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AMEX Reigns Again in Customer Satisfaction

For the fourth year in a row, American Express has topped the charts in the 2010 J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study.

Released last week, the study indicates that AmEx received a customer service ranking of 769 on a 1,000 point scale, which was 12 points higher than the runner up—Discover Card. In addition, AmEx was the only credit issuer to receive five out of five J.D. Power.com Power Circles. Bringing up the rear for the ten major credit issuers analyzed in the study was HSBC, which received a ranking a 686 and just two out of five power circles.

I can't say I'm surprised to see American Express at the top of the list again. In the credit card world, AmEx has always been a brand that's stood for the highest level of customer service. In my personal opinion, they more than deserve this title. I've been an AmEx customer ever since I was eligible to have my own credit card. In fact, the AmEx Blue credit card was the first one in my wallet as a young college student, and after all these years as a cardholder I can honestly say I've never had a poor customer service experience.

I think it's clear that their management team has continually put a lot of money and effort into not only training what AmEx calls their "Customer Care Professionals", but also creating a performance-based compensation structure that keeps these employees around for longer than the average credit card company.

Of course, the benefit to cardholders is that the first person we get on the customer service line generally understands our problems and has the power to fix them without transferring us ten times between other departments. To me, that's what customer service for credit cards is all about. If I have to spend hours on the phone talking to several different representatives to fix one small problem, then I'm not a happy customer. I've never had an experience like that with AmEx. J.D. Power's study was based on responses from 8,500 credit cardholders and focused primarily on six major categories including customer interaction, credit card terms, benefits and services, rewards, credit card terms and problem resolution.

I'm not quite sure where the "online experience" would fit into these categories (maybe customer interaction?), but I have to mention that AmEx has made great strides in this arena too. I remember not being a huge fan of their website a few years ago. However, their current online interface allows you to manage all your AmEx cards from one page, and the key information you need is fairly easy to find and only a click away.

They also offer some great tools to help sort transactions by various categories and view year-end summary reports. The reports can come in quite handy when tweaking your personal budget or preparing for tax season. But beware—it might make you physically ill to see how much you spent on that gym membership over the entire year after only showing up once in January. You might as well ditch the gym membership now and pick up a copy of P90X pronto. You won't regret it. So, congratulations to American Express on a job well done in an extremely tough business environment!

We'll see you again next year at the top of the list.

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Joshua Heckathorn's picture

Joshua Heckathorn was President of Creditnet, is a credit expert and has been featured on CNNMoney, FOX Business, Yahoo Finance, The Street, and many other national publications during the past ten years.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Management (Finance) from Brigham Young University's Marriott School of Business and earned his MBA from Seattle University.

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