Amex Tops JD Power Credit Card 2008 Customer Satisfaction Survey

JD Power and Associates ranked American Express at the top of their 2008 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Customers gave the company high marks in interaction, billing and payment processes, reward programs, fees and rates, and benefits and services, with the first three factors standing out in particular. Capital One and HSBC, which target revolvers with lower credit scores, received the worst marks. Oddly, Discover got second place. People must really like their two-cycle billing (see “Two-Cycle Billing And Why It’s Evil“). Full rankings inside…

Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking (1,000 point scale)

American Express 783
Discover Card 751
Industry Average 724
National City 721
Chase 719
U.S. Bank 716
WaMu 712
Citi Cards 710
Wells Fargo 709
Bank of America 692
GE Money 683
Target Visa 682
Capital One 678
HSBC 667

Source: 2008 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey [J.D. Power and Associates ]

Do you agree with their results? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

PREVIOUSLY: JD Power Credit Card 2007 Customer Satisfaction Survey (Photo: Tengaport)


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  1. DashTheHand says:

    I’ve only had a couple instances where I needed to call AmEx support, and those times I got great service and help from the reps. In one instance, I moved and was not receiving my bill in the mail, so I missed a payment date and they waived the fee with no complaint.

  2. dewsipper says:

    It actually doesn’t suprise me too much. The top two are the only two cards we don’t accept – their merchant fees are rediculous!

  3. catcherintheeye says:

    Amex blue cash user here – it’s my main CC, I use a Visa for times when the store doesn’t take Amex.

    5% cash back on gas/grocery/pharm, 1.5% on everything else, customer support is awesome any time I’ve called, interest rate is decent, and customer services (insurance, extended warranty, charge backs) are top notch.

    Go Amex.

  4. GothamGal says:

    I have two AMEX cards and two USAA cards. Both have excellent service, but American Express is just exceptional. I love their concierge service where you can call them to arrange almost anything. They made my anniversary dinner plans for me in Paris, so that I wouldn’t have to struggle through it with my bad French.

  5. boomerang86 says:

    Actually there is at least one Discover Card that doesn’t use the two-cycle ADB method for finance charges; it’s the Wal-Mart branded Discover Card from GE Money Bank, and a small but not hard to take rewards program too.

  6. iambill says:

    What other companies rate above the average?

    The average of the 13 companies listed is 709.

    • Gopher bond says:

      @iambill: Barclays, FNB of OMAHA, Jupiter, Orchard Bank, and Wachovia were also included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size. So it sounds like they were lumped in to get the industry average but individually, their rankings weren’t significant

  7. chiieddy says:

    Discover Card + Cash Back on Gas Purchases + Pay in Full Each month = $25 gift cards for each $20 on Cash back to Bed, Bath & Beyond = New curtains for my living room = Satisfied. :)

  8. cotr says:

    first credit card: AMEX.

    love the hell out of them.

  9. Gopher bond says:

    If you pay off your card every month then there’s no fear for two-cycle billing. I see it as a tax on the indebted who use Discover and pay for my cash back. 5% on Gas, 1% on all else. I run all my bills through Discover and get over $200 cash back every year.

    Plus, any trouble I send Discover an email and they are quick to reply with my options and always resolve issues.

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    I had a very bad experience last week, the first ever in dealing with Amex.

    I’ve sent it in to the tip line, so the full story may be posted on Consumerist.

    The short version is Amex customer service suggested I take out another Amex card and they would give me an incentive rate on a balance transfer. I did, rec’d the card, had a $12K limit approved, then when I attempted the transfer, they declined, claiming I was a credit risk. So they granted credit, but refused to permit me to use it. With a credit score in excess of 780, I’m hardly a risk.

    So as a former Amex lover here, I must humbly suggest that the company is evil and must die.

  11. mastmaker says:

    WaMu cards are a joke. I am a highly satisfied account holder at WaMu, but there cards are really a (highly profitable) joke.

    They build up a pretty sizable credit card business by dangling marketing material in front of their account holders – much cheaper and easier than other advertising methods. Then they sell this entire credit card setup for a huge profit, lay low for a few years and start all over again.

    My WaMu card from the previous cycle is now a Citi card with not even so much as a co-branding of WaMu.

    Apparently lots of banks and credit unions do this, because my TechCU card is now in the hands of FIA. While it is still branded TechCU, it has NOTHING to do with it.

  12. nicemarmot617 says:

    WaMu? Really? I remember a time when they were decent, but that time is long past. I had to ditch them when they stopped refilling their ATMs. That’s about as low as a bank gets.

    I have Amex blue cash, though. It’s pretty sweet. They even called me right away when I traveled and they thought my card had been stolen, instead of just shutting it off a la Chase. I told them nope, I was the one with all the charges, and everything was fine.

  13. SkokieGuy says:

    @cotr: Remember that the card is specifically marketed with an incentive rate to perform a balance transfer.

    I simply performed the exact action the business advertises as the main reason for obtaining the card.

    The terms of the offer REQUIRE the balance transfer be completed within the first 60 days to qualify for the incentive rate.

    They denied the transfer as ‘risky’, when they had granted me a $12K limit. Transfering debt does not increase my debt load. Making new charges, using the limits of the card is a significant increase in total debt. So which is riskier?

    • cotr says:

      @SkokieGuy: theyve been weird. maybe you should use it primary for a month, pay it off then do it. it could just be the timing.

      may want to look at Citi Amex Platinum.. 4% on BT for lifetime. amazing card.

    • bwcbwc says:

      @SkokieGuy: Most of those balance transfer offers have a clause that prohibits transfer from another card owned by the same company/bank. Maybe the original salesperson misrepresented the ability to do transfers from one Amex account to another and they had to cover up the misrepresentation?

      Still, I’m surprised Discover scores so high with all the customer service horror stories over on the other thread.

      • Ragman says:

        @bwcbwc: Every card will have customers with horror stories. You’ll always have some crappy CSRs, customers who are too irritated to keep calm, etc. I’ve had some aggravation with Discover myself, but persistence and patience got my issues resolved. Could also be that, in my experience, all the CSRs I’ve talked to at Discover seem to be US based – no one sounded like they were at an overseas call center.

  14. Berz says:

    On a similiar note, does consumerist have a weekly roundup of top credit card rates / deals ? My current rate is outrageous (25%) with a credit score of 750 . (BoA for those wondering)

  15. Suttin says:

    I some how managed to crack my Amex card, called when I got home that night, and came home the next day with a new card delivered.

    They must really want me to spend :P

  16. TPIRman says:

    I bought two iPhones in the first month of their release last year. Then Apple lowered the price. I called American Express to ask if I could get the difference refunded. They said they no longer have a price protection plan but that they were considering giving iPhone buyers a break.

    A couple weeks later, Amex refunded $400 ($200 x 2) to my account. Separately, I also got the $200 in Apple gift certificates through their “sorry about that, early adopters” program. (I told American Express that I’d be getting the compensation from Apple, but they didn’t seem to care — gave me the full difference in price anyway.)

    So I ended up getting the iPhones at the same price as everyone who waited, along with $200 in free Apple stuff to boot. Yeah, I’m pretty happy with American Express customer service.

  17. Daemonstar says:

    Discover’s been good to me. I much prefer their automated card activation over Chase’s (which I also have). Last time I had to argue with the guy to not enroll me in some program they were offering.

    Back when I had an AMEX card for about a year, I had ordered some car parts for about $1k. I had to call AMEX to see why they had declined the store charging it. I was told that I hadn’t used the card enough to warrant them accepting the charges; a manager told me this, btw. :P I called Discover to check with them to see if I could put it on that card since I had only had it for a couple of months. The CSR said it would be fine, but wondered why I was asking. I told her the story, and she chuckled. I haven’t used AMEX since.

  18. Grive says:

    Absolutely agree on AMEX. The service is beyond phenomenal at all times, and their perks/insurance/etc are awesome too.

    I pretty much do most of my big travel managing through my AMEX and their travel services, and for me, that experience is more than enough to rank them at the top.

  19. SkokieGuy says:

    @cotr – thanks!

  20. steveliv says:

    i agree on amex as well, a good rewards program, great rate (6.99%) and excellent customer service. everything that can go on the amex goes on it, for those who don’t take it i use a visa, i pay in full every month, and voila free rewards :)

  21. Chris H says:

    In my survey of top banks and credit card companies, Amex has had the lowest rate of identity fraud among top card issuers: []

  22. dragon2o00 says:

    i love my amex. not only do they have all the nice extras but their service makes using those extras very simple and pain-free. it also doesn’t hurt that my gf and i won a porsche from them in 07.

  23. usa_gatekeeper says:

    How many of you who praise AMEX’s insurance program actually had to file a claim? Maybe you had better luck. I tried to use it with a vacation rental car damage claim in ’06.

    AMEX sent a list of documents that they needed from me to resolve the claim … some of which I never heard of (what is a “fleet utilization log”?) and was never able to get from the rental car company, Avis. I was quite busy at the time; I eventually gave up the chase and ate the ~$1200.

    I’ve used AMEX for 20 years and give them high marks – except for this incident.

    • bwcbwc says:

      @usa_gatekeeper: If the rental car company wants to charge you for “loss of use” of the vehicle, the fleet utilization log shows what percentage of time the rental agency’s cars are actually out on the road earning income. Sounds like a useful phrase to know if you’re ever in the unfortunate position of having a rental agency claim a thousand bucks of lost rental income for your damage.

  24. Parting says:

    Why when I call Amex in English, I always get someone with Indian accent that DOES NOT understand me?

  25. quail says:

    I’ll add to praise being lauded onto Amex. Haven’t needed them to go the extra mile for me in awhile, but when I did they were there. And that was just with a green card. Businesses don’t like them because of the high fees, and they do charge a yearly enrollment fee, but I couldn’t do business without them.

  26. xman31 says:

    i have amex and have used almost every protection that they offer (i’m an unlucky mofo), and I LOVE them.

  27. ZukeZuke says:

    I have an AMEX and it’s easily the best credit card I’ve ever had. Customer service has always been helpful and dispute resolution is always easy. 1% cashback is sweet too.

  28. kc-guy says:

    @mastmaker – I don’t understand. Your WaMu and credit union cards are now funded by another bank?

    I have a WaMu card for it’s free FICO score, and basic credit report (no names, but tells shows the number of open and closed accounts, black marks, and average balance.)

    I haven’t used it because of the cash back programs Discover offers me.

    My only complaint, and this is a big one, is I HAVE TO ASK DISCOVER CARD FOR PERMISSION TO TRAVEL.

    Each trip across the country sets of their “fraud protection” algorithm that freezes my account until after I’ve made a phone call to inform them that yes, the gas purchases made sequentially across I-80, for the less than $15 it takes to fill the tank on my motorcycle are NOT fraudulent.

    Not that I’m bitter.

    • Ragman says:

      @kc-guy: That’s happened to me as well. Discover’s fraud algorithm kicked in late one Saturday night while I was out of state on a bike trip. It was the second night I was gone – you’d think they’d call the first day. A couple of years ago, I’d sometimes get calls from Discover about late night online purchases I had made. It was cool b/c they didn’t suspend the card before calling me to verify. I had come to the same realization you have, that we have to get “permission” to travel.

      I have a Chase MasterCard, that used to be a BankOne/FirstUSA MasterCard, that used to be a BellSouth Visa with cashback. I keep it as a backup, and b/c I’ve had it for well over 10 years. It’s annoying to have a card you liked get sold and have to deal with a new company. One of the reasons that AmEx and Discover are appealing to me – they stay AmEx and Discover!

  29. mastmaker says:


    Exactly. my WaMu card (which I received in 2001) stopped being a WaMu card (and lost ‘Washington Mutual’ logo and branding on the card) somewhere in 2005 or so – not sure about the date – when WaMu sold its ENTIRE credit card business. They stayed quiet for a year and then started ANOTHER credit card service, which is what you have now. Wait for a few years till your credit card turns to something else with entirely different terms of service etc.

    The Credit Union was even worse. I am not assessed any fees on CU membership as long as I have atleast one account. The credit card was this account. TechCU sold their credit card business (still branded with TechCU name and logo) to FIA, then turned around and started assessing a fees for my membership. Gave them an earful and had them cancel my membership.