EU ministers match up banking fees

The new European regulation was agreed to by the EU Council of Ministers, who set July 2002 as the deadline for its implementation.

From this date, any organisation handling electronic payments should not charge more for handling cross-frontier invoices within member countries, up to an amount of Euros 12,500, than it does for domestic transactions.

Also, from the same date, costs to customers for any single-currency wire transfer, up to Euros 12,500, will have to mirror local charges.

The financial threshold for both types of payments will climb to Euro 50,000 from January 2006.

Banks have resisted the proposal, claiming it will deter them from reducing domestic charges. They have also stressed they are currently developing cheaper electronic transfer systems for EU customers.

The proposal has to be agreed by the European Parliament before becoming law.

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