- Centurion Member
- Posts: 3929
- Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 7:42 pm
- Location: United States
I was about to write a reply that Barclaycard has better customer service than Citi (for comparable cards). From what I've read anecdotally, I still think it does - but I wanted data.
I looked on the CFPB Socrata database and poked around. I compared complaint statistics since Oct 2013 on there to 2013 issuer market share and customer base. I had found published complaint data before, but they were old. I came to a few conclusions:
1. USAA, US Bank, and Discover don't have the high-roller crowd (just based anecdotal evidence) or big corporate customers (from their card offerings). They make their money from a lot of fairly small customers. They have to get a lot of swipes to generate $1M of volume, so it is meaningful that they get few complaints. One slightly less well-known issuer that also did really well? Bank of Hawaii.
2. Amex and Chase have a mix of customers, including businesses and high-rollers. They also have several different tiers of customer service. Company-wide for each, the complaints are low relative to the spending volume, but I can't find any way to tease the type of card (like BCE or Platinum) out of the data. This prevents the fair comparison between the customer service of, say, a BCE and a Sallie Mae.
The same is true to some extent for BofA (Merrill Lynch) and Citi. BofA had - across all card tiers - about the same number of complaints per $1M of volume as Discover. Some of this might be from their higher-spend Merrill Lynch cards, or they might have just had an unusually good year. Citi complaints were at twice the rate of BofA, though.
3. Barclaycard's complaints were much worse than I thought they would be. Barclaycard was in the same tier as FNBO, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and Citi. Maybe this is because other than Sallie Mae, Arrival, and maybe some retail cards they have borderline credit cards like Apple and Rewards that have lower spending?
4. Synchrony/GECRB was way worse than any of the others I've mentioned - presumably because they have very few cards that get serious spending.
So apart from the great-for-almost-everyone cards mentioned in point 1, it's hard to make broad comparisons across issuers or between 'rival' cards. My little investigation didn't give sufficiently detailed information to determine a standout winner in the Arrival+/DoubleCash debate. Overall, though, Barclaycard and Citi were about the same in terms of complaints. Maybe by the time the Arrival+ annual fees exceed the signup bonus, there will be better options.
I'll look on myfico and see if the complaints are mostly about the Apple and Rewards cards, because I have mostly heard pretty good things from others on here about Sallie Mae and both Arrival variants.
But the better-than-expected performers were Bank of Hawaii and Bank of America.
Keeping indefinitely: IHG, SchwabPlat, CSP, Discover, Freedom, ED, BCE, Hyatt
May close or PC: Prestige, Arrival, BrooksBros
AA Platinum converting into Costco
Might add: Proper business card, CSR, Ritz, Delta Gold, First Tech
Letting new accounts cool off since May