Chances are, you’ve seen the Synchrony name when applying for a store credit card. In fact, Synchrony is the largest U.S.-based provider of private label cards. The company issues cards for more than 100 brands, including Amazon, Gap, and Lowe’s.
But that’s not all there is to Synchrony. Synchrony Bank offers some of the highest rates on savings products. Although you won’t find local bank locations or even a checking account, it’s worth considering this bank for your short- and long-term savings needs.
In this Synchrony Bank review, we’ll check out some of this bank’s top account options to help you decide if they’re a good fit for your money.
Synchrony Bank Review
When it comes to Products & Services, the biggest downside to Synchrony Bank is its lack of a checking account option. There are plenty of other online banks that offer full banking services. However, Synchrony Bank’s Interest Rates are among the highest we’ve seen, so you might be able to forgive the bank for its lack of checking accounts. We also ranked this bank high for Fees & Charges because there are no fees to open or maintain an account. In terms of Website/App accessibility, Synchrony Bank’s website and app seem fine and serviceable. Customer Service isn’t 24/7, but it is available all days of the week.
Synchrony Bank Features
|Banking Account Types||Savings, Money Markets, CDs, IRAs|
|Other Account Types||IRA CDs, Trust Accounts, Credit Cards|
|Minimum Required Deposit to Open Account||$0 for Savings; $2,000 for CDs|
|Number of Branches||Internet Only|
|ATM Network Size||Use Any ATM Displaying the Plus or Accel Logos|
|ATM Reimbursements||Up to $5 per Statement|
|App Availability||iOS, Android, Amazon Apps, Windows Phone, Mobile Optimized Website|
|Person to Person Money Transfers||Zelle|
|Money Transfers||ACH, Wire Transfers, Inter-account Transfers, Zelle|
|Customer Service Types||Phone, Live Chat|
|Customer Service Hours||Mon-Fri 7am – midnight ET|
Sat-Sun 8am to 5pm ET
|Member FDIC||FDIC Certificate #27314|
|Routing Number / ABA Number||#021213591|
|Current Promotions||No current promotions.|
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- IRA Options. If you want to save for retirement, Synchrony Bank offers an IRA you can open with only $250. You can also choose an IRA CD, which requires a minimum deposit of $2,000.
- FDIC Insurance. Each Synchrony Bank account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000.
- Access Savings Through ATMs. Although Synchrony Bank doesn’t have a checking account, you can withdraw and deposit cash from your savings account at any one of thousands of Visa Plus or Accel branded ATMs. If you use an out-of-network ATM, Synchron Bank will reimburse fees up to $5 per statement.
What Is Synchrony Bank?
Synchrony Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Synchrony Financial, but it’s actually been around longer than its parent company.
The bank started back in 1988 as Monogram Bank, and its name has changed several times over the past 30 or so years. Most recently, Synchrony Bank was known as GE Capital Retail Bank, until 2014, when it adopted the name Synchrony Bank.
The bank’s headquarters are in Utah, but Synchrony Bank operates completely online.
This can be a drawback if you’re the type of person who likes to build a personal relationship with a neighborhood brick-and-mortar bank.
However, there’s a big advantage to online banks: the potential for greater earnings on your savings since Synchrony (and other online bankers) can offer a much higher savings rate than most traditional banks.
How to Get Started with Synchrony Bank
Opening a new savings account with Synchrony Bank is easy to do. Just be prepared to enter personal information such as your name, address, Social Security number, employment status, etc. You’ll also have to choose how to fund your new account.
Funding Your Synchrony Bank Account. You can deposit money in a Synchrony Bank account by wire transfer from another bank, authorizing a direct deposit, or by mailing in a personal or cashier’s check.
Once your account is up and running, you can also use the mobile app to snap a photo of a paper check and upload it to your account.
Synchrony Bank Account Options
Synchrony Bank primarily offers accounts tied to savings. These include savings accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), and IRAs using savings or CDs.
Synchrony Bank Savings and Money Market Accounts
Synchrony Bank’s savings accounts pay among the highest rates on the market. There’s no need to pay a minimum balance to open an account or to start earning interest.
There are also very few fees, and Synchrony has one of the few savings accounts that comes with a bank card and reimburses ATM fees (up to $5 per month). You can also use your Synchrony card for free at any Plus or Accel branded machine.
Synchrony’s money market accounts have some similar features to savings accounts, but their interest rates may be slightly different.
We recommend you check out the bank’s website to get the most up-to-date info on Synchrony Bank’s current rates.
Synchrony Bank CDs
Synchrony Bank also offers great rates on certificates of deposit. Currently, you can purchase a CD with terms ranging from three months to five years. You can even purchase a 12-month IRA CD for its tax-advantages.
The rates Synchrony pays on these CDs are currently among the highest in the country, and we suggest checking the Synchrony website to get the most up-to-date numbers.
However, keep in mind that CDs at Synchrony Bank require a $2,000 minimum.
If that might be too high for you, or if you’d like to shop around, check the CD rates at several banks before making a commitment. Once you buy a CD, you’re locked in for the agreed-upon term unless you’re willing to pay a fee to cash out early.
An IRA is only as good as what you’re putting into it. With a bank like Synchrony, which has great rates on CDs and savings accounts, you can use those vehicles to help your IRA grow faster.
For example, you could open an IRA and deposit a $5,000 CD, tax-free. That $5,000 would grow to $5,685 at 2.6 percent interest over the next five years. Then, you could put that $5,685 into another five-year, IRA-protected CD and it would become $6,463 at the end of the next five years.
You won’t get rich quick, but with enough time and enough savings, you will be moving in the right direction. And keep in mind that you don’t have to wait for that first five-year CD to mature before buying another one. You could buy one a year, tax-free, and create an ever-expanding account.
Synchrony is careful to point out — and we are too — that only a tax professional should be trusted for advice about what IRA best suits your needs. IRAs come with various rules and modifications that can work to your advantage or disadvantage. So it’s important to know what you’re doing or to find an advisor who knows what’s what.
Synchrony Bank Pros & Cons
- Great Savings Rate. Synchrony Bank pays out some of the highest interest rates in the industry for its savings accounts and CDs.
- Variety of CD Terms. With Synchrony Bank, you can earn interest on a CD with short terms like three months or park your cash in a five-year CD.
- Good Option for IRAs. IRAs can be great for growing your money in a long-term tax-advantaged account. Synchrony Bank offers a great interest-earning IRA, as well as an IRA CD.
- ATM Access. Unlike many other savings accounts, you can access cash with a Synchrony-issued bank card. You can use thousands of ATMs for free, but if there are fees involved, Synchrony will reimburse up to $5 per statement.
$2,000 Minimum Deposit for CDs. Although Synchrony Bank savings accounts don’t require a minimum, CDs require at least $2,000, which can be off-putting.
No Checking Account. Unfortunately, Synchrony doesn’t offer a checking option (check out these banks that offer free online checking).
No Physical Branches. There are no brick-and-mortar bank offices to visit if you have a concern.
If you’re comfortable using an online-only bank, opening a Synchrony account offers plenty of advantages.
Synchrony’s savings rates are particularly attractive when you consider that the average savings account in the United States will earn you between only 0.07 and 0.17 percent interest on your money.
The savings account interest rates at Synchrony Bank are typically among the highest in the nation. You can view a list of the highest interest rates here.
Plus, Synchrony doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees or penalize you for letting your balance fall too low, which can be a drawback at some of the other online banks.
However, some people are more comfortable handing their money over to a bank with a branch or two (or ten) in their community, a bank where you can sit down with someone and discuss financial products.
If that sounds like you, Synchrony or any other online-only bank won’t be a good fit.
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