Synchrony Bank Review
Is Synchrony Bank a good bank?
Synchrony Bank is the online banking division of Synchrony Financial. Headquartered in Draper, Utah, Synchrony Bank was established in 1988, though Synchrony Financial's history dates back to 1932 when it was established as General Electric Contracts Corp. Back then, its primary purpose was helping customers finance new appliances.
Competitive savings account interest rates
Cash and check deposits and withdrawals at ATMs nationwide
No monthly fees or excessive transaction charges
No checking account for everyday spending
CDs require a minimum deposit of $2,000 to open
Low rates on short-term CDs compared to high-yield savings
Who Is Synchrony Bank Best For?
Synchrony Bank's offerings are less extensive than some other banks and focus primarily on savings, but most standard options are available. The absence of a traditional checking account is most notable, but customers can open a money market account. Consider Synchrony if you want:
- No monthly charges and few additional fees
- Access to ATMs in the Plus and ACCEL networks
- A mobile app with mobile check deposit
- Up to 10 external bank account links
- Competitive rates on certificates of deposit and savings accounts
What Does Synchrony Bank Offer?
Synchrony Bank provides several ways to earn interest on deposits:
- High-yield savings account
- Money market account
- Individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
Synchrony's high-yield savings account pays a competitive rate on your deposits—1.05% annual percentage yield regardless of balance, as of June 04, 2020. As a bonus, you receive an ATM card for cash withdrawals. Electronic and telephone transfers and withdrawals are limited to six per statement cycle, but such transactions at ATMs are unlimited.
Other advantages include:
- No monthly fees
- No minimum deposit or ongoing balance required
- Ability to deposit cash or checks at ATMs
- Mobile check deposits
Money Market Account
The money market account at Synchrony also pays interest on your deposits, but the rate is lower than the savings account rate. The main tradeoff is that you can write checks on your money market account like you would with a checking account. However, checks, electronic transfers or withdrawals, and telephone transfers or withdrawals are limited to six per statement cycle. Such transactions at ATMs are unlimited.
Other advantages include:
- Earning 0.75% APY regardless of the account balance
- No monthly fees
- No minimum initial deposit required
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
Synchrony offers a range of CDs with competitive rates. Terms range from three months to five years and all require a minimum $2,000 deposit to start.
Synchrony’s CDs may incur an early-withdrawal penalty if you remove your money before the CD fully matures. The penalty depends on the original term of your CD:
- 12 months or less: 90 days of interest
- More than 12 months but less than 48 months: 180 days of interest
- 48 months or more: 365 days of interest
As of June 17, 2020, the 48-month penalty is relatively steep, and the APY for any term less than 12 months is less than the APY for a high-yield savings account. Therefore, it’s critical to understand your needs before choosing your CD term at Synchrony. You also can use CD ladders to potentially make money available more often.
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
Synchrony offers retirement account versions of their CDs and money market account. The IRA money market, with a minimum $250 initial deposit, may be appropriate for risk-averse savers who want to make monthly contributions. The IRA CDs have the same terms as Synchrony’s other CDs with the exception of the 13-, 14-, and 15-month options. They also require a $2,000 minimum initial deposit.
Standard IRA withdrawal penalties apply to both types of accounts. For example, withdrawals before turning 59½ could result in tax penalties.
Other retirement accounts are not available.
Synchrony Bank Customer Service
Customer service representatives are available from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m.—5 p.m. EST on weekends. You can speak to a representative by phone at 1-866-226-5638. The option to chat with a customer service representative online also is available.
How to Bank With Synchrony Bank
To open an account with Synchrony Bank, visit SynchronyBank.com or call 1-866-226-5638. As with most financial institutions in the U.S., you’ll need to provide personal information to open a bank account.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a high-yield savings account and competitive rates on CDs, Synchrony may be a suitable option. It may not make good sense to put money in a short-term CD someplace else when Synchrony offers comparable—or even superior—rates on its high-yield savings account, which has no minimum balance and no withdrawal penalties.
The lack of a checking account means Synchrony Bank is not a good option for those who need to write a lot of checks or need an account for everyday expenses or bill paying. Synchrony does offer the ability to connect to outside accounts, but customers have to determine if Synchrony's rates are worth an account with an additional institution if they already are doing their regular banking someplace else.
Synchrony. "Synchrony Timeline." Accessed May 15, 2020.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. "Synchrony Bank." Accessed May 15, 2020.
Synchrony Bank. "High-Yield Savings." Accessed May 15, 2020.
Synchrony Bank. "FAQ/Savings Accounts." Accessed May 15, 2020.
Synchrony Bank. "Money Market Accounts." Accessed May 15, 2020.
Synchrony Bank. "Easy Banking. Steady Savings." Accessed May 15, 2020.
Synchrony Bank. "Contact Us." Accessed May 15, 2020.