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Talk to any Discover card holder, and you will likely get an earful about their customer service. But unlike so many other companies, Discover customers are likely to tell you how much they love their credit card issuer rather than to share their bad experiences.
So it came as no surprise last year when Discover tied American Express for the highest rank in J.D. Power's 2014 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Perhaps smelling complete victory, Discover spent the last year doing everything it could to secure the top spot in the 2015 survey, and it succeeded. J.D. Power recently announced that Discover earned the highest rank for credit card customer satisfaction in its 2015 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Discover earned a score of 828 while American Express ranks second at 820 and Chase third at 792.
What Discover Has Been up to
In the last year, the line of Discover it cards has been enhanced in several ways. The Discover it® Miles credit card was introduced, which offers 1.5 miles for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for travel purchases with no blackout dates. Discover is also doubling the rewards earned during cardholder's first year for cardholders with the Discover it Miles or one of their popular cash back cards. The Discover it® Miles also offers travelers an annual statement credit towards up to $30 in in-flight Wi-fi fees. In addition, Discover introduced its Freeze It tool that allows cardholders to temporarily deactivate their cards if they have misplaced them, or when they just need to take a break from new spending.
Finally, they also introduced versions of the Discover it card that can be branded with the cardholder's favorite National Hockey League (NHL) team, the NHL® Discover it® card. These announcements bolstered Discover's already strong customer service credentials which include 100% US based customer service, an automatic waiver of cardholder's first late payment fee, no penalty interest rate, and no annual fee.
Millions of Ways to Rank Credit Cards
Of course, customer service is just one aspect of a credit card, and there are dozens of other factors to consider when choosing a credit card. U.S. News and World Report is one of many web sites that offers a ranking of the best credit cards by type. They rank credit cards based on three important factors: product features, including digital tools, EMV chip and image card capability; customer experience based on filed complaints and how companies resolved the complaints; and net monetary value, the amount customers keep after all additional fees and interest are paid over a two-year period.
Yet there is no way that these rankings can account for the needs of each individual cardholder. For instance, U.S. News and World Report awarded the best airline credit card to the United MileagePlus® Club Card from Chase, but such a card would be of little use to a domestic traveler based near New York's JFK airport, where United will soon no longer offer service.
Furthermore, it's difficult to tell how U.S. News and World Report even decided to classify cards as it lists the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car as its best cash back card. This product only offers rewards in the form of discounts on GM vehicles, but not cash back!
What Should You Do?
It would be easy if you could just forget about trying to figure out which credit card will work best for your needs, and rely on someone else's rankings, but unfortunately that may not work very well. Instead, cardholders will want to focus on the factors that are the most important for how they will be using their cards. For example, some credit card holders might never bother to call customer service, while others might depend on being able to reach a competent representative when they have questions or problems. If you need a travel rewards card, you'll want to pick one based on your own travel habits. For a cash back card, choose one that offers the high returns for the kind of spending you do.
So consider customer service rankings, along with the other features that you value in a credit card, and you will find the right card for you. By taking your needs into account, as well as the results of independent surveys, you can get more from your credit cards than you may have thought.
* Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.