Amex Tops List of Favorite Credit Cards

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If you’re in the market for some new plastic, American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) should be your card of choice.  

In a study released by market-research firm J.D. Power and Associates, the card issuer received the highest customer satisfaction rating for the fourth year in row, receiving 769 points on a 1,000-point scale.

Discover Card (Stock Quote: DFS) was ranked a close second, receiving 757, while U.S. Bank was ranked third with a score of 727. Conversely, HSBC (Stock Quote: HBC) was the lowest ranked issuer, scoring 686 points. Citi Cards (Stock Quote: C) and Capital One (Stock Quote: CBC) just escaped the bottom spot, scoring 692 and 699, respectively.  

Overall credit card satisfaction for this year was 714, up nine points from 705 in 2009, an all-time low.

J.D. Power and Associates’ study, which has been going on since 2006, is based on responses from more than 8,500 credit card customers obtained in May and June 2010. Participants were asked to rate their cards in six key areas:

•    Interaction
•    Credit card terms
•    Billing and payment process
•    Benefits and services
•    Rewards
•    Problem resolution.

Universally, the highest-ranked issuers were found to have exceptional reward and benefit offerings, solid customer service and effective, timely problem resolution. Low-ranking issuers were mostly cited for failing to explain the terms and conditions of their credit cards, but Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power told CNN that the problem involves more than poor communication.

"The folks who typically rank at the bottom have more of the riskier customers," Beird says. "Many of the customers who have lower credit scores end up paying higher fees, which means they might be complaining more."

J.D. Power analyzed 10 credit card issuers in their 2010 study. You can check here for a full breakdown of their ratings.

J.D. Power also found that credit card holders collectively are still unclear of the changes made by issuers as a result of the 2010 CARD Act.  
“Despite massive efforts by the credit card industry during the past year to educate customers about credit card terms as a part of the CARD Act, customers’ grasp of those terms continues to be elusive,” Beird said in a press release.

According to Beird, 16% of card customers reported that they did not receive CARD Act disclosures. Among those who did, only two-thirds stated that the disclosures improved their understanding of how the legislation affects their individual circumstances.

J.D. Power isn’t the only company to find that banks have struggled with communication following the CARD Act. A recent study by CardHub showed that many banks are still burying essential information in their fine print. Another study by the CRL found that some banks were still pushing pricey overdraft plans.

To find out what the CARD Act entitles you to, check out this MainStreet Q&A.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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