Let's define "customer service" as a bank's ability to get results when something goes wrong, no matter who's responsible. For instance, if you're late on a payment or if you get declined for a credit line increase, a bank's customer service team should be able to walk you through what happened without sounding rude or defensive. On the other hand, if a merchant bills your card incorrectly or if your statement's wrong, that customer service agent should be able to fix your issue with just one phone call.
Depending on how you like to do business, I've got three core recommendations for credit card issuers with the highest customer service rankings.
- American Express. J.D. Power and Associates awarded AmEx its top customer satisfaction ranking for five years in a row, citing the company's approach to offering strong purchase protection and cardmember benefit programs. For many of us, American Express is the company you turn to when you want to complain about another company.
- Capital One. A few years ago, Capital One's customer service team committed to achieving "first call resolution" for as many issues as possible. Since 2009, Capital One has earned top honors for its call center operations from J.D. Power, ICMI, and SQM. However, they're running a website so comprehensive and helpful that you probably won't even need to talk to someone on the phone.
- Discover. The Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index has awarded Discover its top prize for sixteen years running. With award-winning fraud detection and identity theft resolution teams standing by, it's rare that you'll encounter trouble if a thief snags your Discover Card.
American Express and Discover run their own payment processing networks. Therefore, you could actually carry one of each in your wallet, plus a Visa or Mastercard from Capital One. That way, you'll have access to top notch customer service no matter where you travel or what you purchase.