America’s favorite credit cards: American Express and Discover

American Express and Discover tied for the top spot in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, released Thursday. The survey, now in its eighth year, found that overall satisfaction with credit cards is at a record high, with a score of 778 out of 1,000. American Express and Discover both scored 819. Chase, at 789, was third.

American Express and Discover use two dramatically different business models to make their customers happy.

While American Express offers 21 cards, Discover has only one. “This is really a tale of two very different credit card companies that both excel at customer interactions,” said Jim Miller, senior director of banking services at J.D. Power, in a statement.

Rewards programs remain very popular with customers, and credit card companies continue to use them to stand out in a highly competitive marketplace, but just layering on rewards is not the key to satisfaction. Rather, it’s “understanding your customers, knowing what motivates them, and aligning rewards and benefits to their needs,” Miller said.

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