Who’s the best credit card issuer in America?

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Are you truly happy with your credit card company? If you’re a customer of one issuer in particular, survey says you probably are!

Read more: New security warning about chip credit cards

AmEx is back on top of this tally

American Express looks like it’s finally coming out of the funk that enveloped it for much of last year.

You may remember that AmEx took a hit when it lost a major account with Fidelity Investments back in February 2016.

But that was just the beginning of the pain. By June 2016, Costco made it official in severing ties with the company for its credit card business and moved its portfolio to Citi.

So 2016 wasn’t pretty, but American Express kept soldiering on. Efforts to sweeten the rewards for Platinum cardholders helped turn the tide.

Now in 2017, the company is back atop J.D. Power’s 2017 Credit Card Satisfaction Study.

American Express reclaims the top spot from Discover, which held pole position for the last two years.

Keep these rules in mind when using credit cards

The key to making credit cards work in your life is to understand how to use them responsibly. Here are a few pointers:

  1. Pay your balance in full at the end of every month. This is the #1 rule for credit card usage — period. If you’re not in the habit of doing this, steer clear of credit cards from major issuers and big banks. You’d probably be better off with a credit card through a credit union. They tend to have lower interest rates on their cards than the big guys.
  2. Don’t apply for too much credit in too short of a time period. It will signal to lenders that you’re in financial trouble and really put the hurt on your credit score.
  3. Never use too much available credit at once. If you want to have a good credit score, you’ve got to use less than 30% of your available credit. For a stellar score, aim to use only less than 10% of your available credit.
  4. Avoid store credit cards. These kinds of cards don’t help in your credit mix when you’re being scored by FICO and the main credit bureaus. In fact, too many of these cards in your credit portfolio will actively hurt your score!

Read more: Free Credit Score Guide: Understanding your score and what you can do to improve it

Why debit cards are inferior to credit cards

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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