- Credit-card customer satisfaction was on track for a record high during the first two months of 2020, research firm J.D. Power said in releasing its annual survey on the matter Thursday. After the pandemic hit, customers rated their card issuers 10 points lower overall on a 1,000-point scale, as dissatisfaction grew with credit-card terms and communications between companies and consumers.
- The greatest decline (14 points) came in the survey's affluent/mass affluent segment. Despite the post-pandemic drop, overall satisfaction rose four points among national issuers and 11 points among regional ones.
- About 36% of credit-card customers indicated they've been proactively contacted by their card issuer in the past 12 months, J.D. Power noted. That compares with 60% of mortgage customers and 48% of retail banking customers during a similar time frame.
American Express, with an 838 rating, leapfrogged Discover (837) to rank highest in overall satisfaction among national card issuers. Discover had topped last year's survey with 842 points. Satisfaction was remarkably steady in the national ranking, with scores for five issuers varying by zero to two points from last year. Bank of America jumped 14 points to take third place (812). Wells Fargo saw the greatest improvement — up 17 points to 800 — while Barclays saw the biggest decline, a 10-point slide to 796.
Regions Bank jumped 25 points to top the regional rankings with 816. That score edged out last year's two leaders, BB&T and PNC (both 815). The most marked improvements among regional issuers came at the bottom of the pack. HSBC spiked 44 points to 789. Fifth Third rose 26 points to 794. And KeyBank jumped 22 points to 795. BMO Harris saw a 12-point slide (765) to rank lowest.
More than 29,100 customers rated their card issuers on six factors: interaction; credit card terms; communication; benefits and services; rewards; and key moments. Three of the study's four waves came before the pandemic.
"We're living in a moment of truth for card issuers, and results in the next few months will be key to determining whether this decline constitutes a lasting trend," John Cabell, J.D. Power's director of banking and payments intelligence, said in a press release accompanying the study's results. "Issuers' ability to communicate proactively and work closely with customers to address their pain points and fears will be critical to their long-term viability."
Despite short-term declines in satisfaction, it doesn't appear customers are looking to switch issuers. Even in the study's pandemic-influenced fourth wave, 89% of customers said their current card fully meets their needs.
The J.D. Power results came on a day credit reporting agency TransUnion issued a report indicating credit-card lenders have pulled back for the first quarter in two years. Total credit on new accounts fell 8.3%, to $78 billion, in the second quarter of 2020 from a year earlier, Bloomberg reported, citing TransUnion data. The average credit line issued for new accounts declined 9% to $5,257, according to the data.
However, the proportion of those loans that are 90 days or more past due fell to 1.47% in the quarter, TransUnion found.