Credit Card Rewards Boost American Express In New Trust Survey | Investor’s Business Daily

It’s tough for credit card issuers to impress you. Credit card rewards and interest rates change constantly. And competition for customers is fierce, with card companies spending big to lure them.


American Express (AXP) finished ahead of other credit card issuers in this year’s IBD Most Trusted Financial Companies customer survey. The 2022 survey, IBD’s third, is co-branded this year with our sister company, MarketWatch.

Amex’s overall score of 76.4 put it in the No. 8 spot among all financial companies in the survey. Among credit card issuers, it edged out Discover Financial Services (DFS), with a score of 76.1. Capital One (COF) (69.7 rating) took third place in the credit card category of this year’s third annual IBD trust survey.

American Express has a prominent global brand. And its responsive customer service and member benefits help it gain customers’ trust. Last year, Discover was No. 1 in IBD’s credit card category.

Amex is pushing hard. American Express beat earnings estimates and raised guidance for the year in its most recent quarter. CEO Stephen Squeri said: “We had an outstanding second quarter, with record levels of revenue and card member spending, reflecting the strength of our global customer base.”

Global Clout, Customer Surveys

American Express operates in 198 countries and territories. More than 66 million merchants around the world accept its payment products. It has 122 million cards in force, accounting for nine billion transactions a year.

“I’ve been very happy with American Express,” said Ron Taylor, a former executive at Blue Cross and Blue Shield who lives in Richardson, Texas. “I’m a world traveler, and it’s one of the most recognized cards abroad.”

Beyond its international clout, American Express wins customers’ trust by anticipating and addressing their wants and needs.

How? Amex surveys its customers. It then harnesses insights into their spending behaviors to roll out offers and new products that excite them.

“We consistently listen to our customers,” said Anthony Cirri, Amex executive vice president. “And we’re always striving to differentiate ourselves.”

Credit Card Rewards

One example: The recent launch of the Blue Cash Everyday card. After surveying its customers, Amex found that they wanted more cash-back benefits on groceries, gas and online retail purchases. So the Blue Cash card lets users earn 3% cash back in these categories on up to $ 6,000 in purchases a year.

The survey also showed that Amex customers value spending time with friends and family, sharing meals and streaming their favorite programs. These activities have been especially popular during the pandemic. So, Amex added new offers to some of its cards in surging categories such as streaming services and groceries.

“We added two monthly statement credits for Home Chef and the Disney bundle,” which includes Disney +, Hulu and ESPN +, Cirri said.

Another survey found that 68% of Gen Z and millennial travelers said they’d be more likely to take trips to their dream destinations if they could pay for the flights over time. So American Express added a buy-now, pay-later feature when its cardholders book travel with Delta Air Lines. The best travel rewards credit cards are popular with consumers.

3 Most Trusted Credit Card Issuers

Company Category Overall Rating Quality Ethics Privacy Customer Service Price Sensitivity To Customer Needs Innovation
American Express Credit card 76.4 80.0 77.6 84.9 81.1 61.5 69.3 74.7
Discover Credit card 76.1 78.8 74.0 83.2 83.0 68.6 65.6 73.5
Capital One Credit card 69.7 73.6 70.2 75.2 73.5 59.1 63.2 68.3

Beyond credit card rewards, the ability to deliver what customers want not only fosters trust and goodwill, but it also enhances Amex’s role in their lives. Thanks to its travel bookings service, American Express is the country’s sixth-largest travel agent. As customers plan leisure travel and enjoy memorable vacations, their Amex relationship grows stronger.

In 2021, the company also refreshed its Platinum card. It increased travel benefits and added dining, entertainment, wellness and retail benefits, as consumers resumed their pre-pandemic spending habits.

The strategy is paying off. Amex said new US sign-ups for its premium Platinum card, Gold card and Delta Air Lines co-branded cards hit record highs in the second quarter of 2022.

Empowered Amex Service Reps

Each customer service call provides an opportunity for Amex to earn members’ trust and satisfaction. With roughly 24,000 front-line staffers fielding customer inquiries, the key is quality control.

“Our customer-care professionals are trained and empowered to make decisions and address customer needs,” Cirri said. “They are not attached to a script.”

That means reps can use their judgment to solve problems in real time. Thus cardholders get speedier resolutions.

Amex’s digital tools provide another channel for customers to seek information and resolve issues.

“Our mobile app has evolved immensely as our customers have become more digitally savvy,” Cirri said. Using the app, customers can “access offers, track a dispute and get their questions answered,” he said.

Other credit card companies included in this year’s survey are Bank of America (BAC), US Bank (USB), Citibank (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC), Synchrony Financial (SYF) and Credit One Bank, part of Credit One Financial (COFI).


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