The credit card industry is competitive. As a result, the leading cards for borrowers with good credit are pretty similar. If you go with one of our recommended credit cards, you can expect a decent APR, rewards with every dollar spent and—in most cases—no annual fee. But what else distinguishes these cards?
For one, their customer Websites.
As we do more and more of our banking online, a financial company’s online interface is becoming more and more important to customer satisfaction. So today I want to look at customer Websites of six major credit card banks: American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Citibank, Chase, and Discover.
THE COMMON GROUND
Not surprisingly, all of the major credit card websites give you the same basic sets of functionality. They all allow you to:
- View your current balance, available credit, and statements online.
- Make online payments.
- Setup email alerts.
Where the websites begin to diverge is in their design, ease-of-use, and additional features. The following ranking is subjective and based upon my personal experiences using five of the six online interfaces at least once in the last year.
Winner: Discover Card Online
Discover Card’s customer website is, in my opinion, far and above the best. It’s beautifully designed, surprisingly intuitive, and chock-full of features that the other banks don’t offer yet, like spend analyzers and pay-down calculators. (Kudos to Discover for providing members with tools to pay down balances faster).
What I Like: The best thing about the Discover Website is that you can immediately find what you need (not so with some other sites). It just takes one click to go from your account summary to a current statement, the online payment screen, or your rewards balance. It’s also easy to access additional features like balance transfers and online customer service.
- Recommended Card: Discover it® — Double Cash Back your first year »
Runner Up: American Express
American Express’ customer Website features powerful tools that make it easy to manage all of your Amex credit cards in one place. The site could, however, be easier to navigate.
What I Like: It’s easy to sort your transactions by category or merchant and get a year-end statement of charges (helpful for budgeting and tax records). You can even add custom tags to your transactions. Amex’s iPhone app makes it easy to check your balance or make a payment on the go, and they also offer Money Manager, a utility similar to Mint.com that lets you see all of your financial accounts on one Website.
What I Don’t Like: The Summary of Accounts page is too cluttered. Ads for additional services and lengthy drop-down menus make it hard to find the most commonly-used features.
- Recommended Card: Blue Cash EverdaySM Card from American Express »
Third Place (Tie): Citi Credit Cards Account Online
The Citi Credit Cards Website, Account Online, features a good design and powerful features, but some minor annoyances kept it out of the top two spots.
What I Like: Citi’s account summary puts pertinent information like your current balance, available credit and—most importantly—your due date, front and center. You can also conduct transactions like seeing balance transfer offers and requesting a credit limit increase online within the need to call customer service.
What I Don’t Like: It can take several clicks to access your most recent statement, which you must view as a .pdf. Citi often sends the same account alert emails twice and these emails don’t feature pertinent information about your account; they just remind you to log into your account. (You may, however, appreciate that if you don’t want your credit card balance popping up in your e-mail).
Third Place (Tie): Chase Credit Cards, Chase Online
Chase Credit Cards come with a new online interface that puts the information you need right in front of you. The site won’t win any design awards, nonetheless it’s extremely usable.
What I Like: There are links for commonly-accessed features on the right-hand side and the online interface isn’t cluttered with ads for balance transfers or credit protection. Select members also have access to Chase Blueprint, an innovative program that allows members to set their own monthly payment above the minimum to pay off balances faster.
What I Don’t Like: The Chase landing page (not shown) is designed for customers with multiple kinds of accounts, requiring an extra click to get to credit card details.
- Recommended Card: Chase Freedom® Visa »
Fourth Place: Capital One
Capital One’s customer Website does everything it’s supposed to do, but seems outdated.
What I Like: Making a payment is straightforward and setting up text or email account alerts is easy. Multiple accounts are conveniently displayed in one place (you don’t need to scroll to see them all).
What I Don’t Like: Statements are only available as .pdfs; ads for additional products often clutter the page.
- Recommended Card: Capital One® VentureOne(SM) Rewards Card »
Fifth Place: Bank of America
I know a lot of people who love Bank of America’s online banking, so I’m surprised to be so underwhelmed by BofA’s credit card site. But I am.
What I Like: Although I’ve never used Bank or America for multiple accounts, the ability to manage checking accounts and credit cards, and other accounts in the same place is convenient
What I Don’t Like: Outdated design. It takes too many clicks to login and view account details. If you’re just here to manage your credit card account, you’ll get confused by extraneous navigation.
The Bottom Line
There are myriad factors to consider when shopping for a new credit card, but if you spend a lot of time managing your account online, don’t overlook the importance of a user-friendly and capable online interface. Although all of these major credit card banks provide the tools you need to manage your credit card online, some are more pleasurable to use than others.
What about you? Have you enjoyed in features of your credit card’s customer Website, or had a bad experience using a credit card Website? Let us know in a comment.
Disclaimer: One way I’m able to support my blogging while helping you is to link to products I like and earn a referral commission if you sign up. I only link to products I trust. That said, you should know that if you click the links to these cards and ultimately apply for and are approved for that card, I may be paid for that. If you choose to support Money Under 30 in that way, thanks!