Infographic: Credit card complaint rates

Which credit card issuers are making their cardholders happier – or at least less unhappy?

A look at complaints lodged with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yields some answers. While the number of complaints fired at the top 10 issuers rose in 2015, some of them were able to reduce customer griping.

Synchrony Financial, the store-card giant formerly part of GE Capital, had the biggest drop in its complaint rate, relative to balances on its cards, followed by American Express and Capital One.

A card issuer’s business structure can have a lot to do with its customer satisfaction rate. Store cards, with their high interest rates, large subprime user bases and multifarious promotions, can attract more gripes than general-purpose cards marketed to people with prime credit.

That said, year-to-year changes in complaint rates should be a barometer of a company’s efforts to manage customer service and fix complaint-prone policies. The chart shows the number of complaints per $1 billion in credit card balances at year end.

Overall, consumers filed about 17,300 credit card complaints last year, up from 13,976 in 2014, according to complaints data posted on the CFPB’s website.

The consumer protection agency started taking complaints about cards in 2011. The newness of the database may be the reason for the rise in total complaints, as more consumers find the CFPB’s complaint window. A broader-based survey of customer satisfaction by J.D. Power found that U.S. consumers are having fewer issues with their credit cards.


See related: Infographic: Billing disputes lead list of credit complaints, More infographics

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Updated: 03-21-2019