As if the worsening economic situation is not enough to stress the public, credit card providers strip off consumers' access to credit. While the new credit card law has not yet completely taken effect, many lenders have sought out means to make a profit while it lasts. This is evident in the continuous rise of interest rates, late payment fees, painful and sudden cuts to total available balances and account cancellations.
All of these have made a majority of credit card holders not only hassled, but also infuriated. According to the recent credit card satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, consumers' credit card satisfaction had an immense drop scoring 703 on the 1000-point scale. Since last year, it has continued to drop 80 points which is a record since the annual survey began in 2007.
The report was created to measure how the consumers felt about the treatment they got from their credit card providers. According to Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates, the findings obviously reflected the challenges credit card industry is having.
Despite what the general results of the study reveals, there are still commendable credit card providers which have topped the consumer ratings. In 2007 and 2008, American Express and Discover have managed to stay in the number one and number two spots respectively.
Jud Linville, chief executive officer and president of consumer services for American Express gives a statement that they "are honored to be recognized for customer satisfaction by our card members for the third year in a row, particularly given these challenging times." He also mentions that they have made tough decisions over the past year given the harsh economic and business environment. However, they have take into account their card members and the decisions they would have to make as well.
On the other hand, Carlos Minetti, executive vice president of Discover's card member services and consumer banking says, "Discover has always been committed to delivering high-quality customer service that puts card members first." He also commends his colleagues for their joint efforts to deliver satisfactory services to their clients.
Unfortunately, though both credit card providers emerged on the top, American Express' satisfaction rating dropped from last year's 783 to this year's 762 while Discover has not improved from its 751 score.
From the list of top 18 credit card issuers, Bank of America claims the tenth place with a score of 687. According to its officials, they are disappointed with the survey's results but they nevertheless are on their way to improve on their customer relations. According to Betty Riess, a Bank of America spokeswoman, they are specifically working on security procedures and in helping customers improve their financial literacy.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, the main factor that contributed to the general decline of customer satisfaction is the increase in rates and fees as one in five consumers reported. More than that, eighty-nine percent of credit card users who experienced such drastic changes ranted to have not been notified.