Letter: Baffled by the euro

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I too have made inquiry on cheque payments in euros for my own business (letter, 25 February).

European countries have different standard physical sizes for cheques. So cheques in euros, even from one Euroland country to another, still suffer the "negotiation fee" cost. It seems this amounts to a handling charge because machinery will only cope with the local cheque sizes. Can this be holding back a European clearing system?

Banks of course are reluctant to upgrade machinery as they want to eliminate cheques, but fail to make electronic transfer of small sums cost-effective. "Negotiating" a cheque can cost pounds 12 to pounds 15 per cheque. I use an organisation - not a bank - that manages to do it for pounds 3.


Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire