With dozens of online savings account options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Between comparing interest rates, fees, and trying to navigate each platform’s laundry list of unique features, it can be tough to tell which account is best for you.
Fortunately, banks like Synchrony exist with low-cost, simplified savings solutions. In this post, we’ll take a close look at Synchrony, an online bank with a strong emphasis on high-yield accounts.
What is Synchrony Bank?
Synchrony Financial is a financial services company based out of Stamford, Connecticut. Synchrony Bank is its consumer banking wing and offers high-yield online accounts and credit cards.
Synchrony’s start in the banking world goes back to the Great Depression when it was founded as GE Capital Bank.
This first iteration of the bank offered lines of credit for customers hoping to finance GE appliance purchases. Synchrony sticks to these roots today with dozens of credit cards for popular retailers.
Synchrony Bank Features
To give you an idea of what sets Synchrony apart from the pack, let’s run through all of the features that come along with an account.
Synchrony is an online-only bank, so account holders don’t have access to in-person support or physical branches.
Instead, all of your account maintenance is taken care of digitally, from making deposits and transfers to applying for a credit card.
Synchrony’s mobile app is one of the best-reviewed banking apps, period. It has a 4.7-star rating (out of 5) in both the App Store and Google Play Store and provides full access to your Synchrony accounts, wherever you are.
With the Synchrony Bank app, you can safely transfer money, get in touch with customer service, make mobile check deposits, and keep an eye on your available balance.
Synchrony also offers a separate, highly rated app for its retail credit cards called MySynchrony.
400,000+ Free ATMs
Synchrony is part of the Accel and Plus ATM networks, bringing its total of fee-free ATM options to just under half a million in the US.
This makes it one of the biggest networks of any online bank, so finding one shouldn’t be a problem.
If you need to use an out-of-network ATM, Synchrony doesn’t charge a fee, and it offers fee reimbursements up to $5 per statement cycle.
Synchrony Bank Products
Synchrony Bank offers a lean selection of banking products, so you won’t have to spend a ton of time weighing them against each other.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a checking account, so you’ll have to look elsewhere for your everyday spending account.
That said, the products that it does offer are well worth your attention, so let’s take a look.
High Yield Savings Account
Since Synchrony does not offer a checking account, you have to request an ATM card to go along with your savings account.
You can use the card to withdraw cash or make purchases, but keep in mind that it is not a traditional debit card.
You’ll need to enter a PIN for point of sale transactions, and you can only make a maximum of six transactions per month, in accordance with Federal regulations.
Money Market Account
If you want a high-yield account with a little more flexibility, Synchrony’s Money Market account might be right up your alley. It comes with a 0.35% APY, no fees or minimums, and the option to add an ATM card.
The main value add of the Money Market over High Yield Savings is the ability to write checks, which are an optional add-on.
Otherwise, you can consider it a compatible account with a lower APY. For retirement savings, Synchrony also offers an IRA Money Market account.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
For long-term savings, Synchrony offers its most competitive rates with its CDs.
Term lengths range from three months to five years, and the longer you commit your funds, the higher APY you get.
Here’s the breakdown of the CD rates for each term length:
|3 Month CD||0.15% APY||$0|
|6 Month CD||0.25% APY||$0|
|9 Month CD||0.35% APY||$0|
|1 Year CD||0.55% APY||$0|
|13 Month CD||0.55% APY||$0|
|14 Month CD||0.70% APY||$0|
|15 Month CD||0.55% APY||$0|
|18 Month CD||0.70% APY||$0|
|2 Year CD||0.65% APY||$0|
|3 Year CD||0.75% APY||$0|
|4 Year CD||0.75% APY||$0|
|5 Year CD||1.00% APY||$0|
Unlike many of its competitors’ CDs, Synchrony doesn’t require a minimum opening deposit.
However, you’ll have ten days after opening to add new funds, and if you pull money out early, you’ll get hit with an early withdrawal penalty.
If you’re interested in saving for retirement, Synchrony also offers a Traditional or Roth IRA CD.
Basically, if you apply for a charge card at a popular retailer such as Abt, Citgo, Sleepy’s, or The Container Store, chances are that the card is backed by Synchrony.
Synchrony Bank customers have three direct Mastercard credit cards to choose from:
- Premier World Mastercard: With Synchrony Premier World Mastercard, you get 2% cashback on every purchase. There’s no annual fee, and the card comes with contactless chip technology for quick transactions. The card also comes with credits and discounts for Lyft, Hello Fresh, DoorDash, and Instacart, plus cell phone and ID theft protection.
- Plus World Mastercard: The Plus World Mastercard is currently only available by invitation from Synchrony, so you can’t apply for one on the website just yet. Fortunately, you aren’t missing much, as it’s basically just a lesser version of Premier World. The card has no annual fee and earns 1% back on every purchase. Otherwise, you’ll find all of the same perks included in Premier World.
- Preferred Mastercard: Like Plus World, Synchrony Preferred isn’t available to the public yet. Preferred is a basic credit card without rewards, but there’s no annual fee, and you’ll likely have more flexibility to qualify for it with a lower credit score.
Synchrony fits the mold of most online banks with an almost non-existent fee schedule. This is partly due to the fact that banking fees often pop up in checking accounts rather than savings accounts.
That said, there are still plenty of charges that Synchrony cuts out, like ATM fees and monthly maintenance fees.
Here are the only charges that you’ll have to be aware of with a Synchrony account:
- Outgoing Wire Transfer Fee: $25
- Stop Payment Fee: $25
- Overnight Check Fee: $25
When you’re ready to open a Synchrony account, you have three options:
- Open an account online
- Give the bank a call
- Fill out a paper application and mail it in
The easiest and quickest option is to fill out an online application, which takes just a few minutes. To apply, all you need is your contact information, date of birth, and Social Security number.
Synchrony does not pull your credit report, so you don’t need to worry about a new account affecting your credit score — unless you’re applying for a credit card.
Once you’re approved, it’s time to fund your new account and access online banking.
Unfortunately, there are currently no active Synchrony Bank promotions. Check out these bonus offers instead:
|PNC Virtual Wallet® with Performance Select||$400||February 28, 2022||
|Chase Chase Total Checking®||$225||April 20, 2022||
|Citi Citi Priority Account||$1500||July 17, 2022||
Synchrony is a safe and secure online bank with protections in place to cover you and your money.
All of its accounts are FDIC-insured, and you can rest assured that any transactions are monitored 24/7 for suspected fraud or identity theft.
If you think your account or identity has been compromised, Synchrony also offers complimentary resolution services through its partnership with CyberScout. Contact customer support as early as possible if you suspect something’s up.
If you need to get in touch with customer support, Synchrony’s online help center has specific channels for savings and retirement accounts, Synchrony Mastercards, and retail credit cards.
You can choose to chat online, send a letter, or give them a call. The phone number is 1-866-226-5638, and representatives are available from 8 am to 10 pm Eastern Time on weekdays and 8 am to 5 pm on weekends. There’s also a 24/7 automated service option for basic account needs.
Synchrony has earned an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), though it’s important to note that it hasn’t fared as well with consumer reviews.
On the BBB’s customer review side, it has a rating of just 1.04 stars (out of 5). I’m also seeing an average rating customer review rating of 1.3 stars on Trustpilot and only 1 star on Sitejabber. Ouch!
Pros & Cons
- No fees
- High APY in HYSA
- Lots of CD term options
- Massive ATM network
- No checking accounts
- No physical branches
- No sign-up bonuses
- Limited credit card options
Alternatives to Synchrony Bank
Synchrony has a lot to offer, but the biggest mark against it is that without a checking option, it’s tough to count on it as your only banking partner.
If you want to check out some online options that come with checking as well, here are some of the best places to start looking:
If you want a simple banking platform with few fees and high earning potential, you’ll have a tough time finding a better option than Chime.
The neobank leader comes with a sleek mobile-based platform and offers checking and savings accounts. There are no hidden fees, automated high-yield savings, and a network of more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs.
Ally is the biggest name in digital banking, and it has everything you could expect from a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment — minus the fees.
Ally has deposit accounts, an investment platform, and home, auto, and personal loans. It consistently has some of the highest savings rates in the industry, and you’ll never pay an ATM fee.
Varo Bank is one of the most recent neobanks to secure an official bank charter, so it no longer has the need to partner with an external shop for FDIC protection.
Varo offers high-yield, low-fee accounts, plus up to 15% cash back through Varo Perks. Varo is part of the Allpoint ATM network, and users can also enjoy early direct deposit and a Zero Liability Visa debit card.
CIT Bank is another big name in online banking and offers a wide range of accounts. CIT has three different savings accounts, an eChecking account, and four different options for CDs.
CIT also stays at par for the course with few fees and high savings rates. Its website is full of useful financial education resources, and the bank also offers home loans.
Is Synchrony Bank a good bank?
Synchrony has several things going for it that indicate that it’s a good bank. It won’t nickel and dime you with fees, and its savings rates are among the best in the online banking industry.
Synchrony is also a safe banking option that covers its customers with FDIC insurance and plenty of security measures.
Who is Synchrony Bank owned by?
Synchrony Bank is owned by Synchrony Financial, a publicly-traded financial institution based out of Connecticut.
Is there a class action lawsuit against Synchrony Bank?
There was, but it’s since been settled. Synchrony paid out nearly $3 million in a class-action suit that claimed it violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), though it’s important to mention that Synchrony did not admit to any wrongdoing, despite the settlement.
What does your credit score need to be for Synchrony Bank?
Synchrony doesn’t pull your credit to open a bank account, but if you’re applying for a Synchrony credit card, you want to be (at the very least) between a score of 600 and 700 to give yourself a good chance at approval.
Is Synchrony Bank Right For You?
If high-yield is what you’re after, then you’ve found a solid option in a Synchrony Bank savings account.
As a savings specialist, Synchrony comes to the table with no monthly fees, relatively high APYs, and a user-friendly platform.
However, the bottom line is that Synchrony isn’t an all-in-one banking solution. It doesn’t offer checking accounts, so at the very least, you’ll need to use another bank for everyday transactions.
It also doesn’t offer any enticing sign-up bonuses, and its rewards credit cards feel behind the curve.
Overall, I’ll recommend Synchrony on the basis of its savings interest rates and lack of fees. The key to personal finance is keeping money in your pocket, and these features help you do just that.