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Four Tips for Choosing the Right Credit Card
This is a guest post by Jim Miller, Senior Director of Banking Services, J.D. Power and Associates
After several years of dramatic changes due to legislation, increased fees and limited credit availability, there finally is stabilization in the credit card industry, and the stability is reflected in a third consecutive year of increased credit card customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study released last week.
The study, now in its sixth year, measures customer satisfaction with credit cards by examining six key factors: interaction; credit card terms; billing and payment process; rewards; benefits and services; and problem resolution.
"There has not been a lot of change in the past year in fees, credit limits and card terms--the things that often affect customers in a negative way," said Jim Miller, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates. "After a series of dramatic changes, credit card customers are enjoying a time of stability."
As credit card satisfaction continues to improve, and customers clearly have more choices of issuers than ever before, J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips to consumers when selecting the right credit card to meet their needs:
1. Find a card that works for you
When shopping for a credit card, think about your credit card habits. Do you tend to carry a balance over time (referred to as revolvers) or pay your balance off every month (referred to as transactors)? Revolvers should look for the most competitive credit terms on balances and payments instead of an attractive rewards program. Transactors, however, should consider rewards programs that make it easy to both earn and redeem rewards.
2. Browse and compare cards
Now that the industry has stabilized, credit card companies are looking to acquire new customers. That means there are a lot of rich reward programs available to potential customers. Visit credit card company websites to get information on rewards programs, services and benefits available. Do not overlook online blogs and independent websites, including JDPower.com, that objectively evaluate card issuers and program terms and include customer feedback.
3. Check your credit card statement
If you already have a credit card, read your monthly billing statement. If there is anything on the statement you don't understand, contact your credit card company. Monthly statements also often include information on rewards and benefits, or new offers your card is providing. If you toss the statement without reading it, you may be losing out on award opportunities.
4. Utilize what your credit card offers
Satisfaction is higher among customers who take full advantage of their card's services and benefits than among those who don't. Most credit card companies offer a number of services, such as online statements and bill payments, mobile apps, due date selection and alerts. Some companies offer other benefits, such as early purchase of concert or event tickets, discounts at hotels and concierge services at airports. If you aren't aware of all the benefits your card offers, visit the issuer's website or call customer service.
The 2012 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 13,726 credit card customers. The study was fielded in June 2012. No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this article without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates at www.jdpower.com/corporate.