The cost to use Swift's main financial messaging service will drop significantly under a price reduction the cooperative announced last week.

The organization, formally the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, plans to reduce message prices by an average of 20% starting Jan. 1, a move expected to save its bank customers a total of $100 million next year.

"We're really looking to encourage volume," said Francis Vanbever, the chief financial officer of the La Hulpe, Belguim, group.

Banks and other financial companies use Swift's FIN service to send information to accompany payments, securities trades and other financial transactions with other institutions. Users currently pay an average of 10 cents per message based on their message volume, Vanbever said.