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Consumer Reports: Best and Worst Credit Card Issuers

This article was written by in Credit. 12 comments.


Consumer Reports surveyed customers in an effort to find the best credit card companies when it comes to incidences of interest rate problems, incidences of bill-timing problems, and effectiveness of problem resolution. If you’ve paid for a subscription to Consumer Reports, you can view the results here.

At the very top of the list is USAA Federal Savings with a score of 95 out of 100. The first major credit card issuer on the list, American Express, scored an 84, and was followed closely by Discover.

Other notable scores include Citibank with 75, HSBC with 73, and Capital One with 71.

The only card I’ve ever had trouble with was a Best Buy card, which was actually operated by Household Retail Banking Services (aka. Household Bank, aka. HSBC). I had purchased a notebook computer many years ago with a 0% for 12 months offer to allow me to do some web work alongside by non-profit day job. I didn’t receive statements, and some of my payments were sent in late. I argued the point with customer service and was able to reverse the company’s decision to charge me back interest.

Many years later, I had some problems playing with 0% APR arbitrage using Discover and MBNA and didn’t attempt such schemes since. MBNA scored a 72 on Consumer Reports’ survey, just above Capital One.

Updated September 17, 2011 and originally published October 30, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar BuildAndSucceed

My favorite would definitely be American Express. Their customer service is the best I’ve dealt with… Although they still try to sell you into unnecessary stuff, and I don’t really like paying $100 per year. So soon, i’ll have to down grade to one of their FREE cards.

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avatar Patrick

I have USAA and their customer service is the BEST! They are not available to everyone though – you have to be a member, which is limited to military members, retired military, and grown children of USAA members. They’re an awesome company if you can join!

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avatar thomas

my sister has been having some major issues with AMEX and it’s taking months to clear up. I haven’t had a problem with them, and they are my main CC. I made a ton of money off them last year with the blue cash rewards and hope to make just as much this year.

When you do call CS, be sure to get their name and work ID # “in case of a disconnection” and then, if you get bad service, you have the information to tell their supervisor. Nobody likes a tattle tale, but nobody likes getting screwed over either.

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avatar Bettany

Hi, the best credit card is American Express. Customer services is one of the best that you can get when you have a problem.

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avatar Bettany

Hi, the best credit card is American Express. Customer services is one of the best that you can get when you have a problem.

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avatar Brad

I agree that American Express offers some great credit cards, however, their website is one of the worst sites i have ever used. Every time I login I leave frustrated. The entire site seems to funnel you into more and more advertising about their products. The pages are disjointed with windows and buttons all over the place.

I simply wanted to see how my cash back rewards were adding up and cannot seem to find it. After selecting the “Card Benefits” button under “Personal Cards” a fancy flash animation eventually gives more advertising but no additional information. There is an “Already a cardmember – Explore your card” button which seems to be the only option. Clicking this button makes you login again and then takes you back to where you started, over and over again.

Another issue, they now limit your password length to 8 characters. In this day and age where online fraud is reaching its peak, why would any security minded company insist on user’s having SHORTER passwords!

Its really disappointing to be treated with a sales pitch rather than as a current customer.

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avatar jon

You are correct.A really bad website.Chase VISA is much better.I can’t even log into my account.Last night I couldn’t submit rewards for credit.I think their website is inadequate to handle the number of customers.

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avatar Brad G

I would have to agree that USAA is the best out there. They dominate in everything from car insurance to credit cards. I have them for everything. Its always nice getting a dividend check back from them every year.

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avatar lance

American Express is great, and Amex Blue Cash is the best card out there if you charge more than 10k a year. I got several hundred dollars back last year… BUT NOTE: If you are late one time that will void your cash back for the year… so pay on time. As for the negative comment about their website, I find the Amex site very easy to use with a GREAT cash back tool (helps you estimate your cash back with really innovative and user friendly tool). Good point about the limited password though. I do love my Amex! And Blue is the best looking credit card out there ; )

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avatar Kelly

Discover has been my most favorite card ever since I got it when I was a junior in college. They have always worked so well for me, always on my side with every issue that might have occured with my card. I love their cash back bonus awards and their customer service is amazing.

My least favorite!?! Chase!!!! what a HORRIBLE credit card company. Stay away from this card. Even if they start you off with 0% APR for a small period of time you will pay in the long run with huge APR rates, fees here and there any everywhere if you sneeze wrong. Just a horrible company. And their customer service!?!? non existent. Buyers beware!!!

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avatar Ron

Discover is the worst by far when you are having dispute.
It will always side with the merchant.

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avatar Justin

I’m surprised to see Discover rated so well; I honestly hate that company. Their APRs are not competitive and they will keep your APR artificially high–even when you qualify for a much lower one. Citi Bank has extended the best APRs to me, so guess what, I use them exclusively. When it is all said and done…Don’t use a credit card unless you absolutely have to.

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