- Credit card holders have an average of 16 benefits available to them, but only about 36% of people said they understood all of them, a study released Thursday by marketing research firm J.D. Power found. That figure includes core rewards, as well as supplemental perks like airline passes for travel companions, travel insurance or free late checkouts, which many users say are confusing.
- BB&T and PNC Bank customers reported the highest satisfaction among regional banks, at 811 and 810, respectively, on a 1,000-point scale. Those scores topped such national banks as Capital One and Chase (both 807) but were outpaced by Discover (842) and American Express (838).
- Card issuers have offered ever more benefits to lure customers and expand their market share. But user confusion may prompt companies to cut back, John Cabell, J.D. Power's director of wealth and lending intelligence, told American Banker. "The pendulum may swing back as issuers try to work through this," he said.
Customer satisfaction with regional banks' card programs was measured for the first time in the study's 13 years. The study measured six factors: interaction; credit card terms; communication; benefits and services; rewards; and key moments. Benefits and services ranked lowest (758), with customers least impressed with the issuer's explanation of benefits.
Although 66% of people reported completely understanding their cards' core rewards, that figure drops to 36% when supplemental benefits are taken into account. And customers who reported completely understanding those benefits cited having "significantly fewer" offered to them.
Six of the study's 13 highest-ranked companies were regional banks and, as Cabell noted, those banks tend not to be as burdened by issues that often plague their national counterparts.
Cabell added that his firm will look at innovations in the card space and will begin surveying customers about the newly issued Apple Card next year.
Card issuers' reputations leave room for improvement, customers reported. About 41% said they "strongly agree" the company acts in their best interest.
Companies' scores on cybersecurity increased, however. About 52% of customers said they "strongly agree" their card issuer protects their personal identity, up from 49% in 2018. That figure may fall next year; the Capital One data breach came to light in July, a month after this year’s survey closed.
The overall average customer satisfaction figure (806) rose five points from last year's study.