Despite America’s continued economic and unemployment struggles, overall customer satisfaction with the 11 largest credit card issuers that were part of the 7th annual JD Power and Associates Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study℠ has risen 14 points, according to press releases on both the JD Powers website and the American Express website.

Last year’s survey results had four card issuers, American Express, Discover, Chase, and Barclaycard, scoring above that national average. This year’s results leave only American Express, Discover, and Chase ranking higher than the national average for credit card customer satisfaction.

To determine rankings, JD Powers uses a 1000 point scale and tabulates answers from over 14,000 credit card holders. Credit card customers answer questions in six categories: benefits and services, billings and payment, credit card terms, customer representative interactions, problem resolution, and rewards.

Apparently, credit card issuers take card holder feedback seriously as every card issuer increased reported satisfaction levels over last year’s results, with many of the score advancements being a significant achievement in one year. GE Capital Retail Bank increased its score by 38 points. Besides American Express, Discover, Chase®, Barclaycard®, and GE Capital Retail, also in included in the JD Power survey were US Bank®, Wells Fargo®, Capital One®, Bank of America®, Citi® and HSBC®.

American Express, ranking number one for the 7th straight year, scored highest out of all card issuers surveyed in the Customer Service Representative Interactions category. Additionally, American Express also ranked highest in Benefits and Services, Billing and Payments, and Rewards. American Express has emphasized its focused efforts on improvements, seemingly specifically in giving it’s customers additional accessibility through technology. Notable are the addition of several new features including ability to manage their accounts through a Facebook application, mobile gift cards that can be used with smart phones, and Pass for American Express® for Passbook.

Although American Express has made intentional efforts to better its customer experience, the company acknowledges its customers for the ranking it received.

“We are truly honored that our Card Members have recognized us for seven straight years.  This prestigious recognition demonstrates the importance of putting customer satisfaction and service at the heart of everything we do and delivering outstanding value through extraordinary products, service and experiences,” said Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer, American Express. “The feedback provided by consumers through this study will help us continue to raise the bar as we work to exceed the expectations of our customers.”

Discover Card has again ranked second in overall customer satisfaction. Each year Discover Card has made increases in its scores and has moved steadily to close the gap between itself and American Express. The 2013 results leave only a 4 point gap between the two top-ranking cards: Discover Card scored 812 out of 1000, and American Express scored 816. The JD Power report indicates that Discover Card’s three top areas of performance are Credit Card Terms, Customer Service Representative Interactions, and Problem Resolution.

Even with all the gains made by credit card issuers in general, there is still much room for improvement, especially in helping customers understand both the terms and the benefits associated with their credit cards. Customers continue to express concern or dissatisfaction with credit card terms. According to survey results, less than one half of cardholders feel they completely understand the terms they have agreed to in obtaining their card. Additionally, over one-third of cardholders self-reported they are unaware of the benefits associated with their credit cards. Perhaps the 2014 JD Powers Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Report will reveal that credit card issuers have heard the voice of the consumer and addressed these areas of concern adequately.

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