NAD Reviews Discover Comparison Chart Following Challenge by Capital One; Finds One Claim Substantiated, Recommends One Claim be Modified, Discontinued

New York, NY – April 11, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Discover Financial Services modify or discontinue one claim featured in a comparison chart aimed at highlighting key differences in credit-card reward programs, but determined that the advertiser could support another claim. Discover also voluntarily and permanently discontinued certain claims. The claims at issue were challenged by Capital One Bank (USA), N.A.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The chart in question featured the following express claims:

  • “1% of cash back or more on all other purchases.” [All cards have a check mark.]
  • “Redeem your rewards for cash in any amount, any time.” [Capital One has an “x”]
  • “Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch on either mobile app or website to prevent new purchases.” [Capital One has an “x”]
  • “Track recent FICO Credit Scores for free on monthly statements and online” [Capital One has an “x”]

During the course of NAD’s review, the advertiser said it had elected to permanently discontinue these express and implied claims:

  • 1% of cash back or more on all other purchases.” [All cards have a check mark.]
  • “Freeze your account in seconds with an on/off switch on either mobile app or website to prevent new purchases.” [Capital One has an “x”]
  • Capital One’s cash back rate is 1%
  • Quicksilver Cardholders cannot freeze their accounts on either a mobile app or on a website.

In reliance on the advertiser’s representation that these claims have been permanently discontinued, NAD did not review these claims on their merits. The voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

Turning to the remaining claims, NAD determined that the express claim “Redeem your rewards for cash in any amount, any time” and the implied claim that Quicksilver Cardholders cannot redeem their cash back rewards in any amount at any time were truthful and accurate.

NAD recommended that the advertiser either discontinue the claim “Track recent FICO Credit Scores for free on monthly statements and online” [Capital One has an “x”] and the implied claim that Quicksilver Cardholders cannot track their credit scores, or modify the claim to refer to credit scores generally and provide Capital One a checkmark or, in the alternative, more clearly and conspicuously disclose that FICO is one type of credit score and avoid conveying the unsupported message that competing cash back rewards cards (such as Quicksilver) do not provide free credit scores.

Discover, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “respects the self-regulatory process” and while it “respectfully disagrees with NAD’s determination that ‘Track recent FICO Credit Scores for free on monthly statements and online’ conveys the message that the challenger’s customers will not receive a credit score at all…[it] intends to modify its statement regarding FICO scores taking into account NAD’s recommendations.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.