Study Shows Credit Card Companies not as Forgivable

When things go wrong, Americans are reasonably willing to forgive almost anyone: supermarkets, the postal service, auto dealers and, despite the “Great Recession,” even investment firms. Interestingly enough, Americans are very slow to forgive credit card companies, if they are even granted “forgiveness” at all. A recently released survey states that credit card issuers rank in last place when it comes to earning customers’ forgiveness for making mistakes.

The survey, compiled by the Temkin Forgiveness Ratings, gauges which companies are earning customer loyalty and respect and which aren’t. The survey includes 206 companies from 18 different industries and takes the opinions of 10,000 United States consumers into consideration. The “Bottom 20 Companies” were composed of financial institutions and credit card companies ranging from Capital One and Bank of America, to Citibank and HSBC. Perhaps the credit card issuers weren’t helpful when it came to which credit cards are for those with bad credit or maybe their customer service agents were unfriendly and curt. Regardless, Americans are highly unlikely to forgive credit card issuers for mistakes.

While some credit card issuers performed well in the survey, like USAA, a financial service that primarily works with members of the military and their families, the credit card industry as a whole received weak ratings overall. The American Bankers Association declined to comment on the specific findings of the survey, instead issuing a general statement: “Most people see credit cards as a useful financial tool and have a positive relationship with their own card issuer. Providing good customer service and resolving any issues quickly is of paramount importance and remains our highest priority.”

Representing the other side of the issue, consumer advocate groups seemed to agree with the results of the survey. Credit card companies have a history of snagging new card users when they’re desperate for cash and then turn their backs on them as soon as they’re buried in debt. Credit cards are often viewed as a lifeline, and many users depend heavily on the hem for financial support and stability. If this stability is shaken even once, it can have a lasting effect on the customer.

Interestingly enough, the results of this year’s survey were better than the previous year. In 2011, credit card companies were rated as having a 3 percent “net goodness,” while this year, credit card issuers managed to boost that number to 13 percent. The survey is performed each year, so check back often to see how your preferred credit card company is rated against others. Or, apply for one of the best, at!

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