Stability with Credit Cards Equals Higher Satisfaction

Often customer satisfaction comes from stability, and the fact that there hasn't been a lot of change in the credit card industry means customer satisfaction with credit cards is at its highest level in six years.

Often customer satisfaction comes from stability, and the fact that there hasn’t been a lot of change in the credit card industry means customer satisfaction with credit cards is at its highest level in six years, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

Several years ago customers were subject to dramatic changes from legislation, increased fees and limited credit availability. However, stability over the last three years has meant three years of increased satisfaction, according to the 2012 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The study is in its sixth year now.

"There has not been a lot of change in the past year in fees, credit limits and card terms--the things that often affect customers in a negative way," Jim Miller, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a statement. "After a series of dramatic changes, credit card customers are enjoying a time of stability."

The study measures customer satisfaction with credit cards by examining six key factors: interaction; credit card terms; billing and payment process; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution.

Only 11% of customers reported experiencing a problem with their credit card, which is down from 18% in 2009. All factors in satisfaction showed improvements with the largest increase with problem resolution.

Credit card companies have significantly improved handling customer problems year over year. Issuers have reduced the average length of time to resolve problems in 2012 to four days from five days in 2011. In addition, the study finds that credit card representatives are more likely to provide time frames for resolution, and those time frames are more likely to be met in 2012, compared with 2011.

"Although credit card companies have been criticized for some of their business practices, when we look at overall customer satisfaction, they're doing a good job," said Miller. "It is evident in the 2012 study that credit card companies have really done a great job in handling problems and achieving quicker resolution."

The most commonly reported problem is credit card fraud (24%). Half of those who experienced fraud were contacted by their issuer before they even realized they were a victim of fraud.

The company with the highest customer satisfaction was American Express. This is the sixth year the company has had the best satisfaction rating, and it performs particularly well in the interaction and rewards factors.