This week, we’ll be revealing the best (and worst) credit card providers – compared to their competitors – for resolving customer issues and the service they provided to do so.
I’m keen to highlight what stood out among the providers that topped our table – but also what’s been going on across the credit card industry in terms of complaints and cases throughout last year. It’s a sector that many people have turned to for help – on a variety of issues, including Section 75 claims, fraud-related cases and of course, payment holiday requests – so it’s one that has undoubtedly had to ‘step up’ to address real financial worries among consumers during the pandemic.
What our top credit card providers stood out for
What was common among those with a higher Resolver Rating in our table is that they all scored at least four stars for ease of complaining. We’ve long argued about the importance of contact with providers, and fairness to consumers in making this as simple as possible. With the many potential reasons to contact one’s credit card provider this past 12 months, this has perhaps never been more crucial.
General higher satisfaction with the way their complaint was handled among some card providers compared to others also made a difference, showing time and again that despite us all not wanting reasons to complain in the first place, if that complaint is handled right, it makes a big difference to your customers’ ongoing perception of your firm.
Equally, prompt response times – in comparison to others in the roll call – is what ensured our number one credit card provider hit the top spot in our table – showing that in this industry – and given the complaints we saw – that there is relative importance for a more rapid, even if only initial, response compared to perhaps other sectors.
We know this has been a challenge for many organisations, across many sectors during the pandemic. But it clearly made a difference here when companies reached out quickly – and while our metrics showed even the higher performers were taking some time to actually fully resolve a complaint, the way in which they were handling it was obviously a tipping point for success in our rankings.
The credit card industry: complaints in 2020
Bearing all this in mind, it made looking at the trends among complaints across all credit card issues interesting reading. Firstly, the distinct rise in the proportion of complaints relating explicitly to customer service issues at the points when we saw less restrictions in our movements.
This could be related to more awareness of payment holidays at this point – particularly as this was around the time that extensions to them were possible – or it could be that there were genuinely more reasons to contact card providers in those summer months – notably because consumers were struggling to get refunds from retailers and particularly travel operators at a time when bookings and purchases would have risen. But it’s telling that at the same sort of time, response and resolution rates (the time it takes) also saw its peak of 2020. Equally, satisfaction and ease measures across the industry saw a dip as the year closed out.
This is interesting really as credit card providers were worried about having to rush out measures like payment holidays at the start of the pandemic and perhaps have consequently underestimated the general impact that issues with refunds and cancellations in other sectors would have on them.
Bearing this in mind, it is encouraging that customer feedback is showing some providers as a cut above the rest for how they are being dealt with, and goes to show that some providers will ensure a higher standard.
So which credit card firms are up there for the handling of their customers’ various issues – and the service they provided throughout? Our top three consists of mostly well-established large banking brands, but our table shows that others stand out for certain areas – with others letting them down.
Look out later this week for our top performers for issue resolution and service across more than 15 credit card providers