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2m UK consumers unhappy with credit card customer service

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18th Jan 2010
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Although supermarkets stole a march on traditional financial institutions in customer satisfaction terms last year, a huge two million customers still professed themselves unhappy with the service offered by their credit card provider.

According to the findings of price comparison website uSwitch.com, Marks & Spencer and Tesco topped the customer satisfaction tables, with 89.4% of consumers saying they were content with service levels overall.

They rose from third and fourth place respectively last year, while American Express, which had taken the top slot in 2008, dropped to third place. Some 88.6% of card holders were pleased with its performance, but it was also the card most likely to be recommended to a friend (81%).

Halifax, Lloyds TSB and Natwest came bottom of the league tables, meanwhile, with only 64%, 63% and 62% of shoppers respectively being satisfied. A recent YouGov poll indicated that on average 70% of credit card holders were happy with the support provided by their main card supplier.

Louise Bond, a personal finance expert at uSwitch.com, said: "With generous rewards such as loyalty points that can be converted into cash, gifts, air miles or money off your shopping bill, it’s easy to see why the supermarket credit cards are doing so well."

But she added that it was "disappointing" that customer service was still letting the dedicated card companies down, while the huge gap between the best and worst providers indicated just how different customers’ experiences could be. This situation made it more important than ever for customers to check that they were getting a good deal.

Despite this scenario, about half of customers said that they had held onto their credit card for more than five years. More than one in three did not know whether the interest rates that they were offered were competitive or not, while 8% were aware that the rates for their card were below average but still chose to do nothing about it.

Nonetheless, overall borrowing fell by 3% last year, with the number of credit cards in circulation dropping by 8%.

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