Synchrony Bank Review: Is It Worth Opening an Account?

Table of Contents
  1. About Synchrony Financial
  2. Synchrony Bank Deposit Products
  3. Synchrony Bank Credit Card
  4. Synchrony Bank Fees & Penalties
  5. Loyalty Perks
  6. Pros and Cons
  7. Conclusion

If you've never heard of Synchrony Bank, but seen it advertised everywhere online, you wouldn't be alone.

In fact, if you looked prior to 2014, you wouldn't have seen Synchrony Bank anywhere. Then, in what appears to be an instant, it was everywhere.

That's because Synchrony Bank was founded in 2003 but operated as a subsidiary of GE Capital. It's now a retail bank but they don't discuss their history much. It would IPO in 2014 on the NYSE with the ticker SYF to the tune of $2.88 billion. It didn't appear out of nowhere unless you consider an IPO “out of nowhere.”

(does this story sound familiar? Ally Bank was once General Motors Acceptance Corporation, GM's financial services arm, and these stories rhyme)

So who is Synchrony Bank?

About Synchrony Financial

They're a financial services company based out of Stamford, CT and they offer everything you'd expect from a bank – deposit, credit, financing, and lending. In layman's terms, that's checking and savings accounts, credit cards, mortgage, car loans, and the like. They also provide private label credit cards (they're one of the biggest), so they are the backbone behind some popular retailer credit cards like Amazon, Lowes, Walmart, and Gap.

Synchrony Financial is the parent company, Synchrony Bank is the institution that provides those products. They're FDIC insured #27314 and they're headquartered in Utah.

Synchrony Financial (SYF) had revenues of $13.530 billion in 2016 and is a component of the S&P500 index.

Synchrony Bank has just one physical branch in Bridgewater, New Jersey – 200 Crossing Blvd, Suite 101, Bridgewater, NJ 08807. Branch is open Monday – Friday from 8am to 3pm EST.

You can contact Synchrony Bank customer service by calling 1-866-226-5638 (Monday – Friday 8am-10pm EST, Saturday 8am-5pm EST, Closed Sunday). The Synchrony Bank login is here.

Synchrony Bank's routing number is 021213591.

Synchrony Bank Deposit Products

Synchrony Bank Products
Rates in image as of 10/13/17

Synchrony Bank offers the full menu of deposit products – money market (similar to checking), savings, high yield savings, certificates of deposit, and even IRA accounts.

All rates cited are as of :

  • High-Yield Savings: No monthly service fees, 0.60% APY, no minimum balance.
  • Certificates of Deposit: Maturity periods of 3-months to 60-months, $2,000 minimum deposit and the 12-month CD yields 0.60% APY
  • Money Markets: No monthly service fee, mobile check deposit, no minimum balance, up to 0.50% APY
  • IRA: You can open a regular IRA account or an IRA CD account.

Synchrony Bank Credit Card

Synchrony Bank's credit card, called the Synchrony HOME Credit Card, is a no annual fee credit card that is a card for home purchases that offers promotional financing of 12 months to 60 months at participating retailers. They are mostly home furnishing or home improvement stores. It also offers 2% cash back on purchases under $299, paid as a statement credit.

Synchrony Bank also issues several white-label credit cards, meaning they're run by Synchrony Bank but they are branded with others names. One popular Synchrony Bank powered credit card is Amazon.com's Amazon Prime Store Card – which gives you a $10 Amazon.com gift card upon approval plus 5% cashback at Amazon.com with no caps. No annual fee, special financing on orders $149 or more, and all the typical protections of credit cards, like $0 liability.

They also power other retail cards like American Eagle Outfitters, Athleta, Chevron, Old Navy, PayPal & eBay, Sam's Club, Toys “R” Us, Walmart and more. If you have one of those cards, you may have seen SYNCB appear on your credit report. I had SYNCB/PPC and was surprised to see it because I didn't know it stood for Synchrony Bank / PayPal Credit! It's normal though, just looks weird.

Synchrony Bank Fees & Penalties

Like many online banks, there are no minimum balances for their savings or money market accounts. There is also no monthly service fees.

What is rare is that they will not charge you a fee if you exceed six withdrawals/transfers in a statement cycle. Many banks will charge this because you aren't supposed to (according to the Federal Reserve) treat a savings account like a checking account, but Synchrony won't. They do, like other banks, reserve the right to close your account if it happens too much.

With their CDs, there is an early termination fee if you make a withdrawal from your Cd before the maturity date:

  • Term 12 months or less: 90 days of simple interest at the current rate
  • Terms of more than 12 months but less than 48 months: 180 days of simple interest at the current rate
  • Terms of 48 months or more: 365 days of simple interest at the current rate

These interest penalties are fairly standard – it's the exact same as what Bank of America and any major bank would charge.

The gold standard of CD rate penalties is Ally Bank:

  • Term 24 months or less: 60 days of simple interest at the current rate
  • Terms of more than 24 months but less than 36 months: 90 days of simple interest at the current rate
  • Terms of more than 36 months but less than 48 months: 120 days of simple interest at the current rate
  • Terms of 48 months or more: 150 days of simple interest at the current rate

It's almost unfair to compare the penalties with Ally Bank because they are far and away the lowest for early withdrawal.

Loyalty Perks

Synchrony Bank also offers “Loyalty Perks” that reward you for saving.

Whereas most institutions, like credit cards, will reward you for spending – Synchrony rewards you for saving.

The Perks Tiers are based on your balance and time with Synchrony:

  • Basic: Balance under $10,000 AND less than 1 year
  • Silver: Balance of $10,000 – $49,999.99 AND 1+ years
  • Gold: Balance of $50,000 – $99,999.99 AND 2+ years
  • Platinum: Balance of $100,000 – $249,999.99 OR 3+ years
  • Diamond: Balance of $250,000+ OR 5+ years

Here's a quick explainer video about their Perks:

Pros and Cons

The main pros are similar with other online banks – you get low/no fees, a wide ATM network due to partnerships, debit cards, much higher interest rates, and the smartphone apps are more powerful. They offer free checks for the money market account and there is $5 in ATM reimbursements. The Loyalty Perks are a nice add-on we don't see elsewhere

The cons are similar too – there no branches you can visit and everything happens via the app (or perhaps mail) or online. You have to be comfortable with working with a bank entirely online if you want to go with Synchrony Bank. I personally have no issue but if you're not comfortable, Synchrony Bank would not be a good option for you.

Conclusion

Synchrony Bank checks all the boxes and adds a little flair with their Perks feature.

I don't ever suggest rate chasing, switching banks for the best rates, but if you're #1 bank is an old brick and mortar bank with abysmal interest rates… it's worth a look at this high-yield savings account.

Visit Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank

8

Overall

8.0/10

Strengths

  • Competitive interest rates
  • No minimum balance
  • No ATM fees in-network, $5 monthly rebate out-of-network

Weaknesses

  • Online bank only, no branches

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Jim Wang

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

Reader Interactions

Comments

About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Thomas says

    Synchrony Bank #synchronybank takes forever to post payments to your card. I use it linked to my PayPal card. Employee Kierra6645 spoke with CS then employee above today and told me it was normal c.c. processing time frame. No it isn’t.

  2. Thomas says

    Have long time PayPal account with PayPal CC through Synchrony. There is an extensive delay when you transfer funds available to synchrony PayPal inside the PayPal account. Hope you have plenty of time to wait for posting. Apparently it is normal Kierra6645

  3. Ed G. says

    I was a customer for 10 days with a PayPal credit account while trying to make a payment on my account they would not take a payment with a credit card or savings. I have always made payments to my creditors using credit cards or my savings account. I have Learned just now that Synchrony banks do not honor these types of payments. I would advise those that are in charge that they need to post this on their websites. This in my opinion is a poor way of doing business although they offer savings account and issue credit cards to their customers. I plan on closing my account and not doing business with this bank.

  4. Valerie Lewis says

    I have read through a lot of your reviews and l need help with a question, l was just offered a CareCredit card which is a healthcare credit card for my dental needs. I would truly appreciate some feedback on this matter. and yes I do have health insurance, but they won’t cover the total cost. Has anyone else dealt with Synchrony Bank with this issue? I need to know before I accept their offer.

    • Jim Wang says

      Hi Valerie – CareCredit is similar to a credit card but they offer short term financing (a loan) of 6 months all the way to 24 months. There’s no interest if the purchase is for $200+ and when you make the minimum monthly payments. It’s essentially a line of credit for healthcare costs.

      The thing to watch for is the rate when the promotion period ends. This is similar to how electronics stores give you “No financing for 24 months!” when you buy a TV. Watch the interest rate when the offer expires and if you can pay it off before the period, awesome, otherwise you’ll owe some (or a lot) interest.

  5. Seymore Clearly says

    I see not much has changed with Synchrony, whether it’s banking or credit-related. Their business practices were & still are abusive -if these comments are any indication. Looks like it’s running 50/50 whether a customer is having a good experience or not.

    One of these years Synchrony upper management will get a clue: do right by your customers & your business will reap the rewards. Instead of adhering to that one most basic principle, their upper management continue abusing their customers. What gives?

    And it is true that Synchrony moved some of their customer service operations to India. Bad move. Perhaps they were trying to achieve better 24/7 coverage, but as I stated to them 2 decades ago: Their bad business practices create more calls, and multiple ones because rarely will customers’ issues be effectively resolved with just one call. You can thank Six Sigma for this.

    I should know -i worked for them. As of this date, Synchrony has lost Walmart, and may have lost more strategic retail partners because of their abusive business practices.

    Synchrony, when will you learn the most basic business principle: treat your customers as you would wish to be treated? Because I guarantee your customers have or will figure out that this fish stinks from the head down -not the tail up.

  6. John clevenger says

    I had a credit card with them that was interest free for six months. I charged $1,600 and paid it off in 4 months. I also made the payments 10 days early each month. Instead of internet, they sat on the payment each month until they could add a late fee of $28 each month. I have not made a late payment on anything in many years. After a lot of phone calls and yelling, I got the late fees removed.. I will never again use them for anything and will advise my friends to stay away from them.

  7. D. Mixon says

    Contacted synchrony On three occasions in order to resolve a debt incurred by pressing the wrong PayPal button. I was very disappointed in the fact that I could not understand the person that I was speaking to and basically given the runaround on how to pay the past due based on my mistake. Also, the interest rate charged was outrageous. I will never deal with them again and ensure that when using PayPal but I will not press the credit button by mistake.

  8. Patricia E says

    Hello Jim,

    I applied for a Sam’s Business Credit Card through you all and was denied because they stated that my tax ID number could not be identified.

    After calling and calling and spending roughly about 5 hours on the phone with the fraud department in one of your Sam’s Location, no one could give me a credible answer. I was told to contact Experian and I did and my information was correct.

    What happened was I took my application inside of the store and the young lady at the customer service counter stated that she could not find my credit app and that she would have to do another one(even when I had all correct information with me). She incorrectly put in wrong information and the app that she did failed. They spelled my business name with letters instead of using the character that it has. For some reason, you all do not accept characters which I think is a very horrible idea.

    When I spoke with people in the fraud and credit review dept all I was getting from them is that I would be getting a letter in the mail and when I did receive the letter it stated that my tax id could not be verified.

    That is a kick in the face to me because I am a reputable business owner. I have tried and tried numerous of times to speak withsomeone in the underwriting department but they send me to the credit review dept and I only get that they cannot provide me an information.

    Can you please advise as to what type of system you all use to obtain this tax id information? As I have explained to everyone I have spoken to, my tax ID belongs to my business. I can’t help that your reps are providing wrong information. They had the name of my business incorrect, the wrong phone number, everything. They stated that I provided the information to the lady at the Sam’s store and I told them I did not. I had the paper app that I submitted and provided it to the rep. I need answers as to how you all can treat your potential customers this way. I currently have a Lowes and amazon account through Synchrony but for some reason I am being denied for a Sam’s card?

    Please advise

    Thanks

    • Jim Wang says

      Hi Patricia – we are not affiliated with Synchrony Bank so you’ll have to reach out to them directly to get your problem solved.

  9. Don Valentine says

    Synchrony Bank is little more than a pack of lying thieves charging rates that are in the stratosphere (like 29%), not posting payments until they have held them long enough to stick you with a fraudulent late charge and other such gimmicks to steal your money. They are little more than a legalized Mafia. To make matters worse, when you pay off most of a high credit card balance in one or two payments to avoid as much if their highway robbery interest charges as possible they immediately lower the credit limit they previously gave you to only a few dollars over the remaining balance so they can report to the credit bureaus that you are using nearly the maximum credit they allow under the new and lowered limit as a crooked method to have your credit score reduced. Once that occurs it used as an excuse to charge the highest interest rate they can get away with. God help these criminal bastards if Bernie Sanders becomes the next president. Such crooked “financial institutions” will likely find their doors shuttered for good as they should be. I also now boycott any store for whom Synchrony issues specialized credit cards as well such as TJMaxx and it’s affiliates, eBay and such.

  10. Sheryl Langdon says

    I loathe calling customer service when it’s someone who hates their lives and I can literally hear their hate across my phone line. I think technology has ruined everyone. I have worked horrible Customer service jobs and I still upheld pleasant customer service. I don’t have faith in anything automated anymore because of the humans on the other end of the technology. There’s no real time accountability. I don’t want a young unhappy India boy (and I mean boy figuratively) angrily handling my important secured financial information. Move customer service back to my nation in the U.S. for daytime services. I understand for night customer service to send it overseas. But, enough already. I don’t feel safe.

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