Synchrony Bank Review: Zero Fees and Top-Tier Interest Rates
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In this Synchrony Bank review, we discuss the online bank’s account types and whether it is the right bank for your needs.
Synchrony Bank is an online bank that offers a variety of savings products to its customers. Unlike typical banks, Synchrony does not offer a checking account. Therefore, it’s best suited for people who are looking to separate their savings from their spending money or who want to earn the most interest possible on their extra cash.
Synchrony Bank Review at a Glance
- Online bank that you can access from anywhere
- High interest rates
- Loyalty perks
- No checking or spending account options
- More difficult to deposit cash
- No Synchrony Bank app
The Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a place to put extra cash so that it can earn savings and grow, Synchrony Bank is a good choice. If you want a full-service online bank that can handle your savings, checking, lending, and investing needs, then you’ll need to work with another bank in addition to or instead of Synchrony.
Synchrony High-Yield Savings Account
The savings account is one of the most basic types of bank account. You deposit money to the account and the bank keeps it safe for you. Each month, the bank pays you interest on the balance of your account. In this way, your savings will slowly grow over time.
This makes savings accounts great both for keeping extra money safe and for saving towards specific goals, such as going on vacation or making a down payment on a house.
Synchrony Bank’s High Yield Savings Account is a standard online savings account. There aren’t many notable features to talk about.
Like most online savings accounts, it offers a rate of interest that is far higher than the rates offered by traditional brick-and-mortar banks. If your goal is to grow your savings, then this is a great account to use.
One downside of online savings accounts is that they can be more difficult to access than savings accounts offered by brick-and-mortar banks. Since there are no physical locations, it can be difficult to make a cash withdrawal or a deposit. However, Synchrony Bank breaks that mold, offering a number of ways to access your account.
You can make online transfers or deposit checks using your phone. The bank also offers the ability to make cash deposits, which is unusual for online banks. If you visit a Plus or ACCEL network ATM that accepts deposits, you can easily deposit cash to your Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings Account.
Withdrawals are simple. Log into your account from your phone or computer to transfer money to your checking account. You can also visit an ATM and use your debit card to withdraw cash, though a fee may apply.
Keep in mind that federal regulations limit the number of withdrawals that you can make in a statement period. If you make more than six withdrawals in one period, you may have to pay a fee. ATM withdrawals are excluded from this limit, so you won’t be punished for regular ATM visits.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are designed to let you save your money for a set period of time. Unlike savings accounts, which have interest rates that can change at any time, CDs let you lock in your interest rate for the full term of the CD.
This can be useful if interest rates fall after you deposit money to a CD, as your money will continue to earn the same amount. However, if rates rise, you’ll lose out as you’ll be stuck with the lower rate.
You can’t simply withdraw money from a CD and open a new one to get the higher rate. Withdrawing money from a CD before it matures will incur a fee, which could wipe out any additional interest you would earn.
Synchrony Bank CDs keep pace with other online banks, offering rates that are far higher than those of traditional banks. They also offer a wide variety of CD terms, ranging from 3 to 60 months.
The early withdrawal penalties for Synchrony Bank CDs are as follows.
|CD Term||Early Withdrawal Penalty|
|12 months or less||90 days’ interest|
|13 to 47 months||180 days’ interest|
|48 months or more||365 days’ interest|
The exception to this penalty is withdrawing interest. You can withdraw the interest you earn at any time.
CDs are best for people who want to save toward a goal that will happen at a specific time. They’re also great if you want to lock in a guaranteed interest rate and return.
If you’re looking to save for retirement, Synchrony Bank also offers IRA CDs.
Synchrony Money Market Accounts
Synchrony Bank’s Money Market Account combines the benefits of savings and checking. With this account, you can earn one of the highest interest rates available while maintaining ease of access and flexibility with your money.
However, at Synchrony Bank, there aren’t many reasons that you would want to open a money market account.
Synchrony makes it easy to access the money you have in your savings account, so the only additional benefit of opening a money market account is the ability to write checks. Otherwise, you can access your account in all the same ways as you can your checking account.
In exchange for the ability to write checks, you give up a significant amount of interest, earning less on a Synchrony Bank Money Market Account than a Synchrony Bank Savings Account. You’ll almost certainly be better off with the savings account.
Other Things to Know About Synchrony Bank
Here are a few more details to consider when deciding if a Synchrony Bank account is right for you.
One common concern that people have about online banks is their customer service. When you can’t visit a branch and speak to someone face to face, you want to feel confident that you can get help when you need it.
Synchrony offers multiple ways to contact the bank when you need help. Online chat services make it easy to get support right from your computer. It also offers customer service via phone seven days a week, so you can call for help regardless of your schedule.
Should you require immediate assistance with your accounts, you can reach Synchrony Bank’s customer service department by calling this phone number 1-866-226-5638.
One of the biggest benefits of working with an online bank is the fact that online banks don’t charge many fees. They cost far less to run than traditional banks, and they’re able to pass those savings on to customers by offering higher rates and charging fewer fees.
Synchrony Bank does not charge any account maintenance or similar fees. In fact, the only fees you’re likely to pay are ATM withdrawal fees. To help offset those costs, Synchrony Bank offers up to $5 in ATM fee refunds per statement.
One thing to know about Synchrony Bank is that, unlike other banks, it does not offer a smartphone app that you can use to manage your account. Instead, you’ll need to log in to your account through your computer or phone’s web browser to do all of your account management.
Synchrony Bank provides loyalty rewards to account holders based on both their account balance and how long they’ve had an account with Synchrony Bank. You can advance through five loyalty tiers.
|Basic||Less than $10,000 AND tenure less than 1 year|
|Silver||$10,000 – $49,999.99 AND tenure of at least 1 year|
|Gold||$50,000 – $99,999.99 AND tenure of at least 2 years|
|Platinum||$100,000 – $249,999.99 OR tenure of at least 3 years|
|Diamond||$250,000 or more AND tenure of at least 5 years|
Some of the perks that you can earn include:
- A dedicated customer support phone line
- Access to special webinars
- Free wire transfers
- Unlimited ATM fee reimbursements
Here are the interest rates that you can earn on Synchrony Bank’s accounts.
|Account||Interest Rate (APY)|
|High Yield Savings Account||2.20%|
|Money Market Account||1.20%|
Though Synchrony Bank doesn’t offer other banking services, such as checking accounts, Synchrony is known for another type of financial product. It provides many popular store credit cards, including the Amazon store card, Walmart Personal Mastercard, and the JCPenney card.
While there are no benefits to holding Synchrony bank accounts and credit cards at the same time, it is good to know that you’re working with the same company if you have both.
Synchrony Bank Review Summary
Synchrony Bank’s savings account and CDs are both great deals that pay high interest rates with few or no fees. If you’re looking for a good bank to use just for your savings, Synchrony Bank is a great choice. If you want a full-service online bank, you’ll have to look elsewhere.