To help you add customer service to the decisionmaking equation, we present our second annual rankings of large financial services firms. We’ve evaluated major banks, credit card issuers, mortgage lenders, and home and auto insurers based on how they treat their clients. Last fall, we conducted a nationwide survey of the current customers of 10 firms in each of the four categories, asking respondents to rate the companies on several aspects of their experience. Based on the results, we selected the highest-scoring five or six finalists in each category (the number chosen depended on whether companies tied for placement) and then put each of those firms under the microscope.
We factored in consumer complaints about the companies tracked by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), and we reviewed the mobile apps and websites of the firms to see whether customers are well served by their digital tools. We tallied scores for each component of our research to determine gold, silver and bronze medalists in each category, and we called out the firms with the best digital tools, too. (For more on how we chose the winners, see page 71.)
A key takeaway is that great customer service and attractive financial terms are not mutually exclusive. All but one of the banks that earned our customer service accolades also made appearances in our most recent rankings of the best banks based on account yields and fees (see “The Best Bank for You,” Aug. 2021). And all of the credit card issuers mentioned in this article earned a spot in our latest rankings of credit cards based on how bountiful their rewards programs are (see “The Best Rewards Cards for You,” June 2021).
BEST BANK FOR DIGITAL TOOLS: Capital One
Capital One didn’t break into our top three banks overall in part because of a high number of complaints to the CFPB relative to its size. But we consider its mobile app and website the most user-friendly of the bunch, combining simple navigation, an attractive interface and a handy set of features for bank customers. Account balances are displayed neatly and prominently on the home page, and you can drill down into each account to see a listing of recent transactions and other details. One notable app feature: Rather than tapping a button to complete certain transactions, such as transferring funds or depositing a check, you drag the button across the screen—seemingly a safeguard against sealing a transaction with a stray hand movement before you’re ready to do so.
Silver: Wells Fargo
Bronze: TD Bank
Whether you have a checking account, savings account, certificate of deposit or loan with a bank, you’ll benefit from interacting with representatives who are helpful in managing your accounts and correcting problems that arise. And if you do most of your banking online, access to robust digital tools is a must. Even if you like to visit a branch occasionally, the ability to deposit checks and receive account notifications from your phone can save you time and alert you to unusual activity in your accounts.
The competition was close among our bank contestants, but CHASE edged out the rest. Chase is the largest bank in the U.S., in terms of both domestic assets ($2.5 trillion) and domestic deposits ($2 trillion). The bank has more than 4,700 branches spread across 48 states and Washington, D.C., so chances are good that those who prefer in-person services will be able to find a location.
Chase prevailed thanks in part to its relatively strong showing in our analysis of CFPB complaint data. Of the complaints about Chase, nearly onefourth concerned problems with account deposits and withdrawals, such as slow or halted transfers or delays in deposited funds becoming available to customers. Other top issues involved using an ATM or debit card, closing customer accounts, and unauthorized account charges by lenders or other companies. Even so, in our survey of current customers, Chase was among the top two institutions for nearly every attribute ranked.
Chase’s mobile app and website come packed with features, although we sometimes had difficulty navigating among them. Customers can set e-mail or mobile alerts to be notified of a low account balance, an overdrawn account, a direct deposit or check posted, a changed account password, or an upcoming bill payment. You can also switch off your debit card in case it’s lost or stolen (and switch it back on if you find the card) or order a replacement card. If you need assistance from Chase, you can send a note through the Secure Message Center, schedule a phone or branch meeting with a representative, or view a list of customer-service phone numbers. The app also features a virtual assistant that can answer certain questions or take specified actions, such as paying bills or transferring money.
WELLS FARGO earns the silver medal. Like Chase, it largely owes its standing to a reasonable number of complaints to the CFPB relative to its market share. About half of the complaints concerned problems with deposits and withdrawals or with an ATM or debit card, banking errors, and unauthorized transactions by a lender or other company.
Notoriously, Wells Fargo came under fire in 2016 for opening millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts without customers’ permission. Since then, the bank has paid out billions of dollars in customer refunds and settlements with regulators, and it has made changes within the company, such as removing the high-pressure sales goals that fueled the scandal. And in our survey, current customers generally expressed satisfaction with the bank. Its app and website have clean interfaces and check most of the boxes for the features that bank customers have come to expect, although it offers fewer account-activity notifications than many of its peers.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Find ATTRACTIVE YIELDS in Today's Market
Our field guide to income investments identifies opportunities that range from ordinary to downright exotic.
Profit From Healthy Profit Margins
These companies find ways to flourish even in tough times
Fight Back Against High Inflation
Whether you’re 28 or 68, you’re staring down a surge in con-sumer prices. But for many millennials, the precipitous rise in inflation—which reached an overall rate of 8.5% in March—has been especially steep.
Create a Financial Plan for a NATURAL DISASTER
You’ll recover more quickly if your important documents are secure.
Caregivers Share Their Stories
My column on caregiving (see “Living in Retirement,” Feb.) generated a number of responses from readers who offered their own perspectives. “People not in this situation don’t have a clue, and that includes ‘experts,’ ” writes Ken Jarosch, sole caregiver for his wife, Kathy, who suffers from muscular dystrophy. “I went to several caregiving classes, where we were served a nice dinner and a sunshine talk. But the real help came from the people in attendance, who actually live this.”
Buy Bonds Now? That Depends
I insist it is folly to quit sound invest-ments because of a bad quarter, but the bond market swoon of early 2022 tests my resolve. When superb stuff such as tax-exempt toll-road bonds, taxable infrastructure municipals and BBB corporates suffer losses of 6% to 10%, that is true shock and awe. The last time returns took a big wallop was the summer “taper tantrum” of 2013, when, despite the absence of inflation, traders overreacted to Federal Reserve plans to cut back bond purchases. That episode is remembered now as an epic buying opportunity— thus, it is tempting to interpret the current downturn in the same vein.
ABLE Accounts Offer Financial Independence
People with disabilities, and their families, can save for a variety of expenses in these tax-advantaged accounts.
Answers to Your SOCIAL SECURITY QUESTIONS
Figuring out how to get the most out of your benefits is not as simple as it looks.
THE MONEY TALK NEW COUPLES NEED
Whether or not you merge your finances, you need to be on the same page. Natalie and Dan Slagle are founders of Fyooz Financial Planning, a financial planning firm that specializes in advising couples.
An Urgent Need for Cybersecurity
In June 2017, Russian hackers launched a malware attack on Ukraine called NotPetya. The attack, which locked users out of their own files unless they paid a ransom in bitcoin, was just one more tactic in the conflict between the two nations that had begun three years earlier. But viruses don’t respect borders, and this one spread far beyond Ukraine.
Life in the Fast Lane: Peek Inside the RVs of NASCAR's Finest
NASCAR DRIVERS FACE A GRUELING SCHEDULE, SPENDING more time at the track than they do at home; the 2022 NASCAR schedule will cover 39 weekends this year, with up to 19 consecutive weeks of racing.
Quick Take with Josh Swickard (Chase, GH)
Josh Swickard talks about his fans.
La otra revolución del litio
La carrera por la conquista del litio ya comenzó en México, pero aún no se extrae un solo gramo. Sin embargo, hay alianzas estratégicas entre el gobierno de México y Bolivia, así como con empresarios.
GH’s Josh Swickard Weighs In On Chase’s New Direction.
GH: CHASE CLOSES IN ON THE TRUTH ABOUT WILLOW
Wiley’s birthday party proves to be action-packed in unexpected ways — and could end in major fireworks for the tortured triangle of Willow, Michael and Chase.
Fantasy – Bet The Farm
A team of breakout prospects poised to build value in dynasty leagues
DONRUSS OPTIC FOOTBALL SCHEDULED FOR WEEK OF CHRISTMAS
Defensive line makes a stand
Chase Young is a leader already. Of the defensive line, the defense at large and the entire Washington Football Team.
Class of 2020 looking sharp
Certainly 2020 will be remembered as one of the worse of our lives thanks to the pandemic. Future mentions will bring crinkled faces and anguished looks.
CATCHING UP WITH DANCE GAVIN DANCE’S WILL SWAN: “I DON’T WANT TO SOUND LIKE LIAM NEESON HERE, BUT I REALLY DO HAVE A SPECIFIC SET OF SKILLS!”