The ranking demonstrates there's more than one path to keeping customers happy, the
The study measured customer satisfaction in six categories: interaction; card terms; billing and payment; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution.
Amex -- whose customers tend to be more affluent, spend more and are less likely to carry a balance than customers of other issuers -- offers 21 cards, including some with annual fees. It also offers reward options ranging from cash-back to travel points.
In contrast, Discover focuses on a single card with cash-back rewards and no annual fees. Discover also offers tools to help customers manage spending and debt, and provides cardholders with their credit scores for free.
Overall, satisfaction with credit card issuers has improved for five straight years, hitting a record high this year of 778 points out of 1,000, up from 767 in 2013,
Rising satisfaction coincides with industry reforms ushered in by the federal Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, whose provisions largely took effect in 2010. The act, which took aim at abusive practices, capped certain credit card fees and improved disclosures.
Even with record high satisfaction, 10 percent of customers reported they switched their primary card in 2014, up from 8 percent in 2013. Among those who switched, 42 percent did so to take advantage of a better rewards program.
Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed said the value of their rewards program increased in 2014, up from 17 percent a year earlier, indicating that card issuers were working to enhance their rewards programs.
The survey also showed that the way credit card companies handle security breaches affects customer satisfaction.
When a card issuer notified customers of a security breach but did not issue a new card, satisfaction dropped. When a new card was issued, satisfaction went up and it rose even more when customers received the new card quickly -- within seven days.
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