Gro­cery gi­ant beats banks in sur­vey of credit card users’ sat­is­fac­tion

Calgary Herald - - FINANCIAL POST - DOUG ALEXAN­DER

TORONTO Canada’s big­gest gro­cery chain is beat­ing the banks at their own game.

Loblaw Cos.’s Pres­i­dent’s Choice Fi­nan­cial credit cards rank No. 1 for cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, beat­ing out cards is­sued by the big­gest banks, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished Mon­day by J.D. Power. De­spite be­ing Canada’s big­gest credit-card is­suer, Toronto-Dominion Bank trails the pack.

PC Fi­nan­cial scored 788 on a 1,000-point scale mak­ing the cards “among the best,” ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey. Amer­i­can Ex­press Co.’s cards ranked sec­ond, with 780 points, fol­lowed by Cana­dian Tire with 774 points, and Capital One at 764. Each of the three rated “bet­ter than most.”

Bank credit cards are in the mid­dle of the pack, with Bank of Mon­treal and Royal Bank of Canada scor­ing the in­dus­try av­er­age of 758, fol­lowed by Bank of Nova Sco­tia at 756 and Na­tional Bank of Canada at 751.

The low­est ranked are cards from Cana­dian Im­pe­rial Bank of Com­merce and MBNA Canada, at 741, fol­lowed by Toronto-Dominion at the bot­tom, with a score of 739.

Toronto-Dominion was Canada’s largest credit-card is­suer based on out­stand­ing bal­ances in 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Nil­son Re­port, a pay­ments-in­dus­try publi­ca­tion.

The J.D. Power study mea­sures sat­is­fac­tion based on ben­e­fits, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, terms, cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tion, key mo­ments and re­wards. The re­port was based on more than 6,000 re­sponses col­lected in May.

Card hold­ers place such a high value on re­wards pro­grams that 48 per cent of those who switched their pri­mary card in the past year did so for bet­ter perks, J.D. Power, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based mar­ket anal­y­sis firm, said in its study.

“Un­der­stand­ing how to re­deem re­wards — and hav­ing re­deemed re­wards re­cently — has a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on sat­is­fac­tion and loy­alty lev­els,” Jim Miller, J.D. Power’s vice-pres­i­dent of bank­ing and credit card prac­tice, said.

A lack of clar­ity around Aimia Inc.’s Aero­plan loy­alty pro­gram, which is part of the card of­fer­ings for Toronto-Dominion and CIBC, may have af­fected cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, the study said. The two banks, along with Air Canada and Visa Canada, agreed last month to buy the Aero­plan busi­ness for $450 mil­lion, end­ing a takeover bat­tle for one of Canada’s most pop­u­lar loy­alty pro­grams.

“We rec­og­nize the un­cer­tainty around the Aero­plan busi­ness has af­fected cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion with their TD Aero­plan cards,” Toronto-Dominion spokes­woman Julie Bel­lis­simo said in an email, adding the pro­posed deal “will pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for all Aero­plan Miles to trans­fer into Air Canada’s new loy­alty pro­gram when it launches, pro­vid­ing con­ve­nience and value for mil­lions of Cana­di­ans, in­clud­ing our TD Aero­plan cus­tomers.”

GRAEME ROY/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A J.D. Power study has found that Loblaw’s Pres­i­dent’s Choice Fi­nan­cial credit cards rank No. 1 for cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, not­ing card hold­ers place a high value on re­wards pro­grams.

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