Last week J.D. Power and Associates, a global marketing services company that calculates quality and satisfaction measurements, released its annual U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The results revealed that for the second year in a row, customers are more satisfied with the credit cards they use.

The five-year old study measures customer satisfaction with credit cards through six factors: interaction, credit card terms, billing and payment process, rewards, benefits and services and problem resolution. It calculates ratings on a 1,000-point scale.

This year's study polled over 8.700 credit card users in May and June. The results show that consumer's average overall satisfaction with their credit cards increased to 731 on the 1,000-point scale, which is up from last year's score of 714 and 2009's all-time low of 705.

This renewed satisfaction in credit cards may very well be due to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which instituted measures of credit card reform to protect consumers. The act has transformed the industry in three ways. It prevents credit card issuers from making retroactive interest rate increases on existing balances and restricts them from instituting retroactive rate increases if a consumer makes a late payment. It bans fee traps such as not giving consumers enough time to pay a bill or constantly changing the day and time a bill is due. Credit card companies are also required to be more clear and direct with the language used in disclosures around account terms and activity on statements.

The law seems to have been a big hit with consumers, as J.D. Powers found that fewer instances of interest rate increases, as well as a decrease in the impact of interest rate increases. Customers also are more adept at understanding their terms of credit. That measure increased three percentage points to 35 percent.

"It appears that credit card companies are doing a better job of communicating with customers, which may be an effect of the CARD Act," says Michael Beird, director of banking services at J.D. Power and Associates, in a press release.

The higher levels of satisfaction also spread across both types of credit card customers, transactors--those who tend to pay their balance in full each month--and revolvers--those who carry balances.

Not only do consumers feel happier about their credit cards, they also like their credit card brands more. Across all categories, brand reputation increased from 2010.

For the fifth year in a row American Express topped the customer satisfaction rankings, with an overall score of 786, placing highest in all seven categories.

“Exceeding the needs of our customers is a top priority, and over the last year, we’ve worked hard to enhance our products and services to ensure they remain relevant and valuable to our tens of millions of US customers. We’re pleased to see through the findings of the J.D. Power study that our customers feel we’ve succeeded,” says Jim Bush, executive vice president, World Service, American Express, in a press release.

In the last year, American Express added enhancements to its card offerings and rewards programs to give its cardholders more benefits, such as the ability to redeem rewards points directly at online merchants and receiving location-based and customized offers. The company has also improved its online features to give customers more financial tools and account information.

American Express also promotes its Relationship Care service that is part of the company's strategy to foster better relationships with its customers. Relationship Care implementations help Amex's customer services representatives find product information more easily, allow reps to co-browse with customers to handle online statement problems; and enhanced mobile apps.

Discover Card came in a close second to American Express, with an overall score of 779. It also received high marks in overall satisfaction, though it didn't quite fare as well as Amex in terms of rewards, benefits and problem resolution. Barclaycard rounded out the top three, with a score of 739, which placed it in J.D. Powers' "Better than most" category.