Amex, Discover Cards Tops in Customer Satisfaction

August 19, 2010
Terri Cullen

What's in your wallet? If it's an American Express or Discover credit card, chances are you're one satisfied customer. J.D. Power and Associates ranked both card companies highest in customer satisfaction for exceptional rewards and benefits, customer service, and a focus on fixing problems.

What’s in your wallet? If it’s an American Express or Discover credit card, chances are you’re one satisfied customer.

J.D. Power and Associates ranked both card companies highest in customer satisfaction for their exceptional rewards and benefits, superior customer service, and a focus on reducing and resolving problems.

Overall customer satisfaction with credit card issuers is on the rise after hitting a three-year low in 2009, according to J.D. Power. Despite that fact, its 2010 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study found that consumer loyalty to credit card companies continues to decline as skepticism that card issuers are playing a “cat and mouse game” -- with each side trying to get one over on the other.

American Express ranked the highest in customer satisfaction for the fourth consecutive year, the study found. Discover Card was second highest followed by U.S. Bank. American Express was the only card among those surveyed to receive the highest marks in all seven categories: overall satisfaction, credit card terms, rewards, benefits, billing and payment, customer interaction and problem resolution. The study, conducted in May and June, polled more than 8,500 card holders.

Wells Fargo, Chase, Barclaycard, Bank of America, and Capital One all scored “about average” in customer satisfaction. Citi Cards and HSBC rounded out the bottom. Barclaycard, Capital One, HSBC and Well Fargo all received poor marks for problem resolution, while

Terms Continue to Confound and Confuse

Another factor impeding customer loyalty appeared to be continuing confusion over credit card terms and conditions, according to Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates. One one-third of card holders surveyed said they “completely” understood their credit-card terms.

“Despite massive efforts by the credit card industry during the past year to educate customers about credit card terms as a part of the CARD Act, customers’ grasp of those terms continues to be elusive,” said Beird in a statement. “Sixteen percent of card customers report that they did not receive CARD Act disclosures. Among those who did, only two-thirds state that the disclosures improved their understanding of how the act affects their individual circumstances.”

According to the J.D. Power Web Intelligence Division, social media discussions regarding credit cards suggest that many consumers view even CARD Act disclosures with cynicism.