The credit cards that get the most complaints

An analysis of credit card complaints found that one issuer rose to the top. Is it a card in your wallet?

By MSN Money Partner Feb 4, 2014 12:30PM

This post comes from Maryalene LaPonsie at partner site Money Talks News. 

Money Talks News on MSN MoneyIf you're a Capital One cardholder and feel like pulling out your hair, you're not alone.

Credit card © Hill Street Studios, Getty ImagesAccording to an analysis, the credit card company has the distinction of being on the receiving end of the most customer complaints. More than 5,000 complaints against Capital One were filed with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau between November 2011 and September 2013.

However, the company certainly wasn't the only one consumers complained about. Ten card issuers accounted for 93 percent of the credit card complaints made to the bureau.

All told, the CFPB received more than 25,000 complaints about credit cards in that two-year period.

Then, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, an advocacy organization, sliced and diced those numbers to determine which companies got the most complaints and why consumers were upset. In terms of actual numbers, the following are the companies garnering the most complaints.

  • Capital One — 5,265 complaints.
  • Citibank — 4,514 complaints.
  • Bank of America — 3,320 complaints.
  • Chase — 3,176 complaints.
  • GE Capital Retail — 2,087 complaints.

However, if you consider the number of complaints a company receives compared with its purchase volume, you get a slightly different picture. When purchase volume is considered, these three companies had the highest complaint ratio:

  • GE Capital Retail — 88 complaints per $1 billion in purchase volume.
  • Capital One — 46 complaints per $1 billion in purchase volume.
  • Barclays — 25 complaints per $1 billion in purchase volume.

What makes customers mad

In addition to breaking down complaints by company, U.S. PIRG looked at why consumers were complaining. According to that analysis, billing disputes were the No. 1 reason customers complained to the CFPB.

Overall, in terms of the percentage of complaints, the following were the top five categories.

  • Billing disputes — 16 percent.
  • APR or interest rate — 10 percent.
  • Identity theft, fraud or embezzlement — 7 percent.
  • Credit reporting — 7 percent.
  • Closing or canceling an account — 7 percent.

How credit card companies respond

In 60 percent of cases, the companies provided an explanation and the CFPB closed the complaint.

Nearly 30 percent of complaints were closed with the company providing some form of monetary relief. For GE Capital Retail, 2 in 5 complaints ended in monetary relief. By comparison, only 1 in 5 American Express complaints ended the same way. The median paid across all companies was $128, according to U.S. PIRG.

Another 10 percent of complainants received some form of non-monetary relief when their complaint was closed. Examples of non-monetary relief include APR adjustments, changes to card terms, or the correction of information sent to credit bureaus.

In 20 percent of the cases, consumers disputed the explanation or resolution offered by their card issuer. The analysis said:

Of the 10 companies with the most overall complaints, the company with the greatest proportion of disputed responses was American Express, with just over a quarter of responses disputed. Of these same companies, GE Capital Retail had the lowest proportion of disputed responses, at 14 percent.

You can submit a complaint to the CFPB here.

Have you filed a complaint about your credit card company?

More on Money Talks News:


Feb 4, 2014 3:03PM
i have credit cards issued by all of these firms and don't have any issues. i use my cards and pay my balances -- it works.
Feb 4, 2014 3:09PM
We have a BOA and a Barclays.  Paid our bill on time, in full each month and in seventeen years have had zero complaints
Feb 4, 2014 2:55PM
Feb 4, 2014 3:21PM
i got capital one a year ago. it was my first credit card and still my only credit card. i pay my balance in full each month. i had one issue where a company double charged my card and it was resolved quickly. never had any other problems. 
Feb 4, 2014 3:19PM
Capital One is the WORST card issuer in existance!  Customer service is non-existant to say the least - and incompetent at best.    Without any issues on my end, they closed my acct because I moved.  They asked me to provide proof of residence, which I did, then they advised they needed additional proof.....through all of this, payments were still being made on time (if there was fraud, would payments be made??)    I appreciate security of an acct, but these people were as dumb as a box of rocks!  NOW they wont close my acct because they are not satisfied with my proof of address and I have a zero balance at this time???????? IF I get ANY fees, I hope the lawsuit I infringe will cure the problem!
Feb 4, 2014 4:58PM
Two years ago, Capital One tried to raise my rate to 17% from 9.9%; not due to a missed or late payment (quite the contrary, they admitted I have excellent credit and rarely carry a balance, anyway) but due to (ready?) "deterioration in general economic conditions."  In other words ... they f**ked up their business and wanted me to pay for it.  I said: "I have two words for you ... and they're not Happy Birthday or Merry Christmas."      
Feb 4, 2014 3:46PM

No credit cards = nothing to complain about!

Feb 4, 2014 4:13PM
There are people out there who love to complain about everything. The majority of people who called these companies most likely also call their cell phone carriers, cable, water, electricity, etc. company to complain about something!
Feb 4, 2014 3:45PM
Not telling us which company has the most cards issued. Card per complain ratio.
Feb 4, 2014 3:32PM
I have a capitol one card for many years and think that the company is great. never had any problem and I think their customer service is excellent. I have never had any problem with any bank or company with credit cards at all. perhaps the people that do are trouble makers .
Feb 4, 2014 3:41PM
I have never had a complaint. I don't have or use credit cards. If I can't afford it, I don't need it. Pay cash for everything and have money saved in case of an emergency. I could care less about keeping up with the Jones's. I do have a debit card that I use for hotel rooms or rentals.
Feb 4, 2014 4:02PM
I travel for work, so I tried Capital One for my first card. They declined me because I have no credit. Guess I dodged a bullet there.
Feb 4, 2014 4:03PM

This may be unrelated, but Bank of America is a POS!


They always are trying to screw their customers.  I'm suprised that people still use that bank.


Best rule of all:  Stick to credit unions!

Feb 4, 2014 4:22PM

Dear America. There is nothing in this world worth paying 29% interest just to own it. Nothing. No matter how much materialistic I may be I will never commit myself to any purchase that will in the long run will cost me greater than 9.9%. Nothing at all. I do not have to have it. I do not buy food, pay restaurants in credit cards, except debit/credit form.

While you pay 29% interest on products that will not even fetch 50% if its value the next day, why would anyone in the right mind get in to borrowing.

Feb 4, 2014 5:14PM
When you look at the sheer volume of credit cards out there, these numbers really aren't that bad.  Keep your account current and you are likely to have little or no problems.  If you have problems with a credit card company, DON'T USE THE CARD!!!
I have two credit cards and neither of them are listed here. I pay my bill in full each month and have no problems at all.
Feb 4, 2014 4:10PM
Never had a problem with any of them...
Feb 5, 2014 10:28AM
I have Capital One, Barclay's, and US Bank.  Capital One is by far the worst.  I pay my bill in full every month and they repeatedly place my account on hold so they can verify my payment and that it's not fraudulent.  Keep in mind my payments are made from the same checking account every month.  How ridiculous and just plain stupid can you be!  Not to mention the fact that thieves typically use the card and don't pay it!
Feb 4, 2014 5:55PM
The Bank of Obamaville credit card - how much is that credit line again?
Feb 4, 2014 3:26PM
That's what killed the housing market. Slugs that didn't pay their bills. Hey.....with the Target etc. breaches - how about CASH? Heres the thing - get pay day check, take out a certain amount of money to spend, rest goes in to pay bills - bizinga - no interest, no identity theft, no fees. Why can't people learn this? Is it that hard?
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