Wearing your heart on your wallet: Choosing a credit card issuer that prioritizes you

Leather purse with hearts

We live in a time where customer satisfaction is paramount in more and more areas of everyday life. The level of satisfaction you expect during a stand-alone transaction (ordering at a restaurant, or getting a package on time) is the same kind of experience you should have with a longer-term investment (your credit card issuer). 

You should always use a credit card with a legitimate financial purpose in mind, such as building credit. However, having a healthy relationship with your issuer can be invaluable as well. According to a recent 2019 J.D. Power Study, customers gave credit card issuers a 4.97 score on a seven-point scale on being customer driven vs. profit driven. 41% of respondents said they strongly agree that their issuer acts in their best interest – definitely room for improvement. It’s important to choose a credit card issuer that has no problem putting your satisfaction first in more ways than one.

Why feeling wanted is important when it comes to credit card issuers

Fully understanding the benefits that come with your credit card can directly affect how you feel about your issuer. In the same J.D. Power survey, credit card customers who say they fully understand their credit card benefits have satisfaction scores that are 165 points higher than those who don’t completely understand their benefits (864 vs. 699 on a 1,000-point scale). 

Card issuers that make it a priority to clearly communicate benefits and rewards to customers have a few things in common that are important to note. First, look for accessible resources that explain rewards and benefits in depth, like Discover’s Credit Resource Center. Your issuer should be very transparent about how rewards can be used. “Some people earn hundreds, or even thousands of dollars a year in credit card rewards, not to mention free flights or hotel stays,” says Miriam Caldwell, writer for The Balance. “Though, it’s important to read the fine print on your rewards card to be sure that you can actually use the reward you are trying to earn.” 

Next, look for issuers who are flexible in how you use your rewards, like American Express. Also, look for credit card companies that make it easy for you to choose a credit card based on the type of rewards you want to earn, like Capital One

What you should expect from issuers

Here are a few cardholder-centric benefits that go a long way in customer satisfaction:

  • Cash back – This is a great benefit because it’s instant. Cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card offers 1% back on all purchases and 1% back when you pay them off. 
  • A 0% intro APR – Credit cards with a 0% intro APR can help you more effectively manage debt and makes it easier to pay off balances. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card has a 0% intro APR for 15 months.
  • Retail partnerships – Issuers that partner with other retail companies that you love, like the Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card that helps you earn Starbucks stars through every purchase made with the credit card. 

Issuers who are currently getting it right

If your experience with your credit card issuer is a high priority, here are a few issuers who are currently ranking high in customer service:

  • Discover – With a generous number of reward programs – including Student Cash Back, a Gas & Restaurants Card, and travel cards – it’s no wonder this issuer was voted number one in customer satisfaction by J.D. Power
  • American Express – This credit card issuer offers a wide range of cards and rewards redemption options. 
  • Capital One – Capital One partners with many well-known companies like Vivid Seats and Postmates to tailor credit cards for every interest. They also have unlimited cash back credit cards for people with excellent to average credit. 
  • Chase – Chase has 28 different reward-focused credit cards and lets you easily compare them to decide which is right for you based on your spending habits. 

Final touch

As you shop for a new credit card, your satisfaction in all things – reward programs, benefits and communication with the company – should be top of mind. Knowing that you’re going to have a positive and beneficial experience upfront will help you save money in the long run, take full advantage of rewards that are most beneficial to you.