WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 20 August 2015 — Rewards and benefits are the two main reasons customers select a credit card and are key drivers of satisfaction and spend on a primary card, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction StudySMreleased today.
Discover (828) ranks highest in customer satisfaction with credit card issuers for a second consecutive year, having tied for the highest rank in 2014. This year, Discover has focused on the customer, improved its reward redemption process and performed well across all six study factors. American Express (820) ranks second and Chase (792) ranks third.
The study, now in its ninth year, measures customer satisfaction with credit card issuers by examining six factors (in descending order of importance): interaction; credit card terms; billing and payment; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution. Overall satisfaction is at a record high of 790 on a 1,000-point scale, surpassing the previous high of 778 in the 2014 study.
Slightly more than half (52%) of credit card customers indicate they selected their new card for a better rewards program and 24 percent did so for better benefits. When considering the attractiveness of rewards—the desirability of the reward type (i.e., cash, miles and points) and the value received when redeeming rewards—54 percent of customers perceive their rewards as attractive (ratings of 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), up from 46 percent in 2014. Customers who rate their rewards as attractive spend more per month—$1,132, on average—than those who consider their rewards unattractive (ratings of 1-5) who spend an average of $744.
“Reward redemption and benefit use have a tremendous impact on the customer experience,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power. “The fact that Discover ranks highest in satisfaction among all credit card issuers in each of the six factors measured in the study is a testament of the relentless focus and importance the company has placed on the ease of redemption and use of benefits. When customers feel the rewards are attractive and when they redeem rewards more frequently, satisfaction improves, they spend more and they are more likely to recommend the card to friends and family.”
Customers redeem their rewards more frequently in 2015, as 53 percent have done so in the past 6 months, compared with 49 percent in 2014. Rewards satisfaction is 128 points higher among customers who have redeemed rewards in the past 6 months (856), compared with those who redeemed rewards 6-12 months ago (828) and those who have never done so (728). Customers who redeem rewards spend an average of $483 per month more than those who do not redeem rewards ($1,128 vs. $645, respectively).
The frequency of using benefits has increased year over year, with 67 percent of customers using at least one benefit in the past year, compared with 57 percent in 2014. Among customers who have used a benefit, satisfaction is 794 vs. 731 when no benefits are used. Customers who use benefits spend an average of $316 more than those who do not use a benefit ($1,107 vs. $791, respectively).
Providing an outstanding customer experience can generate high levels of advocacy and retention. The study finds that 66 percent of highly satisfied customers (overall satisfaction scores of 900 or higher) say they “definitely will” recommend their credit card issuer and 56 percent say they “definitely will not” switch issuers. In comparison, only 3 percent of displeased customers (scores of 500 or less) say they “definitely will” recommend their credit card issuer and only 13 percent say they “definitely will not” switch.
- Just 32 percent of customers feel that their personal information with their issuer is very secure. While 16 percent of customers feel the security of their personal information with their issuer has improved from 2014, 4 percent indicate it has worsened.
- Satisfaction is higher among customers who indicate their personal information is very secure, compared with satisfaction among all other cardholders who did not indicate their information is very secure (876 vs. 751, respectively).
- Younger customers—Gen Z (45%) and Gen Y (37%)—are more likely to indicate that their personal information is very secure, compared with customers from all other generational groups, including Gen X (31%), Boomers (29%) and Pre-Boomers (32%).
- African-Americans and Latinos are more likely to perceive their personal information is very secure (39% and 42%, respectively), while Caucasians and Asian-Americans are less likely to perceive the same (31% and 29%, respectively).
The 2015 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study includes responses from more than 20,000 credit card customers. The study was fielded from September 2014 to May 2015.
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 J.D. Power defines generational groups as Pre-Boomers (born before 1946); Boomers (1946 to 1964); Gen X (1965-1976); Gen Y (1977 to 1994); and Gen Z (1995-2004).