By Jill Jaracz


5 Min. To Read

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For the third year in a row, J.D. Power has named Discover as the best in credit card customer satisfaction, narrowly beating out former stalwart American Express.

"This recognition by J.D. Power for the third consecutive year inspires us because it comes from our cardmembers," said David Nelms, chairman and CEO of Discover, in a statement. "Across the company, our employees train hard to continue to deliver the best possible value and experience to our cardmembers. This award is a credit to their excellent work and dedication."

Although American Express did have a strong showing, Discover's overall score of 827 narrowly had it beating Amex by two points. Capital One came in third place with 799 points.

This is the tenth year J.D. Power has released this survey. The customers rated credit card companies in six different categories, ranging from card terms to problem resolution. Not all categories were equal; J.D. Power weighted consumers' views of customer interaction more so than problem resolution. On top of the six categories, card companies received an overall satisfaction score.

For categories, consumers rated credit card terms, including how reasonable they thought the annual fees were, as well as the competitiveness of interest rates. This category also asked consumers to think about how clear terms were explained and how fair they, particularly in terms of fees, rates and other charges.

The rewards category not only rated how good the rewards were, but also how easily understood the card's program is and how easy it is for consumers to redeem rewards. Likewise, benefits rated the quality of the benefits and other card features offered.

For billing and payment, consumers rated card companies on the clarity of their billing statements, how long they had to pay their bill, and the variety of ways they could get their statement information and pay the bill.

While the final two categories might seem similar, problem resolution focuses completely on a card company's ability to solve issues that consumers have with the card or purchases on it. The customer interaction category looks at how well card companies stay in touch with their cardholders by keeping them informed about new products and services and how well--and quickly--customer service representatives handle general inquiries.

Compared to most of the companies on the ranking, Discover knocked it out of the park. Discover scored "among the best" in overall satisfaction; credit card terms; rewards; billing and payment; and customer interaction. It scored "better than most" in benefits and problem resolution. J.D. Power gave discover high marks for its website, mobile app and live phone service. The research company also recognized the credit card for its customer focus and innovative services.

On the flipside, American Express scored "among the best" in all categories except credit card terms, where it scored "better than most."

Going down the rankings, a few other companies scored "better than most" in one or two categories, but found themselves "about average" for many categories. Synchrony Bank landed in last place of the list of ten credit card issuers, with all of its scores falling into "the rest" scoring option.

J.D. Power also looked at consumers' overall satisfaction with credit cards in general, and the customer is pretty happy. In fact, they're happier than they've ever been. Last year, the research company scored overall card satisfaction at 790 points, which was an all-time high. This year, that record was topped by a score of 796.

For this year's study, the research company surveyed 20,206 credit card customers in the U.S. from September 2015 to May 2016.

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