These Are the Best and Worst Credit Cards of 2019

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What’s in your wallet? If it’s a Discover card, you’re probably happy.

That’s according to the 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, its 13th annual iteration, just released by the global marketing research firm J.D. Power.

The survey is based on responses from some 28,236 credit card customers collected between September 2018 and June 2019. Participants were asked to rank nationally issued cards on the basis of six criteria. In descending order of importance, these were: interaction, credit card terms, communication, benefits and services, rewards, and key moments.

Discover took the top spot with a score of 842 out of 1,000. American Express came close behind at 838. Those two cards also earned the survey’s only five-circle Power Circle Ratings, meaning “among the best.” There are numerous reasons why Discover tops the credit card ranking.

No cards won four-circle ratings (“better than most”). The second tier of cards, all with three circles (“about average”) led off with Capital One and Chase tying at 807 points, followed by Barclays US at 806. The other three-circle scorers were Citi (799), Bank of America (798), and U.S. Bank (785).

Cards with two circles (“the rest”) were Wells Fargo (783), Synchrony Bank (780), and, bringing up the rear, Credit One Bank (728).

The survey also rated regional bank cards. The winners were BB&T (811) and PNC (810), each with five circles. At the bottom was HSBC (745).

Bearing in mind the underutilization of benefits, John Cabell, Director of Wealth and Lending Intelligence for J.D. Power, recommends that card issuers should “turn their attention to communication to help customers extract the full value from their products….”

Among the other findings of the survey was the fact that, while the average credit card customer is eligible for about 16 benefits of various kinds, only 36% fully understand all the possibilities. Benefits related to travel, like companion tickets and late checkouts, were the least well understood, though they would presumably be an influential factor in credit card choice. These are the most important things to consider when getting a new credit card.