Money Grouse: Bank fee eats into cheque

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IAN HERBERT, publisher of Theatre Record, found the cost of accepting a cheque from Societe Generale, the French bank, was nearly a third of the total value of the cheque.

Mr Herbert's overseas customers send subscription cheques drawn on UK banks. When Mr Herbert received a cheque drawn on a French bank for pounds 120, he paid it into his bank account. He was charged pounds 36.30.

Mr Herbert said: 'Why does it cost a major bank with its own branches in France so much for what is an everyday activity?'

National Westmister Bank said that over half the charge was for the French bank's agency fee. NatWest advised Mr Herbert to ask his customers to send subscriptions on Eurocheques.

This weekend NatWest announced that it had signed a deal with Credito Italiano, Commerzbank and Societe Generale that would make it simpler for customers to send payments to these banks.

If you want to highlight an annoyance in your financial affairs write to Money Grouse, but if you have found a helpful financial institution or a smart way of dealing with your money, write to Money Nous at The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Please do not send SAEs or original documents as we cannot guarantee to deal with every letter personally.

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