The best and worst credit cards in America pose a question of brand quality especially during a recession. Likewise, the best financial services brands are those who are not only aware of customer needs but “in touch” with how to add value during economic crisis.
A survey in October’s issue of Consumer Reports notes that the single best card to have in your wallet is USAA Federal Savings Bank of San Antonio’s MasterCard. This card is exclusively for members of the military, their families and in some cases certain retirees. This little piece of plastic was singled out because of its reasonable interest rates and cash back earnings. USAA also delivers the best focus on customers and problem resolution, according to the report.

What about a good card for those of us who aren’t in the military? A card issued by Navy Federal Credit Union came in second, while cards issues by credit unions in general took third place. Credit unions offer their cardholders good problem resolution and better interest rates than a typical bank-issued card.

Overall, the only big issuers who [received] decent scores were American Express and Discover. The other major companies, meanwhile, were in the toilet. Providing was named the single worst card issuer. Following right behind at the bottom were Capital One, Bank of America’s MBNA division and JP Morgan Chase.

Something that should be asked of all financial services brands is, “Are your marketing messages personal?” Brands leading the way include USAA who posted statements on their web site that address how they are helping customers as did Vanguard and ING Direct. These firms stayed clear of the Wall Street mayhem proving their commitment to customers as primary stakeholders.

Large financial institutions have much too do by way of gaining consumer confidence particularly in the wake of major mergers.

References:
The Best and Worst Credit Cards in America
How Financial Services Marketers Should Deal With Crisis of Confidence
Second Economic Stimulus Package: Emory Economists Weigh In

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