Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd called Tuesday for the Federal Reserve Board to rein in overdraft fee programs.

The Connecticut Democrat urged the central bank to require card companies to get their customers' permission before enrolling them in an overdraft program.

The Fed has asked for comment on whether banks must first get permission or instead give customers a chance to opt out.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney made the same request to the Fed last month in a letter with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank and the panel's financial institutions subcommittee chairman, Luis Gutierrez.

"I ask that you adopt the opt-in approach to overdraft fees in the final rule," Dodd wrote.

"The opt-in approach provides far greater consumer protection because the default then would be no overdraft service and no overdraft fees unless the consumers affirmatively consent, whereas the opt-out approach essentially represents a continuation of the status quo."

Dodd also said that he is concerned that, as banks gear up for new credit card standards recently signed into law, they might start gouging consumers with other fees.

"Some financial institutions may be increasing overdraft fees or creating new ones, which often take consumers by surprise and may bear little relation to the actual amount of overdraft," he wrote. "I therefore ask that you finalize the proposed rule as soon as possible to protect families across America."

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.