Only one traditional financial services player has made it into the UK's top four rated credit card brands, with retailers dominating a list from Auriemma Consulting Group (ACG).
Tesco tops the firm's Issuer Brand Index (IBI), scoring 60.58 points out of 100, driven by particularly high rankings in perceived quality of product and customer service.
Retailers ranked higher on average than traditional banks within the IBI, due to the strong value of their co-brand card propositions. Marks & Spencer is third in the rankings, with a score of 58.78, closely followed by Sainsbury's in fourth with 56.38.
Barclaycard has the strongest brand among traditional financial services providers, second overall with a score of 59.4. American Express is fifth, the Co-operative Bank sixth and Nationwide seventh. Specialist credit card firm SAV comes bottom of the 23-strong list, with a score of 42.38.
Matt Simester, MD, ACG, says: "The lack of innovation in servicing and reward programmes over the last three years is now showing. Investing in the improvement of servicing strategies and rewards programmes rather than simple cost cutting would appear to be the prime area to attract and obtain customers. Consumer perception remains critical to success."