Mar 05, 2011 Todd Milner
For the first time in 2011, credit card interest rates are on the decline, according to the latest report from CreditCards.com. The average is made up of the 100 most popular credit cards in the country and does not include introductory rates, the agency said.The national average annual percentage rate for new credit card offers dropped to 14.66 percent, its lowest rate since mid-December, the website reported. One cause for that decline could be the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, which has curtailed the "long-standing practice of hiking interest rates" on existing accounts, according to a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report. Elizabeth Warren, the head of the agency, has been a critic of credit card company policies, but has supported alternative finance options such as short term loans. "Access to small dollar loans is critical to many families," Warren told The Associated Press in January. She said as long as the terms of any type of loan were clear at the outset, those loans could address consumer needs. Small bank lenders, non-bank lenders and new technology could help "open up the markets for the currently underserved population," she said.