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I Need to Ask My Credit Card Issuer a Question — What’s the Best Way to Get in Touch?

Sept. 9, 2014
Credit Cards
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With all the perks and rules surrounding credit cards, if you need to ask your credit card issuer a question, what’s the best way to get in touch?  After all, one look at the tiny print in the Guide to Benefits, or the Terms and Conditions, and you’ll almost certainly need to ask your credit card issuer a question about something.

Here are the best ways to get in touch.

Business or consumer?

A lot depends on the specific question that you have, and whether you have a regular credit card or a business card. The business card division of most issuers is usually entirely separate from the regular consumer divisions.

If you need to get in touch with one, but call the other, you’ll be wasting your time because they’ll just shuttle you over to that division.

Phone is best

Generally speaking, the customer service number is the most direct route. It’s a catchall for every inquiry, and from there, you can be transferred to a specific department. In fact, most issuers have a menu of recorded options when you call in to help you get to where you need to be.

The issuer’s website may even feature a list of individual phone numbers to contact for specific issues, and you’ll almost always find a dedicated phone number if your card is lost or stolen.

Supervisors and notations

The advantage of calling is that you get to speak to a real person, and if you aren’t getting satisfaction, you can go over that person’s head to a supervisor who often has the authority to do what the regular rep could not do.

In cases where a specific notation needs to be made to the account, you can make certain the notes are made by asking the rep to read back to you what they’ve just written. Now, there’s no question that you called and discussed a specific issue.

Online chat

Online chat can be effective, but often only for broad inquiries and general issues. These reps tend to be of the “cut-and-paste” variety, handling repetitive inquiries that they can just paste standard answers to.

They aren’t really great at specific problem solving, and you may find yourself frustrated at having to explain details over and over again.

Email

Email has the same disadvantages, plus it’s even slower. Inquiries may take 24 to 72 hours to get a response, so email is often best used to tackle a broad issue with your account or the bank.

Both email and chat have the advantage leaving a (virtual) paper trail that proves you raised an issue, but if you make certain that a phone rep is taking the requested notes, that’s just as good.

Last resort

If you find yourself being stonewalled or frustrated at every turn, look up the contact information for the vice president of corporate communications. These folks have one duty: protecting the company image. If you have a mess you cannot solve, call this person up. Have a friendly chat to explain your issue, and note that you are about to report it to the big consumer activist websites.

You may find you get satisfaction very quickly. Nobody wants to get a call from “Stan the Consumer Watchdog.”


Phone call image via Shutterstock.