by Lyle Daly | Published on Sept. 4, 2021
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There's a familiar name at the top of the list.
J.D. Power recently released its 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. For the last 15 years, the consumer intelligence company has ranked card issuers on a 1,000-point scale. This year, national card issuers received an average score of 809.
Even though most consumers aren't contacting their credit card companies too often, it's nice to know you won't spend hours on hold or deal with subpar service if you do need to get in touch. If you're looking for the best credit card options in terms of customer service, you'll find the top five national issuers below, along with how well they scored.
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When it comes to providing an excellent customer experience, American Express is hard to beat. This is the 11th time it has been number one according to J.D. Power's rankings.
It's clear that American Express prioritizes customer satisfaction. Wait times are generally on the shorter side, it has plenty of special offers and events for its clients, and it provides a quality mobile app.
Another notable perk is the complimentary protections many American Express cards offer. These can include:
While other card issuers have similar protections, they typically offer them through third-party companies. American Express offers these protections itself, which often results in a smoother claim process.
Discover is also a mainstay near the top of these rankings, and it was second here by a razor-thin margin, just like in the 2020 study. It finished first in the 2019 study.
This is another card issuer that has invested in customer service. Discover offers 24/7 assistance, and U.S.-based agents are available by phone, live chat, and messaging.
Quality service isn't the only part of Discover's winning formula. Discover credit cards are well-liked because they have valuable benefits, their rewards are easy to use, and they've gotten rid of common fees. None of Discover's cards charge an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee, and Discover automatically waives your first late fee.
After a seven-point improvement, Capital One went from slightly below average in the 2020 study to a little above average in 2021.
That's somewhat surprising, considering that Capital One had lengthy hold times early in the COVID-19 pandemic. It also reduced some cardholders' credit limits during the pandemic. The J.D. Power study mentioned that credit limit issues were a big source of consumer frustration.
Capital One credit cards may have helped balance out those problems. The card issuer offers a variety of quality card products that can fit just about any consumer's needs.
Even though Chase was fourth, it was two points below average. As a whole, national credit card issuers didn't have a great year for customer satisfaction.
If these rankings were based solely on each issuer's credit cards, Chase would have an argument for first place. Chase credit cards are extremely popular, and most of them score highly in reviews. It has fantastic rewards cards, in particular, including for cash back and travel rewards.
Unfortunately, some consumers have found Chase's customer service lacking. It would be nice to see Chase improve in this area and score better next year.
These two credit card companies tied for fifth place with a score four points lower than average. They took two different paths to get there, though.
Bank of America fell by seven points from the 2020 study. This card issuer doesn't have quite as many options as some of its competitors. It does, however, offer bonus credit rewards to clients in its Preferred Rewards program. Those who qualify can get much more value from Bank of America credit cards.
Citi scored four points higher in 2021 than it did in 2020. While it's still below average, it has been making small, steady improvements. And even though it isn't the most popular card issuer, several of the best Citi credit cards are top options in their categories.
The rankings above are for national card issuers that met J.D. Power's study award criteria. There were also a few notable card issuers that didn't fit into that group.
It was a down year overall for customer satisfaction with credit card companies, but there were still card issuers that excelled. American Express and Discover did well, as usual. Although other national issuers had their issues, it was a challenging year because of COVID-19. With any luck, scores will improve next year.
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