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» Credit Cards: Which Card Has the Best Customer Service?

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Credit Card Customer Service

Credit Card Customer Service

When it’s time to select your next credit card (or maybe your first one), it is very easy to focus on the “flash” items in front of you: 0% APR for six months, no annual fees, 0% APR for balance transfers, high line of credit, low overall APR, rewards programs, cash back, and the like.  In fact, the rewards programs are often an excellent factor for card selection, particularly for frequent travelers, and can often more than offset any annual fees.

But what do we typically overlook in this consideration?  People don’t usually think about customer service until it is far too late.  If you have an issue with a purchase, or a lost card, or a fraudulent charge, you will find yourself in an agitated state of mind.  This is not the best time to find out that you can’t reach a live operator for six more hours, or that the website is confusing.  It would be much better to assess the customer service of your potential card issuer before you apply.

One way to do this is to call the customer service center for each issuer and talk to the operators about the current offers.  This will immediately identify waiting times, complexity of the telephone menus, and the general personality of the operators.  Good things to know!

A second factor is the website.  We tend to go to the internet first, as it is just more convenient.  Does the issuer have a well constructed website?  Is it easy to navigate?  Are the options you’re likely to need easy to find?

There’s always research to review as well.  Most recent surveys list American Express cards as having the best customer service overall (with particular nods to Bank of America’s Fidelity Amex cards).  Resolution of issues is really painless, and the operators seem to be more empowered to help customers if a problem goes outside the normal.  Additional major selling points include really excellent travel insurance (priceless when renting a car) and outstanding purchase protection policies.

Discover cards are highly ranked, especially by US consumers.  Cards from Discover typically rank second or tie for first in credit card customer satisfaction, depending on the survey data used.  The Discover telephone system quickly gets you to a live, American operator.  Nothing tends to get lost in translation. The website is easy to navigate and the pertinent information is easy to find.

Other highly ranked major card issuers include Citibank, HSBC, Chase, and Bank of America.  All of these companies provide above average access to data online, and excellent telephone support.  Further, 24/7 support means that frequent international travelers are very well supported.  Credit cards from smaller institutions, like local credit unions, may not be able to offer this level of support at all hours.  This can be vital when out of the country and in need of help.

Of course, each consumer must do his own due diligence and research the card issuers directly.

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