US credit card customers happier as banks stop jacking up fees

Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:38pm EDT

By Rick Rothacker
    Aug 23 (Reuters) - U.S. consumers are more satisfied with
their credit cards than they have been any time in the last six
years, because banks have stopped jacking up fees and fiddling
with other card terms, a consumer research firm said.  
    American Express Co was the top-rated U.S. credit
card issuer for the sixth straight year, according to J.D. Power
and Associates' annual credit card customer satisfaction study.
A number of big banks were below average, including Capital One
Financial Corp and Bank of America Corp.     
    But even companies at the bottom of the spectrum logged
higher satisfaction ratings compared with last year, and the
average increased as well, J.D. Power said. 
    "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," said Jim Miller, senior
director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates, in a
statement.
    Overall credit card satisfaction averaged 753 on a
1,000-point scale, up from 731 in 2011 and 714 in 2010. The
score was the highest since the study began and on par with
overall retail banking customer satisfaction. The company has
performed the survey for six years. 
    American Express earned a score of 807, followed by Discover
Financial Services (799) and JPMorgan Chase & Co 
(762). HSBC Holdings PLC received the lowest score
(703). 
    Bank of America scored 728, and Capital One scored 734.    
Both banks have faced scrutiny recently for products they sold
their credit card customers. 
    Bank of America this week said it would stop selling credit
protection services which were the subject of a class action
suit in which customers alleged they were charged without their
permission and enrolled through deceptive practices.
 
    Capital One last month reached a $210 million settlement
with regulators over its sale of certain payment protection and
credit monitoring products. 
    The J.D. Power study measures customer satisfaction with
credit cards based on these factors: interaction; credit card
terms; billing and payment process; rewards; benefits and
services; and problem resolution. The study is based on
responses from more than 13,726 customers. 
    J.D. Power, a marketing and research firm, is a unit of The
McGraw-Hill Companies. 
    A table summarizing results for this year and last year is
below: 
 
 Issuer       2012 Score  2011 Score
 Industry     753         731
 Average                  
 American     807         786
 Express                  
 Bank of      728         705
 America                  
 Barclaycard  758         739
 Capital One  734         720
 Chase        762         735
 Citi Cards   737         711
 Discover     799         779
 Card                     
 GE Capital   704         N/A
 Retail Bank              
 HSBC         703         689
 U.S. Bank    748         721
 Wells Fargo  737         726
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