For many of us, credit cards have been the biggest source of miles for travel. Applying for cards and the occasional cancellation of credit cards requires a lot of calls.
Here is my list of favorites and ones to avoid:
In the last 10 years since I got my first American Express, I can't remember a single phone interaction that wasn't pleasant. Not that all of my requests were awarded but the staff's professionalism and attitude is fantastic. The agents are US-based (or so it seems) and always happy to help and chat.
Even the dreaded American Express Financial Review went through in a day for me.
At the time when you could match bonuses, AmEx showered me with 500,000 American Express Membership Rewards in just about 3 months.
Card activation is a bit of a hit or miss – sometimes offshore agents hit you with pre-formatted lines over and over and that's annoying.
American Express also has trouble backing up their marketing claims for bundled insurance with real-life claims.
In a recent fraud alert, the agent connected me to my banker at Chase and went through lots of recent transactions. Very unusual idea to verify my transactions and identity.
JP Morgan Chase
My second favorite is Chase. The agents are highly professional and easy to understand. A recent card application (in reconsideration) became a long quiz about my identity to a point where I doubted myself of what my name was! Applications for a business card in reconsideration are met by highly professional but super-skeptical agents.
I had several cards comprised with fraudulent transactions and it was taken care of every time quickly and simply.
My insurance claims have been answered promptly and the claims went through (if I had proper documentation).
Fraud alerts are rare but useful.
Citibank can be anything – as professional (but not as friendly) as Chase or complete and utter nonsense from offshore agents. I'm still trying to figure out what to expect.
In a recent fraud alert I had changed my phone number (several days before the alert since I knew it was coming) and the agent came up with no other means of verifying my identity. The discussion got a bit more heated and the supervisor agreed with me but offered no solution. Clearly the agents have no power.
US Bank recently invested in a proper reconsideration department for credit cards. I remember calling back for another agent and the next agent knew all about my conversation with the agents 5 minutes ago – oops!
While still a bit chaotic I feel they have gotten better.
Recent fraudulent activity on my account had been met with a chaotic response – I had to talk to a number of agents until they agreed to issue a TEMPORARY credit. They also make you answer and fill in a rather comprehensive questionnaire about the fraud and sign a declaration in writing (no fax).
US Bank has become a player and while bureaucratic, it is on the way to getting things right.
I never had a Discover card but friends tell me their experience with them has been good to great. US agents take care of you with minimal wait time.
I used to bank with Wells Fargo at a point and always felt their customer service was bad. Fraudulent charges were met with skepticism and there was lots of paperwork to get them off my debit card account.
My recent call to the 'reconsideration' department wasn't a reconsideration but a wasted 30 minutes.
Pass if you must.
I'm a bit torn on this one. I had a checking account (and a debit card) with them for quite some time. My calls to a banker needed some time to connect but once you had a person that you liked you the results were amazing.
However, when I closed the account a while ago I found myself stuck between many clueless agents who did not know what the other said or did. Very unpleasant experience.
Capital One has very aggressive marketing and many consumers have their first (and only) credit card with the company. This is where most people's bad experiences from credit card companies stem from. Their agents are truly horrific – opening or closing an account is a nightmare. The agents barely speak English and read their replies from Google Translate.
I can't think of a way to make customer service worse – seriously, they'd do better to NOT provide any customer service and just run everything through a web interface.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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