News & Views - Savantor

Credit Cards – the state of the nation – Part 2

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

More research results looking ahead to 2012 suggest it may not be a happy one for traditional suppliers.  New research has revealed that 26% of UK consumers expect to owe money on their credit cards throughout 2012, with nearly one in ten admitting they are relying on their plastic to make ends meet.  Whilst that sounds like good news to credit card issuers it has to be tempered by other results from the annual credit card Customer Satisfaction Report from uSwitch.com which reveals that overall satisfaction with credit card providers has fallen – and is now the lowest it has ever been. But although all providers have seen a slip in standards, the traditional banks continue to be the biggest losers -

The survey of over 10,000 credit card customers reveals that the biggest improvement this year comes from Virgin - with an 8% increase in overall customer satisfaction while last year’s biggest climber, NatWest, falls three places. The top five for overall satisfaction is completed by two supermarkets, Tesco and Sainsbury’s Finance - highlighting the growing competition presented by alternatives to the high street banks and traditional providers.

At the wrong end of the table, the big banks still dominate. While new entrants to the report Vanquis and Bank of Scotland were voted bottom for overall satisfaction, they are closely followed by Barclaycard, HSBC, Halifax, Lloyds TSB and Santander. None of the high street banks top any category - only RBS manages second place for its balance transfer service. Although overall satisfaction across the board has slipped, things are worse for the banks. Last year the best high street bank was 15% off the top performer. This year the gap has widened to 19%.

On the bright side although almost two million are dissatisfied with the everyday service provided by their card company, consumers are holding onto their cards. Over half (51%) have had their credit card for more than five years.  So maybe the traditional consumer apathy to moving their finances will prevent a migration away from bank credit cards.

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