A bill in Congress could provide consumers with protection from excessive overdraft fees, according to an article in Life Inc.

Overdraft fees are charged when customers don’t have enough money in their accounts to cover all the transactions.

“At a time when so many are still struggling, it will help to put an end to those unexpected $35 charges for a cup of coffee,” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who introduced the bill, told Life Inc.

If the Overdraft Protection Act of 2013 is passed, it would cap charges at one per month and six per year. It would also prevent temporary holds from creating an overdraft and require any fees to be proportional to the underfunded amount.

Banks and credit unions earned $32 billion from overdraft fees last year, which was a $400 million increase from 2011, according to Moebs Services, an economics research firm.

A Pew study found that 54 percent of customers who overdrew their accounts didn’t realize they had signed up for an overdraft service that costs money.

EMAIL: alovell@deseretnews.com