Synchrony Bank Review: Savings & Checking Account, CDs and MMAs

Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure

This website is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This website does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace. This website may use other proprietary factors to impact card offer listings on the website such as consumer selection or the likelihood of the applicant’s credit approval.

 

This allows us to maintain a full-time, editorial staff and work with finance experts you know and trust. The compensation we receive from advertisers does not influence the recommendations or advice our editorial team provides in our articles or otherwise impacts any of the editorial content on The Smart Investor. While we work hard to provide accurate and up to date information that we think you will find relevant, The Smart Investor does not and cannot guarantee that any information provided is complete and makes no representations or warranties in connection thereto, nor to the accuracy or applicability thereof.

 

Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money. All products are presented without warranty.

Our opinions are our own and are not influenced by the payment we receive from our advertising partners. However, this post may contain references to products from our partners. It may impact which products and where the product appears on a page. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money. All products are presented without warranty.

Synchrony Bank Review

About Synchrony Bank

Synchrony Bank boasts of being a member of Synchrony Financial, a Fortune 500 company with more than 80 years of experience in consumer finance.

The bank has positioned itself to be a pure online bank in order to channel what they save in operating costs back to their customers in the form of higher deposit rates.

This is the most delicious carrot they dangle in the market. While the current national average savings deposit rate stands at 0.09%, Synchrony Bank offers close to twice that rate.

Perhaps the one that gets the most hype is the CD because its rate is one of the highest in the market, often landing in the top 5. Consistently, they offer about 2X the average national rate, which is very favorable to customers. 

synchrony-bank review

On Synchrony's Secure Website

Account Types

Minimum Deposit

PROS

CONS

Fewer Products, Higher Rates

When you scan their product line, you’ll see that they stay with the barest minimum.

For example, unlike other banks that would have several options in savings account alone, Synchrony Bank offers only one type of savings account. And don’t even bother to ask for a checking account because that one didn’t make it on their list for whatever reason.

Customers can access their accounts online, via mobile app, or through the thousands of ATMs that carry the Visa Plus or Accel logos. This is free of charge although some ATM operators may charge a fee. Synchrony Bank reimburses up to $5 of ATM charges per statement cycle. If you have Diamond status in the bank’s Perks program, there is no limit to the ATM fee reimbursement. 

Speaking of which, you don’t find many banks going into loyalty programs but Synchrony Bank Perks Program is rewarding many customers in more ways than one.

Depending on your status whether you reach Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond tier, you can enjoy certain benefits you won’t always find in your bank accounts. There are hotel discounts, hotel preferred prices, discounts on car rentals, restaurant offers, exclusive banking phone lines, VIP events, etc.

Like most online banks, customer service touchpoints rely on a digital interface but Synchrony Bank limits access only by chat, an automated voice-response phone line and live agents.

However, they are available only during certain business hours of the day.

Although the bank has no listing on the Better Business Bureau, customer reviews on the website gave it a very dismal one (out of five stars) rating. It appears that there are many dissatisfied customers of the company.

Although the bank is the recipient of many awards, most of them are about their interest rates. Many review websites contain a lot of customer complaints against the bank.

Synchrony Savings Products

Here are the main products Synchrony bank offers for savers:

Savings Account

$5,000

Initial Deposit

None

Minimum Balance

1.70%

APY

Deposit Method Transfers, mobile app check deposit, check deposit by mail or directly through a third party
ATM Access Free on Plus or Accel ATMs
Withdrawal Mode Via ATM, transfers or cashier’s check

The most important feature of the High Yield Savings is the APY. It’s one of the highest in the market today.

However, take note that while most other banks’ savings accounts offer either a fixed interest rate or a tiered rate, Synchrony has a variable rate. This means that your interest rate can change at any time. The good thing about it is that their high rates merited the bank several awards from a few groups. That gives a little assurance that customers can expect above-average rates even if the bank does make an adjustment from time to time.

There is no minimum balance that customers have to maintain but you need a hefty $5,000 to open an account.

The account comes with an ATM card for easy access although their online and mobile banking apps are convenient too.

CDs

$2,000

Initial Deposit

3 - 60 months

Terms

0.75% - 2.15%

APY

Digital Banking Available
Early Withdrawal Options With penalty
Automatic Renewal Available
You can see why Synchrony Bank is not like the rest of the pack. Most banks would offer a low initial deposit to open a savings account and a higher minimum to grab a CD. Synchrony does it in reverse: your $2,000 can start your medium to long term saving journey.

The minimum term is 3 months which may be a long time for some customers. Some banks offer a minimum term of 30 days and there are even banks that allow you to park your money for just 7 days.

Customers who want more flexibility with their CDs might not want to wait for 90 days to be able to get their interest or principal. The APY, again, is the highlight of the product. Obviously, if you put in more money, you can get higher interest. In general, their average rates are still higher than the national average rates.

Money Market Accounts

None

Minimum Balance

ATM, online or check

Withdrawal Mode

1.70%

APY

This account is for people who have some funds they can deposit for a time but do not know exactly when they will need them. The money market accounts let them earn interest for their money while giving them the flexibility to withdraw their money any time should it be necessary.

Synchrony Bank’s APY for money market is still above the national average so this is another benefit for the customers.

Also, there is no minimum balance requirement for this account which is good for those who are just starting out on their saving journey.

Synchrony Bank – The Benefits

Here are the main benefits we found:

Above Average Deposit Rates

This is often what most people look for when choosing a bank.

Synchrony’s strategy to keep itself among the top banks that offer good rates to customers without imposing heavy conditions is a good advantage.

It makes keeping one’s account in this bank worthwhile.

Stability Of The Parent Company

When it comes to money, you want to sleep peacefully at night knowing that your bank won’t just crumble overnight. This is the assurance that the Synchrony Group communicates to the bank depositors.

With their full backing, the bank stands proud with the bigger and older stable banks in the country.

No-Fee ATM Access

It’s plain insanity when you have to pay your bank to get your own money.

Synchrony does not charge customers for taking money from the ATM and this is good news. So, free ATM access plus wide ATM network – that’s a winning formula for this bank.

The Drawbacks

Like any other bank, we should always take into account the downsides:

Incomplete Products

The move to simplify their product offerings could be strategic cost-wise but this must have left many customers out of the loop.

People have different needs and it’s not always a good idea to keep several accounts in different banks.

It’s inconvenient at times and confusing if you have to keep track of your money regularly.

Bad Service

Synchrony has a lot of negative reviews from their own customers. Although no bank is perfect, many banks do try to get something going in terms of customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately for this bank, many bad reviews do not focus on a single item or service but cover many products and services. The limited availability of their customer service representatives does not help them at all in this area.

Cash Deposit Inconvenience

For traditional customers who may need to deposit cash into their accounts, this could be a major drawback with this bank. Since there is no physical branch you can go to, the options are very, very limited.

Even if you can deposit via the ATM, the bank representatives themselves warn that there is the possibility that your money can get lost.

 

Alternatives Banks For Consideration

Here are our alternatives to Synchrony Bank:

American Express has personal savings as one of its investment plans to build customers’ finances. There is the High Yields savings account (HYSA ) and the Certificate Deposit (CD) plan.

The personal savings plan provides a myriad of benefits to clients. There are no charges to open accounts, no deposit amount is too small or too high, and savings are insured up to $250,000 by the FDIC.  HYSA has a multiple withdrawal window up to nine times per month, and CD may be locked for six months to five years, depending on the client’s preference.

The Bank may require you to provide private details to access your public records before opening the account. After this, you will get a mail with instructions on registering the account; successful registration will mean you can log into your account and begin the transaction.

One let down is that interest rates and APYs are not fixed in the HYSA; it is subject to changes before and after the account has been opened. On the other hand, CD rates can be changed before an account is opened and not after. There is no provision for cash deposits, no checking account, no ATM card and no mobile application.

 JD Power ranks American Express with the top score of 838 for customer satisfaction in 2020. Better Business Bureau awards an A1 for overall customer service.

Capital One Bank offers a 360 account for easy and convenient online transactions, where clients may access their accounts through the company’s mobile application or website.

Capital One 360 may be a checking or savings account. The 360 performance savings account is high-yielding, much higher than the national average rate. This account comes with FDIC insurance, and no monthly fees or minimum deposit is required to open. Also, online platforms run smoothly on major device operators like ios and android. Here are the upsides to using the 360 checking account; no overdraft fees, free debit card, multiple payment options like bills, person to person, ATMs, and checkmate for checks.

You may be asked to present some certifications before you can open a 360 account. They include; means of identification like a driver’s license, social security card, or passport, and proof of address like a utility bill or lease agreement. You must be up to 18 years of age or with a joint holder above 18; also, the client must be a US citizen or resident there. Other requirements are the date of birth, contact details, and proof of employment.

A turnoff of the 360 savings account is that ATM withdrawals are unavailable to this type of account. 

In 2020, JD Power ranked it in the 6th position for credit card satisfaction. Better bureau awarded the parent company, Capital One Financial Corporation, a B+ on customer satisfaction.

Chime Bank is an internet banking platform in America and offers services through a mobile application. The site provides a savings account with an automatic saving feature to save as you spend and get paid.

The chime visa debit card rounds up the money in the account to the nearest dollar after each purchase, and the remaining cents will move into your savings account. For clients to save as they get paid, a percentage of each paycheck may be deducted and transferred into the savings account. Chime bank accounts have several debit card benefits: no hidden charges, no minimum deposits, free ATM charges, cashback, no monthly payments, no overdraft fees, and FDIC insurance coverage up to $250,000.

The site will request clients to fill in their personal details before they can open an account. it may include name, social security number, phone number, email, and account info; eligible clients must be US citizens, aged 18 years and above. The Bank is not for customers who like in-person services because there is no live office or physical building.

The Bank has a highly rated application best known for its high-quality graphic designs and interface that ensures a smooth running on most device operators like android and ios. 

Summary

If your banking needs are simple enough and you are comfortable doing your transactions without human interface, this could be your bank. After all, for many bank customers, the deposit rates are of utmost importance and not whether the branches and tellers are nice.

But if you want a wide range of products to choose from and do not feel comfortable dealing with machines when it comes to your money, you may want to look for a brick-and-mortar bank.

Synchrony Bank isn’t moving to that direction any time soon.

Overall, the rates and the bank’s stability would be the main selling point to the public. However, for those who have very specific needs of other bank products and services, this bank may not be able to satisfy them. Only the market that fits their ideal customer profile will appreciate Synchrony Bank for its full digital banking personality.