Updated on 09.21.17

Cash Back Cards Lead Surge in Satisfaction

Most customers are highly satisfied with their credit cards, according to a new study, but they reserve their highest levels of satisfaction for cards that offer cash back rewards programs. American Express scored the highest customer satisfaction among card issuers, with Discover and two other competitors also ranking above the industry average.

The J.D. Power 2017 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, released Aug. 17, finds that an increasingly competitive marketplace has motivated credit card issuers to offer their customers more — specifically, more lucrative signup bonuses, more generous cash back rewards, and more benefits.

The study’s highlights include:

  • Customers’ overall satisfaction with their credit card issuers (802 on a 1,000-point scale) has never ranked higher in the study’s 11-year history.
  • Among different categories of credit cards, the ones offering cash back rewards programs earned the highest scores for satisfaction. Earning the lowest scores? Airline cards and store-branded Visa/MasterCard rewards cards.
  • Customers who interact with their card issuers using a combination of online and mobile platforms are more satisfied (834) than customers who don’t use digital channels at all (780).
  • Customers over age 40 are becoming more satisfied with their credit cards while those under 40 are becoming less satisfied.
  • Among customers over 40, 44% cite better rewards as the primary reason they may consider switching cards. For 38% of customers under 40, getting better benefits is the primary reason to switch cards.

Customer satisfaction scores by issuer

In addition to ranking credit card issuers, the study also finds that customers are most satisfied with cash back rewards cards. What are some of the study’s top-ranked credit card issuers that offer cash back cards? Here’s a snapshot:

Customer satisfaction scores

Issuer Customer satisfaction score* Cash back cards include
American Express 835
Discover 827
Capital One 808
Barclay 806

*(1,000-point scale — industry average is 802). Source: J.D. Power.

About the study

The responses

The study includes responses from 22,896 credit card customers.

The timeframe

September 2016 to June 2017

The criteria

The survey examined the following six factors to measure customer satisfaction, listed from most important to least important:

  1. Interaction
  2. Credit card terms
  3. Billing and payment
  4. Rewards
  5. Benefits and services
  6. Problem resolution

About J.D. Power

Established in 1968, J.D. Power specializes in marketing, consumer intelligence, and data and analytics. The company is also known for its reviews and ratings of cars, insurance, electronics, and other products.