Rewards are key factor in cardholder satisfaction, with cash rebates being the most popular form of reward
Overall customer satisfaction among credit card holders in 2019 came in at 806 points on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale, a touch above 2018’s 801 points.
According to the J.D. Power 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, rewards have driven satisfaction with cards for several years now, and issuers have played this card for all it’s worth. However, only 66 percent of consumers totally understood what sorts of rewards they were getting, while only 36 percent totally understood their supplementary benefits. Only about a third of consumers said they completely understood all the benefits available to them. In fact, issuers’ explanation of card benefits was the lowest ranked feature for consumer satisfaction, with benefits and services, together with credit card terms, coming in as the lowest-rated factors in the study.
Among large card issuers, Discover remained the number-one ranked for satisfaction. American Express came in second, and Capital One was third. And among regional banks, BB&T ranked highest for customer satisfaction, followed by PNC and BBVA Compass.
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018 received about 28,700 complaints about credit cards in 2018. Of the about 23,400 (82 percent) of these complaints sent to the companies for review and closed, after an explanation or review from the company, 25 percent related to a problem with a purchase shown on the consumer’s statement, followed by fees or interest (14 percent). Other complaints included issues about making payments (10 percent), getting a credit card (10 percent), and closing an account (8 percent).
According to payments provider TSYS, rewards programs continued to be the most attractive feature for card holders. The 2018 TSYS U.S. Consumer Payment Study said 79 percent of card holders named rewards as the most attractive feature of their preferred card in 2018, up from 68 percent in 2017 and 59 percent in 2016.
Cash rewards are the most popular type of rewards, the TSYS study found, with 80 percent of respondents redeeming their rewards for cash-back. Other popular rewards redemption options are gift cards (47 percent), merchandise (38 percent), travel (33 percent), and experiences (21 percent).
The TSYS study also found that consumers would like to get their rewards in real-time, with 66 percent of responds wanting to use their mobile phones to tap into their rewards and get instant discounts when making purchases.
According to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 2018 Consumer Credit Card Market report, credit card spending using rewards cards has continued to grow in the last few years. The growth has been particularly marked for those with lower credit scores. In 2018, even consumers who were well in the subprime category had used rewards cards to make more than 50 percent of their credit card purchases. And those in the “near-prime” category used rewards cards for more than 65 percent of their credit card purchases. Overall, all categories of consumers tapped into rewards cards for more than 80 percent of their credit card purchases.
J.D. Power 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study
2018 TSYS U.S. Consumer Payment Study
U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Report on the Consumer Credit Card Market 2018