Synchrony Bank Review

High-yield deposit products plus hundreds of retail credit cards

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Synchrony Bank is an online bank that offers competitive deposit products and credit cards for retailers and healthcare providers. It began as a division within General Electric (GE), which was founded in 1932, and launched an IPO in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2015 Synchrony Bank fully separated from GE and became an independent company. Later that year it was added to the S&P 500.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • High-yield deposit products with no monthly fees

  • Minimum required deposits to open account as low as $0

  • Hundreds of credit cards from popular retailers

Cons
  • Limited branch presence

  • Does not have its own ATM network

  • No checking account options

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 2003
  • Official Website www.synchrony.com
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, CDs, MMA, credit cards
  • Customer service Live support and secure messaging responses: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST); Saturday–Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST): 1-866-419-4096. Automated phone service available 24/7.

Pros Explained

  • High-yield deposit products with no monthly fees – Synchrony Bank offers a high-yield savings account, a money market account, and certificates of deposit (CDs) with no monthly fees. This means that the interest you earn won’t be reduced by bank fees. The high-yield savings account earns a 0.65% annual percentage yield (APY), and the money market account earns 0.50% APY. CD rates vary by term and go up to 1.00% APY.
  • Minimum required deposits to open account as low as $0 – You can open a Synchrony Bank savings or money market account with as little as $0. Individual retirement account (IRA) money market accounts require $250 to start, and all CDs must be opened with a minimum of $2,000.
  • Hundreds of credit cards from popular retailers – Synchrony Bank partners with hundreds of retailers and healthcare providers around the U.S. to offer financing. These finance options provide customers the ability to buy products and services today and pay for them over time.

Cons Explained

  • Limited branch presence – If you want to visit a Synchrony Bank branch to speak to someone in person, your options are limited, as it only has four branch locations. Instead, your best option is to call customer service or initiate a chat session during business hours.
  • Does not have its own ATM network – Synchrony Bank partners with Accel to offer 412,000 fee-free ATMs across the U.S. The bank does not charge to use another bank’s ATM, and it refunds up to $5 charged by domestic banks per statement cycle. Members of Perks Rewards with “diamond” status receive unlimited domestic ATM fee refunds.
  • No checking account options – Consumers looking to consolidate all of their accounts with one bank should look elsewhere. Synchrony Bank does not offer checking accounts or other types of lending besides credit cards.

Who Is Synchrony Bank Best For?

Synchrony Bank is best for consumers who:

  • Don’t want to change their primary checking account
  • Want a high-yield deposit account
  • Don’t need access to physical branches
  • Are interested in the benefits of having a retailer credit card
  • Want to finance healthcare expenses over time

What Does Synchrony Bank Offer?

As an online bank, Synchrony Bank offers competitive interest rates on its savings, money market, and CD accounts. The bank also partners with hundreds of retailers to provide co-branded credit cards specific to each retailer. Synchrony Bank has financing for healthcare procedures and purchases available through its CareCredit product. It does not offer checking accounts, mortgages, investments, or other products that you may find at other financial institutions.

Synchrony Bank offers the following banking products:

  • Savings Account
  • Money Market Account
  • CDs
  • Credit Cards

Through its Synchrony Bank Perks Rewards program, customers earn elite status based on their deposit levels or length of the relationship. Customers reach top-level “diamond” status when deposits exceed $250,000 or by banking with Synchrony Bank for five years. Such members enjoy unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements, three free wire transfers per statement cycle, and dedicated customer service.

High-Yield Savings Account

The high-yield savings account offers a competitive rate of interest with no minimum deposit and no monthly maintenance fees. Customers earn an interest rate of 0.65% APY on all balances. They can access this account online, by phone, or via an ATM. Synchrony Bank partners with Accel to offer 412,000 ATMs across all 50 states. The bank does not charge to use another bank’s ATM and reimburses up to $5 per statement cycle for those fees.

SAVINGS ACCOUNT PRODUCTS
ACCOUNT NAME MIN OPENING DEPOSIT MONTHLY FEE APY
High-Yield Savings $0 $0 0.65%
Rates as of September 30, 2020

Money Market Account

Customers can open a money market account with check-writing capabilities. The account has no minimum balance and no monthly maintenance fees. You can access your money through checks, online transfers, and ATMs but are limited to six transactions per month. If you exceed this limit, you won’t be charged extra but may be forced to close your account.

These accounts are also available within a traditional or Roth IRA. However, if you want to open an IRA money market account, there is a minimum opening deposit requirement of $250. You can contribute anytime (up to the annual limit) to your IRA account. Additionally, you may transfer an IRA from another institution or roll over an employer-sponsored retirement plan to Synchrony Bank.

MONEY MARKET ACCOUNTS
ACCOUNT NAME MIN OPENING DEPOSIT MONTHLY FEE APY
Money Market Account $0 $0 0.50%
IRA Money Market Account $250 $0 0.50%
Rates as of August 3, 2020

CDs

Synchrony Bank offers CDs with terms ranging from three months to five years. The minimum deposit to open a CD is $2,000. Interest rates vary depending on the term of the CD you want to open. Higher rates are not available if you deposit larger amounts. You may open a traditional CD or one inside of a traditional or Roth IRA.

When your CD matures, it will automatically renew for the same term at the prevailing interest rate. There is a 10-day grace period when you can add funds, withdraw money, and change terms. You can provide instructions during this grace period, or you can submit written instructions within 30 days prior to the maturity date.

If you need to withdraw funds from a CD before maturity, there is a penalty. The penalty differs depending on the length of the CD. Terms of one year or less face a penalty of 90 days simple interest. CDs ranging from more than one year to less than four years have a penalty of 180 days of simple interest. Terms of four years or more incur a penalty of 365 days of simple interest.

CERTIFICATES OF DEPOSIT (CDs)
TERM APY
Three Months 0.25%
Six Months 0.50%
Nine Months 0.50%
One Year 0.60%
18 Months 0.60%
Two Years 0.70%
Three Years 0.75%
Four Years 0.75%
Five Years 0.90%
Rates as of September 14, 2020

Credit Cards

Synchrony Bank offers dozens of credit card options from retailers around the country. Additionally, it offers healthcare financing through its CareCredit product. You can use this financing for cosmetic, dental, hearing, LASIK and vision, veterinary, and other specialties.

Here are some of the retailers that Synchrony Bank partners with to offer credit cards:

  • Amazon.com
  • Ashley HomeStore
  • Banana Republic
  • Lowe’s
  • Lumber Liquidators
  • Midas
  • Old Navy
  • PayPal
  • Sam’s Club
  • The Container Store
  • T.J. Maxx

Synchrony Bank Customer Service

To contact customer service, you can connect by phone (1-866-419-4096), online chat, or secure message online. Bank customer service is available by phone or chat Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST. Automated phone service is available 24 hours a day. If you have questions about your credit card or CareCredit, you’ll need to select your card type on this page to obtain the right phone number.

How to Bank With Synchrony Bank

Most customers bank with Synchrony Bank by opening a deposit account online or a credit card online or in the store. Synchrony Bank has four branches—one each in Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, and Utah.

Opening a bank account online is simple to do and can be completed in a few minutes. Once opened, you can deposit money into it electronically or by mail, or you can make a mobile deposit through Synchrony Bank’s mobile app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices.

You can use your debit card at ATMs and for debit card transactions. Additionally, you can withdraw money at more than 400,000 Accel Network ATM locations with no fees.

To apply for a credit card, you can browse the options online before applying online or in the store. Some credit cards have promotions offering a welcome bonus when you apply and complete specific activities. You can find these promotions on the Special Offers page.

Verdict


Synchrony Bank is a solid online bank with competitive interest rates on savings, money market, and CD accounts. It is a good option for consumers who are happy with their current checking account but want to earn a higher rate of interest on their savings. It partners with hundreds of retailers and healthcare companies to offer co-branded credit cards. Each credit card can only be used at a specific retailer; they are not all-purpose cards with which you can make all of your regular purchases. The deposit and lending products available from Synchrony Bank are limited. Products offered by Synchrony Bank are competitive while serving a specific purpose. If you are looking for a full-service bank to have all of your accounts under one roof, this is not the bank for you.

Methodology

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  2. Synchrony Bank. "Aim Higher.Save Smarter." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.

  3. Synchrony Bank. "IRA Certificates of Deposit (CDs)." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.

  4. CareCredit. "Existing CareCredit Cardholders." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.

  5. Synchrony Bank. "About Synchrony." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.

  6. Synchrony Bank. "Easy Banking. Steady Savings." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.

  7. Synchrony Bank. "The Synchrony Bank Mobile App." Accessed Sept. 17, 2020.