Are These the 7 Best Credit Card Companies in America?

credit cards
Source: iStock

The average American credit card user has between three and four cards in their wallet, according to a 2014 survey by Gallup. But they like some of those cards more than others. J.D. Power recently asked 20,000 U.S. credit card users about their satisfaction with different card brands, including how happy they were with billing and payment procedures, rewards, card benefits, and how problems were resolved.

Overall card satisfaction is up this year, at 790 on a 1,000-point scale, an all-time high. Notably, Discover bumped American Express from the top spot (the two were tied for first place in 2014), partly on the strength of its rewards programs.

J.D. Power 2015 credit card survey
Source: J.D. Power

“Reward redemption and benefit use have a tremendous impact on the customer experience,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power, in a statement. “The fact that Discover ranks highest in satisfaction among all credit card issuers in each of the six factors measured in the study is a testament of the relentless focus and importance the company has placed on the ease of redemption and use of benefits.”

Discover and American Express weren’t the only card issuers who earned strong marks from consumers. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Chase also had strong showings. While high rankings on the survey doesn’t mean a certain company has the right card for you, it might be a good place to start, especially if you’re looking for a card with great rewards and customer service, as these qualities were especially important to survey respondents.

Here is a list of the seven best credit card companies in America, according to the J.D. Power survey. We’ve also highlighted one card from each company that might be worth considering if you’re in the market for a new card. Of course, issuers often have dozens of cards to choose from, each with its own pros and cons, and the cards below may not be right for you. You should think about your overall financial situation and specific needs before making a decision about applying for a specific credit card.

7. Bank of America

bank of america
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Customer satisfaction score: 777 out of 1,000

Card to consider: College students might want to look into the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students. A recent survey found the card offered the best cash-back rewards for students (including 3% back on gas purchases). There’s also a $100 sign-up bonus if you spend $500 within 90 days of signing up, plus 0% interest on introductory purchases and no annual fee.

6. Wells Fargo

Customer satisfaction score: 779 out of 1,000

Card to consider: If you’re trying to repair your credit score or are having trouble getting approved for a card, the Wells Fargo Secured Visa might be a solution. To get the card, you’ll need to cough up a security deposit (a $300 minimum, though you can go as high as $10,000) which will equal your credit line. Then, you can use your card like any other Visa. With time, you may eventually be approved for an unsecured card. Meanwhile, your activity is reported to the credit bureaus, allowing you to build or improve your credit history. Credit expert Beverly Harzog declared it “a pretty good choice, especially if you already bank with Wells Fargo.”

5. Barclaycard

Customer satisfaction score: 788 out of 1,000

Card to consider: If saving for college is on your financial agenda, the Upromise World Mastercard (issued by Barclays) could help. The card offers up to 10% cash back at select retailers. Rewards you accumulate can be deposited into a 529 plan or a high-yield savings account; you can also use rewards to make payments on eligible student loans.

4. Capital One

Customer satisfaction score: 790 out of 1,000

Card to consider: Business owners should check out the Spark Miles Select card from Capital One. It has some of the fewest fees out there, according to a recent survey, and you’ll earn 1½ miles for every dollar you spend. Overall, the card offers “long-term value and extreme flexibility at a minimal expense,” according to a review by Claire Davidson at NerdWallet.

3. Chase

chase bank sign
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Customer satisfaction score: 792 out of 1,000

Card to consider: If you’re addicted to cash-back rewards, the Chase Freedom card is for you. Money magazine declared it a top card in the cash-back category in 2014. You get cash bonuses for signing up and 1% cash back on all purchases, plus 5% cash back in select categories every quarter.

2. American Express

Customer satisfaction score: 820 out of 1,000

Card to consider: NerdWallet declared the Blue Cash Preferred card a best bet for families in its round-up of American Express cards. Six percent cash back rewards on groceries and 3% cash back on gas helped it earn the honor, though it does have an annual fee. “Large families will appreciate the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express’ high rewards rates on grocery stores and gas stations. But if you can’t get past the annual fee or you don’t spend a lot in those categories, it might not be worth it,” wrote NerdWallet’s Ben Luthi in a review.

1. Discover

Customer satisfaction score: 828 out of 1,000

Card to consider: The Discover It Double Cash Back card is a top-rated card by both and NerdWallet. You get 1% cash back on all purchases and 5% back on purchases in a selection of categories that rotates every quarter. New card members qualify for a special double cash back bonus in their first year. There’s no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and you enjoy 0% APR for the first 12 months. The only catch? You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for this card.

Follow Megan on Twitter @MeganE_CS
Want more great content like this? Sign up here to receive the best of Cheat Sheet delivered daily. No spam; just tailored content straight to your inbox.