Credit Card Customer Service Roundup
When determining which credit card company is right for you, it’s important to consider everything the credit card company has to offer. Equally as important as a low APR or advanced security מערכת שירות לקוחות features is the credit card company’s customer service.
Because most consumers overlook customer service until it’s too late, we made calls to the top five credit card companies (American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and Discover), then ranked them on how well they met the following customer service benchmarks:
Helpful Web sites. First we visited their sites to see how user-friendly they were, and whether toll-free phone numbers were easy to find.
Knowledge of agents. We asked three advanced credit card questions (security features, 0% APR availability, and debt consolidation features), then rated their responses.
Helpfulness of agents. Finally, we assessed our general sense of treatment as valued customers, which went into an overall rating of each company’s customer service.
TIME TO 800 NUMBER: Less than two minutes.
HELPFULNESS OF AGENTS: When we got through, we talked to a helpful and professional representative. Even their automated voice system woman who greets you when you first pick up is very concise and polite, as far as robot ladies go.
KNOWLEDGE OF AGENTS: The customer service representative spoke confidently about their 0% APR cards for select customers, as well as low APR cards and offers. The only question the agent was not able to answer was about credit card debt consolidation features. However, Amex did provide direct and concise information for all other questions we asked.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: The service rep was clear and not pushy (albeit mechanical), and let us know that someone is available to help further at their toll-free number, 24/7.
Bank of America
TIME TO 800 NUMBER: Less than two minutes.
HELPFULNESS OF AGENTS: We called the main number and went through ten button-presses before being connected to a live human (though admittedly some of those keypresses were out of confusion). Some of the steps were obsolete and frustrating — for example, selecting to respond by voice or by hitting a key. On one occasion, a poorly-timed sneeze caused us to have to go back in the menu. When finally connected to a “Bank On Call Specialist,” it was clear that, though thorough, the gentleman on the other end was in as little mood to be friendly as we were by this point.
KNOWLEDGE OF AGENTS: When asking about the basic security features the card offered, the rep responded by mentioning the “Safe-card” feature that generates random numbers each time the card is used, instead of a traceable account number that “could potentially be stolen.” We playfully replied, “That’s got to be a good feature if you’re up to no good.” He did not find this funny. Even after saying “That was a joke,” the Bank On Call Specialist didn’t even give up a pity-snicker.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: Operating out of Los Angeles, the Bank of America 800-number is not 24/7 like some of the others, but does operate late and on weekends. (Please note, however, that this information was given by the service rep in person; meanwhile, the Bank of America Web site proudly boasts 24/7 customer service representatives on call. We didn’t bother calling back 23 times to figure out which it really is.)
TIME TO 800 NUMBER: Less than a minute; quick and easy.
HELPFULNESS OF AGENTS: With but one button-press after calling, you are speaking to a live operator. We spoke to a good-humored gentleman who, though having to transfer us to the “application department” to answer general questions, laughed genuinely at the response “Okay, super-duper” when he asked us to briefly hold. (Customer service reps who don’t hate their jobs always reflect well on the company.) He transferred me to a female agent who was equally well-tempered, and the whole ordeal was genuine and friendly.
KNOWLEDGE OF AGENTS: They promptly filled me in on topics like rewards card bonuses and low APR credit cards. Citibank seems to handle issues like stolen credit cards with sensitivity and care, and they assured me that “Identity Theft Specialists” handle any potential issues one-on-one.