business together ― came up with a simple swiper device filled with an alcohol-based cleaning solution that quickly and safely sanitizes cards right at the point of purchase. They called it SaniSwiper.

The partners are now 3-D printing their SaniSwipers, which can be purchased for around $40, out of biodegradable plastic at a small manufacturing operation in Carpinteria. They’ve sold nearly 300 so far and just signed contracts with a couple of large restaurant suppliers. “It brings peace of mind to shoppers and diners,” explained Crane, “and we hope it helps bring businesses back to their pre-COVID booming state.”

SaniSwiper, a small device that cleans credit cards. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

“Brandon and I are both big believers in working hard and figuring things out,” said Debruynkops. Their startup capital came from the savings they’d accumulated working jobs through college. “In the end,” continued Crane, “we’re really hoping we can get the product out there to help stop the spread of the virus and get life back to normal. That’s our mission.”

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