Home / Credit News / Consumers far more likely to forgive credit card issuers this year

With the economy improving and consumers generally getting themselves in better financial positions as a result, many say they are now more likely to forgive their credit card company for troubling customer service experiences than they were last year.

Consumers nationwide continued to feel better about the approach their credit card lenders take to customer service and were therefore more likely to forgive any missteps they felt they experienced in dealing with those companies, according to the latest annual Forgiveness Ratings issued by the Temkin Group. Forgiveness is the key element of customer loyalty, and is based on the functionality, accessibility and emotional factors consumers experience in dealing with companies. This includes whether customer service experiences met consumers' needs, companies allowed their clients what they felt was a larger amount of freedom within their relationships, and how Americans generally felt about their experiences in dealing with the companies.

"Forgiveness is a valuable asset that you earn by consistently meeting customers' needs, but many companies don't have enough forgiveness stored-up to recover from their miscues," said Bruce Temkin, author of the research and managing partner of the Temkin Group.

And this year, as the economy continues to improve, consumers are growing far more likely to forgive their credit card lenders for troublesome experiences, indicating that their relationships with these companies are generally improving, the report said. This year, 13 percent of those surveyed by Temkin said they would forgive their lenders for troubling experiences, up from just 3 percent last year.

The major national credit card lenders that engendered the greatest amount of forgiveness on a year-over-year basis were USAA and US Bank, the report said. These financial institutions saw forgiveness increase 27.7 percent and 22.4 percent, respectively in the last year. USAA saw its current forgiveness level stand at an industry high of 44 percent.

Consumers may be feeling better about their credit card lenders because they're feeling better about their finances in general, and have been able to avoid costly missteps as a result of their increased wherewithal when it comes to making payments on time, and therefore avoiding penalty fees and interest rates that could have harmed their relationship with their lender. Further, a larger number of consumers now have access to new lines of credit that they would not have at this time last year, as a result of relaxing lending standards.