Credit card users are super pleased with their plastic, as indicated by the 2011 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study conducted by the global marketing information services firm J.D. Power and Associates. Last year saw a decline in satisfaction among “transactors,” the customers who pay off their entire credit card balance each billing cycle. However, they are whistling a happier tune in 2011, as are “revolvers,” or the customers who tend to carry balances on their account.
Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates told marketwatch.com, “It appears that credit card companies are doing a better job of communicating with customers, which may be an effect of the CARD Act. This improved communication is key to ensuring that customers fully understand their credit card terms–particularly benefits and fees–which helps reduce the number of problems reported and improves the overall experience.”
The Credit Card Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in May 2009, has made it difficult for lenders to levy excessive fees and raise interest rates at any time, for any reason. It also requires that issuers to simplify their disclosures to make them easier for customers to understand. And it seems to be working, with 35 percent of customers now claiming to understand their credit card terms, as compared with 32 percent in 2010.
As reported by marketwatch.com, Beird cautions that even with improved communication and higher satisfaction seen across the industry, there are still vast differences among credit card companies. With competition for new accountholders ramping up over the past year, consumers may find themselves faced with many tempting offers. But, before filling out an application for a new credit card, they should do everything they can to arm themselves with knowledge by first determining the type of card user they are (a revolver or a transactor) and then proceeding from there. Calling up a card’s customer service line to ask questions, request account information and evaluate user-friendliness is a good way to start gathering information that will help a borrower make an informed decision.
“The improvements in the industry around more proactive and transparent communication create a more level playing field, but only if consumers educate themselves,” Beird told marketwatch.com.
Among the additional services that some card issuers are now offering are credit counseling , online tools for debt management and financial planning, as well as payment and purchase tracking.