Financial Advice

Discover Snags Title of ‘America’s Favorite Credit Card Company’

After eight consecutive years as consumers’ favorite credit card issuer, American Express is now No. 2. Discover took the top slot in the J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, after tying with AmEx last year.

The annual report, which is in its ninth year, pulls data from surveys of 20,000 U.S. credit card customers fielded between September 2014 and May 2015. It scores issuers on a 1,000-point scale, based on the following criteria (from most to least important): interaction; credit card terms; billing and payment; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution. Discover’s score of 828 overtook AmEx’s 820 — both companies scored an 819 in 2014. The industry average is 790, the highest it’s been since the rankings started.

What makes people happy with their credit cards? Rewards. More than half (52%) of cardholders said they chose a new credit card because of better rewards, while 24% said they did so because of better benefits (a reward is something like cash back or miles, while benefits tend to include things like purchase warranties, free FICO scores or travel insurance).

People who say they find their cards’ rewards attractive (a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale) also spend more. They spend an average of $1,132 a month, compared to the average $744 spent by people who find their cards’ rewards unattractive (meaning they gave their rewards a score of 5 or lower on that 10-point scale).

Rewards credit cards have a lot to offer — you can check out some of the best rewards credit cards from our annual ranking — but they also come with risks. Rewards cards tend to have higher APRs than non-rewards credit cards, so if you’re someone who typically carries a balance on your cards, doing so with a rewards card can be costly and will almost certainly outweigh the value of whatever you’re earning. Rewards cards sometimes come with annual fees, as well. On top of that, they’re generally only available to people with good or great credit. You can see how your credit ranks by checking your credit scores regularly — you can get two of your credit scores for free every month on

Overall, J.D. Power breaks its rankings into categories, which it calls Power Circle Rankings. A 5 means the product is among the best, a 4 means it’s better than most, a 3 means it’s about average, and a 2 includes “the rest.” Here’s how the major credit card issuers fared in this year’s rankings:

Score: 828
Power Circle Ranking: 5

American Express
Score: 820
Power Circle Ranking: 5

Score: 792
Power Circle Ranking: 3

Capital One
Score: 790
Power Circle Ranking: 3

Score: 788
Power Circle Ranking: 3

Wells Fargo
Score: 779
Power Circle Ranking: 3

Bank of America
Score: 777
Power Circle Ranking: 3

U.S. Bank
Score: 776
Power Circle Ranking: 3

Score: 765
Power Circle Ranking: 2

GE Capital Retail/Synchrony Bank
Score: 743
Power Circle Ranking: 2

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This article by Christine DiGangi was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.