Synchrony Bank Review (2024): High-yield savings and CDs

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Synchrony Bank is an internet-based bank that primarily offers savings accounts. While its product range is somewhat limited, it stands out because it doesn’t require a minimum balance in your account and provides competitive Annual Percentage Yield (APY) rates.

Even though it doesn’t offer checking accounts, these two advantages make Synchrony a solid option for people who are just starting to save and may not have a lot of money to put into a bank account.

  • No-Minimum-Balance Requirement: Synchrony Bank was known for not requiring a minimum balance in its savings accounts. This feature can be beneficial for individuals who may not have a significant amount of money to deposit but still want to earn interest on their savings.
  • High APY Offerings: Synchrony Bank often offered competitive Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) on its savings accounts. High APYs can help savers maximize their earnings on their deposited funds.
  • No Checking Options: Synchrony Bank primarily focused on savings products and did not offer traditional checking accounts. This means that customers looking for checking account services, such as writing checks or making debit card transactions, would need to look elsewhere.

Synchrony Bank Pros & Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of Synchrony Bank:

Pros:

  1. High Rates on Savings and CDs: Synchrony Bank offers competitive interest rates on both savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs). This means your money can grow faster compared to traditional banks.
  2. No Monthly Fees: One advantage of banking with Synchrony is that they don’t charge monthly maintenance fees. You can keep your account without worrying about deductions.
  3. No Required Minimum Deposit: Synchrony Bank does not impose a minimum deposit requirement, making it accessible for people who may not have a large sum of money to start with.

Cons:

  1. Limited Product Lineup: Synchrony Bank has a somewhat restricted selection of financial products. They primarily focus on savings accounts and CDs, which means you won’t find a variety of services like mortgages, personal loans, or credit cards.
  2. No Checking Accounts: If you’re looking for a checking account to manage your everyday transactions, Synchrony Bank doesn’t offer this service. You’ll need to maintain a checking account elsewhere for these purposes.
  3. No Physical Branches: Synchrony Bank operates exclusively online, which means there are no physical branches to visit. If you prefer in-person banking or need access to services like in-branch assistance or ATM deposits, this may not be the best option for you.

In summary, Synchrony Bank is known for its high interest rates, lack of monthly fees, and absence of minimum deposit requirements, making it a good choice for savers. However, it may not be suitable for those seeking a wide range of banking products, checking accounts, or in-person banking services due to its limited product lineup and lack of physical branches.

Synchrony Bank Overview

Synchrony Bank, formerly known as General Electric Contracts Corporation, has a rich history dating back to 1932. Originally, it was established to assist customers in financing appliances. Over time, the bank expanded its offerings, including the introduction of store-branded credit cards for companies like Lowe’s and Chevron.

In 2015, Synchrony Financial became fully independent, breaking away from its former parent company, General Electric. This transition allowed it to operate as an autonomous financial institution. Notably, Synchrony Financial has achieved inclusion in the S&P 500 index, highlighting its significance in the financial industry.

Key features

Here are some of the best features of Synchrony Bank:

Synchrony Bank savings account

Synchrony Bank offers an Online High Yield Savings Account with no minimum balance requirements or service fees.

This account is classified as high-yield because it offers a 3.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on all account balances, helping your savings grow faster. Furthermore, the bank will cover up to $5 in out-of-network ATM fees per statement cycle for account holders.

Synchrony Bank money market accounts

Synchrony Bank offers a single money market account, which can be seen as an alternative to a regular checking account.

This account is beneficial if you need the flexibility to write checks directly from your savings. It doesn’t require a minimum balance and has no fees associated with it. It offers a competitive annual percentage yield (APY) for all balance levels and also provides ATM access.

Synchrony Bank CD accounts

Synchrony Bank offers Certificate of Deposit (CD) accounts without needing a minimum balance.

They provide CDs with different time periods, ranging from three months to 60 months. When you open a CD, you’re guaranteed the interest rate for the first 15 days. If the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) goes up during this time, your rate will be increased accordingly.

Banking experience

Synchrony Bank offers a notable banking experience primarily because of its high-yield interest rates. However, it’s important to note that Synchrony doesn’t have physical branches. Instead, they provide various digital channels for customers to manage their accounts and interact with the bank.

You can access your account and perform transactions 24/7 through their mobile app or website. This means you can check your balance, make transfers, and handle your banking needs at any time.

If you need assistance or have questions, you can reach out to Synchrony Bank’s customer service through phone or live chat. This means you can get help from a bank representative without visiting a physical branch.

Synchrony Bank is particularly suitable for individuals who want to earn a higher annual percentage rate (interest) on their savings, such as for emergency funds or specific savings goals. However, it’s important to be comfortable with digital banking because all your banking activities will occur online or through their mobile app.

Customer service

Synchrony Bank offers customer service assistance during specific hours: from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST on weekdays (Monday through Friday) and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST on weekends. Customers have three primary ways to reach out for help: by phone, mail, or using the live chat feature on the bank’s website.

Mobile app

The Synchrony Bank mobile app boasts impressive ratings from users. On the App Store, it holds a remarkable 4.8-star rating, indicating strong satisfaction among Apple device users.

Meanwhile, it maintains a solid 4.4-star rating on Google Play, highlighting its popularity and reliability among Android users. These high ratings collectively reflect the app’s excellent functionality and user-friendly experience across different platforms.

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Synchrony Bank vs. competition

Here’s a simple comparison of Synchrony Bank with some of its competitors:

Synchrony Bank vs. Ally Bank:

  • Both banks offer above-average interest rates on CDs and savings accounts.
  • Choose Synchrony if you want a dedicated savings product separate from your regular checking account to discourage transferring funds.
  • Opt for Ally if you prefer an all-in-one banking solution with a wider range of products.

Synchrony Bank vs. Citi:

  • Citi provides a broader selection of CDs, including Step Up and No Penalty CDs.
  • Synchrony Bank, however, offers higher CD Annual Percentage Yields (APYs), making it the better choice in terms of potential returns.

Synchrony Bank vs. Chase Bank:

  • Chase Bank offers a wide variety of CDs with varying term lengths, suitable for short- and long-term goals.
  • Synchrony Bank’s CDs have higher APYs, potentially resulting in greater returns compared to Chase’s highest rate.

In summary, Synchrony Bank stands out for its competitive CD APYs, making it an attractive option for individuals seeking higher returns on their savings. However, the choice between these banks also depends on your specific banking needs and preferences.

Is Synchrony Bank a reputable bank?

Yes, Synchrony Bank is considered a reputable bank. It began in 1932 as part of General Electric Contracts Corporation, initially focused on financing appliances for customers.

In 2015, it became an independent financial institution separate from GE and is currently listed on the S&P 500, indicating its stability and size. Moreover, in 2023, DollarSlate ranked Synchrony Bank among the best online and Neobank savings account providers, further affirming its positive reputation in the banking industry.

Is there a class action lawsuit against Synchrony Bank?

In 2018, Walmart filed an $800 million lawsuit against Synchrony Bank. However, the lawsuit was subsequently dismissed in 2019. This means that the legal dispute between Walmart and Synchrony Bank was resolved, and the lawsuit did not proceed to trial or result in any monetary damages awarded to Walmart.

Is Synchrony Bank owned by Walmart?

No, Synchrony Bank is not owned by Walmart. Synchrony Bank (owned by Synchrony Financial) is a separate financial institution that provides banking and financial services, including credit cards and savings accounts.

While Synchrony Bank does issue some Walmart-branded credit cards, it is not owned by Walmart. Walmart is a retail corporation, and Synchrony Bank is a distinct entity that operates independently in the financial sector.

What kind of bank is Synchrony Bank?

Synchrony Bank is an online-only bank, meaning it operates exclusively through the internet and does not have any physical branch locations for in-person banking services.

Is Synchrony Bank a real bank?

Yes, Synchrony Bank is a real bank. It operates as an online bank and offers competitive interest rates on savings, money market, and CD (certificate of deposit) accounts. It’s a good choice for people who are satisfied with their current checking account but want to earn more interest on their savings.

What company uses Synchrony Bank?

Synchrony Bank is a financial institution that partners with various companies to offer credit cards and financing options to their customers.

Some credit cards that belong to Synchrony Bank include the HSN Store Card, Sam Levitz Furniture Credit Card, Mattress Warehouse Credit Card, La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries Credit Card, Becker Furniture World Credit Card, Morris Home Credit Card, Living Spaces Credit Card, and DOCK86 Credit Card.

These cards are often branded with the names of the partnering companies and can be used for purchases and financing within those specific retailers.

Can I deposit cash for Synchrony Bank?

Yes, you can deposit cash into your Synchrony Bank account through several methods. You can use select ATMs, the mobile app, or mail in your deposit. Synchrony Bank also allows online transfers, ACH deposits, and wire transfers for depositing money into your account.

What is the withdrawal limit for Synchrony Bank?

Synchrony Bank has a daily ATM cash withdrawal limit of $1,000, which means you can take out up to $1,000 in cash from an ATM in one day. There is no restriction on the number of times you can use the ATM card for withdrawals within this limit.

In addition to the ATM cash withdrawal limit, there is also a separate ATM point-of-sale (POS) limit of $500 per day. This limit pertains to using your ATM card to make purchases at merchants or businesses rather than withdrawing cash. So, you can spend up to $500 per day using your ATM card for point-of-sale transactions.

Does Zelle work with Synchrony Bank?

Yes, Zelle works with Synchrony Bank. Synchrony Bank enables its customers to send and receive money using Zelle through the bank’s mobile app.

How long does Synchrony take to process payment?

Synchrony takes one business day to process payments. If you make a payment before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on any day, it will be credited on the same day.

However, payments made after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time will be credited on the following day. It’s important to note that if your payment posts after the due date, you may incur a late payment fee.

What is the minimum balance for Synchrony Bank?

Synchrony Bank’s High Yield Savings account doesn’t have a minimum initial deposit requirement, and there’s also no minimum balance requirement. Furthermore, this account doesn’t charge any monthly fees. However, you may encounter fees in specific situations.

What is the minimum credit for Synchrony Bank?

The credit score requirement for Synchrony Bank credit cards varies depending on the specific card you’re interested in. However, in general, most of their credit cards are intended for individuals with at least a fair credit score, which falls within the range of 640 to 699.

Some cards may require a higher score, such as good (700 to 749) or excellent (750 to 850) credit. Therefore, the minimum credit score needed for a Synchrony Bank credit card depends on the specific card’s eligibility criteria.

What forms of payment does Synchrony Bank accept?

Synchrony Bank accepts several forms of payment:

  1. Electronic Transfers: You can make payments by electronically transferring funds from a linked bank account.
  2. Checks: You have the option to send payments by writing and mailing a check.
  3. Money Orders: Money orders are also accepted as a payment method.
  4. Cash: Synchrony Bank may accept cash payments, depending on how you choose to send your payment.

The specific payment method you can use may vary depending on the payment channel you use to send your money to the bank.

Does Venmo use Synchrony Bank?

Yes, Venmo uses Synchrony Bank for the Venmo Credit Card. This card is issued by Synchrony Bank under a license from Visa USA Inc.

Does Synchrony Bank have an app?

Yes, Synchrony Bank offers a mobile app that allows you to manage your accounts using your smartphone or tablet. You can use this app on both iOS and Android devices.

How many cards can you have with Synchrony?

You can have as many Synchrony credit cards as you qualify for based on your financial situation. There is no specific limit, but your eligibility depends on factors like your income and existing debts. If Synchrony believes you may struggle to repay your debts, they may not approve you for additional credit cards.

The bottom line

Synchrony Bank is a good choice for customers who are comfortable with the idea of having separate savings and checking accounts. This bank doesn’t provide a wide range of account options, but the ones it does offer come with interest rates that are higher than the average rates across the country, and they don’t charge any fees for their services.

If you have a particular event or a significant purchase in mind that you’re saving for, it’s worth considering opening an account with Synchrony Bank. Doing so can help you make steady progress toward your savings goals without worrying about extra costs.

Additionally, consider comparing Synchrony Bank’s offerings with other online banks to ensure they meet your specific financial needs and goals.