Synchrony Bank Review for 2020

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Synchrony Bank logoSynchrony Bank is a relatively new player in the online banking world—and one that’s worth noting.

The company offers HYSAs and other investment products such as certificates of deposit (CDs) and money market accounts.

I’m going to give you an overview of everything that Synchrony Bank has to offer so you can decide if the company is worth adding to your banking portfolio.

Keep reading to find out whether the bank is a good match for your unique financial needs.

Synchrony Bank: Overview

synchrony bank reviewSynchrony Bank is the online consumer banking division of Synchrony Financial, a publicly-traded financial institution (NYSE: SYF).

Synchrony Financial is a massive financial services company that specializes in retail-focused financing and lending programs.

For example, Synchrony powers the retail-based credit cards behind major brands such as Amazon, Lowe’s, TJ Maxx, Gap, Sam’s Club, and more.

According to the company’s website, Synchrony Financial has financed over $140 billion in sales and has over 80 million active accounts. The company is headquartered in Stamford, CT and employs over 16,000 people in the United States and India.

Synchrony Background

Synchrony Bank has a storied history, to say the least. The company was initially founded as GE Capital Retail Bank in 1932.

At the time (during the Great Depression), the bank primarily offered loans to customers who wanted to purchase GE appliances and other products.

In 2014, GE decided to separate and rename its retail lending division, and that’s when Synchrony was formed.

Synchrony Bank Services

Here’s an overview of Synchrony’s online banking services:

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

synchrony cdSynchrony’s CDs offer competitive interest rates that range from 0.75% APY for a three-month term, all the way up to 2.45% APY on a 60-month CD.

While these rates are well above the national average, however, they aren’t the best on the market.

Remember, when you deposit your money in a CD you can’t access it until the term is up. So, a 60-month CD means your funds are tied up for five years.

For more info on CD rates, check this out.

Money Market Account (MMA)

Money Market Accounts Synchrony bank pageWith a Synchrony Money Market Account, account holders can earn a higher yield, 1.20% APY, while maintaining instant access to their funds.

MMA accounts offer the convenience of being able to write checks or withdraw cash at ATMs. What’s more, these funds are also secured by the FDIC.

High-Yield Savings Account

high yield savings account synchrony bankSynchrony’s High-Yield Savings Account currently offers an impressive 1.90% APY. There is no minimum balance required to maintain an account. There are absolutely no fees, either.

Another cool feature of Synchrony’s High-Yield Savings Account is that customers can use an ATM card to withdraw funds and perform other standard transactions. This ATM card can then be used at any ATM in the U.S. that has the Plus or Accel logo displayed.

What’s more, Synchrony will refund you up to $5 each month to offset potential domestic ATM fees. This is somewhat a unique feature for Synchrony, as many HYSAs (e.g., American Express Personal Savings) don’t allow account holders access to funds via ATMs.

IRA Certificates of Deposit (CD)

IRA CD rates Synchrony bankSynchrony’s IRA CDs give you the option of saving toward your retirement goals while reducing your taxable income.

After you’ve decided to create an IRA CD account, you’ll have to choose between either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA.

It’s worth noting that there’s a $2,000 minimum to open an IRA CD with Synchrony.

At the time of this writing, here are the current APYs:

  • 3-month term: 0.75% APY
  • 6-month term: 1.00% APY
  • 9-month term: 1.25% APY
  • 12-month term: 2.25% APY
  • 18-month term: 2.25% APY
  • 24-month term: 2.30% APY
  • 36-month term: 2.35% APY
  • 48-month term: 2.40% APY
  • 60-month term: 2.45% APY

IRA Money Market

ira mmaSynchrony’s IRA Money Market Account allows you to contribute to your retirement savings whenever you’d like (according to IRS rules) while enjoying a fairly decent 1.20% APY.  There’s no minimum balance to open or maintain an account, either.

If you decide to open this kind of an account, you’ll also have to determine whether you’d prefer a traditional or Roth IRA.

FAQs

Is Synchrony a real bank?

Yes. Synchrony Bank is a real bank that offers high-yield savings accounts and other investment products.

However, at the time of this writing, Synchrony does not offer a traditional checking account.

Is Synchrony Bank FDIC-insured?

Yes. Synchrony Bank is FDIC-insured. As such, deposits of up to $250,000  are protected for each account holder.

In case you’d like to learn more about how the FDIC works and what its mission is, head over to the official website.

Is Synchrony Bank a good bank?

Yes. Synchrony Bank is a good bank that offers a competitive APY on high-yield savings accounts.

Are online banks safe to use?

Yes. Online banks are safe to use. You just have to be sure that the bank is FDIC-insured.

You also want to be sure that your online bank has a trusted reputation and good customer service. In the event an issue emerges, you want real people to be there to help.

Where is Synchrony Bank located?

Synchrony Bank’s corporate headquarters is located in Stamford, CT.

The company has one physical branch in the U.S., located in Bridgewater, N.J. In addition, Synchrony has corporate offices and call centers located in Atlanta, GA, Shawnee, KS, and Charlotte, NC.

Pros & Cons of Synchrony Bank

Pros

  • Competitive Savings APY: The 1.90% APY offered through Symphony’s High-Yield Savings Account is definitely solid. In fact, it’s among the best savings interest rates currently offered on the market.
  • ATM for Savings Account: The fact that savings account owners can get an ATM card to withdraw their cash is pretty awesome. This benefit is something that other online savings banks like Ally simply don’t offer.
  • Slick Mobile Apps: Synchrony’s mobile apps are consistently well-rated by users, making it super easy for customers to manage their money while on the go. In the App Store, the Synchrony Bank app boasts a 4.6-star rating (out of 5). In the Google Play Store, it has a 4-star rating (out of 5).
  • No Fees: I like the fact that Synchrony doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees in their HYSAs. It’s also nice that there isn’t a minimum balance required to open and maintain the account. Just dump in however much money you can afford to seed your account with and watch your money grow much more rapidly than it would it traditional bank accounts.

Cons

  • (Almost) No Physical Branches: Aside from their one physical location in New Jersey—which surely most people will never visit—Synchrony has no brick-and-mortar locations. This could be an issue if you regularly need to deposit cash, conduct other in-person banking transactions, or simply like getting to know tellers and other banking staff.
  • No Checking Account Available: If you want to have a linked checking account, you’re out of luck. While the Synchrony Bank app makes it easy to transfer funds in and out of your account, you’ll still need a primary checking account at another bank in order to conduct most of your regular banking transactions.
  • Limited Investment Options: I don’t recommend using Synchrony’s IRA for your retirement savings. A guaranteed return of up to 2.45% APY might sound appealing, but you’d be missing out on potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in gains compared to investing in the stock market (which has grown at an average rate of ~8% each year). For more tips on investing, check out my Investing 101 post.
  • Mixed Customer Service Reviews: A Google search for “Synchrony Bank customer service” reveals some frighteningly low ratings. While many of these negative reviews pertain to Synchrony Financial’s credit card products, I couldn’t help but notice some nightmarish customer stories about their experience with Synchrony Bank. For example, one customer alleged that they may have to take Synchrony to court to get their money back. It seems a bit dubious to me, but it’s worth doing a bit of research to do your due diligence. In all fairness, I’ve never experienced any type of negative experience with Synchrony Bank.

Is Synchrony Bank Good For You?

If you’re looking for an online bank that offers competitive high-yield savings account APY and other easy-to-access, low-risk investment products, Synchrony might be the bank for you.

On the other hand, if you’d prefer to have a relationship with a major national bank that has brick-and-mortar locations, you might want to keep looking.

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Synchrony Bank might be the perfect solution to your financial needs or it might serve well as another bank in your portfolio. At the same time, you might decide that the bank doesn’t meet your needs and continue your search elsewhere.

You know your financial situation better than anyone else. Take your time and research your options. You’ll make the right decision that helps you get that much closer to achieving your financial goals. Good luck!

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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