Internet-based financial services companies offer faster and easier-to-use credit card application forms than the Web sites of traditional banks, according to WebCriteria Inc., a Portland, Ore., consulting firm that created a gauge to measure response times and the quality of customers’ experience.

WebCriteria sampled 10 sites using an automated browsing tool it developed. NextCard Inc. of San Francisco won the beauty contest: It took less than three minutes for the automated browser to find the credit card application link, fill out the form, and submit it.

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