This Synchrony Bank review talks about essential matters you need to know about this online bank that offers competitive deposit products and credit cards for all types of consumers.
Surely, the past year was a challenging year not only for the American people but everyone across the world.
But, we cannot deny the fact that 2020 also brought so many realizations. Needless to say, it allowed different industries to shine — business-wise.
One of the many industries that stood out during the whole pandemic thing is the digital banking industry. In fact, according to the Global Mobile Consumer Trends Report, downloads of mobile banking apps grew by 20 percent globally from the first to second quarters of 2020.
Furthermore, the report also states that there was a nearly six percent increase in the Daily Active Users (DAU) of banking apps since the pandemic started.
This is not surprising though since people were restricted to go out, they had to rely on the most accessible way to access cash to pay off for goods, bills, and other things. Digital banking helped people survive on a day-to-day basis given the fact that most transactions were done online — from buying food to paying bills and transferring money to loved ones or people in need.
A report published by Forbes says that according to the July 2020 survey of US consumers from Cornerstone Advisors, it was found that “14.2 million Americans—6% of US adults with a checking account—now consider a digital bank to be their primary bank—a 67% jump from January 2020”.
You see, these reports show that indeed, digital banking has instantly become in-demand not just in the United States, but even across the world.
Now, in the country, there are lots of online banks. In fact, the choices are too many it can get overwhelming to choose the one that’s right for you.
But, today, we are going to focus on one particular online bank that provides high-yield deposit products and credit cards for retailers and healthcare providers, as well as ordinary individuals. And yes, we are talking about Synchrony Bank.
In this Synchrony Bank review, we are going to provide you with the essential information you need to be able to compare it among other online banks in the market and see for yourself if this, indeed, is your perfect fit.
For your reference, we are going to specifically talk about the following:
- What is Synchrony Bank?
- Who is Synchrony Bank best for?
- What are the products offered by Synchrony Bank?
- How to do banking with Synchrony Bank?
- Is Synchrony Bank safe?
- What to like about Synchrony Bank?
- What not to like about Synchrony Bank?
WHAT IS SYNCHRONY BANK?
One important thing to look at when choosing an online bank or any other bank for that matter is history. This will provide you confidence and trust you need. After all, what you are entrusting them is hard-earned money, right?
With that said, in this section of our review on Synchrony Bank, we are going to share with you a few important pieces of information about what the bank is all about.
Synchrony Bank is an online bank, which started as a division within General Electric (GE) and eventually became a separate, independent company in 2015.
The bank provides a variety of high-yield savings options, which include certificates of deposit (CDs), a savings account, a money market account, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
As an online- and mobile-only bank, the services and accounts that Synchrony Bank offers are only accessible through its online banking website and its mobile banking apps. While the website and the app allow you to manage your account anytime, anywhere, being an online- and mobile-only bank means it does not have access to physical branches.
However, even without the physical branch, Synchrony Banks has created one of the best online and mobile banking experiences across the market today. Synchrony Bank’s mobile app is available for both Android and iOS users.
Synchrony Bank is a Fortune 500 company and is a proud member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which means all bank offerings are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 in case of a bank failure.
Before moving on to the next section, we are sharing with you the video below by ProudMoney wherein he shares information as well as helpful insights about Synchrony Bank that we thought you might want to know, too.
WHO IS SYNCHRONY BANK BEST FOR?
In the last section, we talked about some of the most important things you need to know about Synchrony Bank.
Now, for this part of our Synchrony Bank review, we are going to share with you who the bank is fitted for. Hopefully, this helps you gauge if the bank is right for you based on your needs and preferences.
Anyway, Synchrony Bank is most appealing for consumers who fall in any (or all) of the following:
- Want a high-yield personal deposit account
- Do not want to change their primary checking account
- Do not mind not having access to a physical branch
- Want to enjoy the benefits of having a retailer credit card
- Want to finance healthcare expenses as time goes by
- Want 24/7 access to their bank account
WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS OFFERED BY SYNCHRONY BANK?
Probably the most important thing that consumers need to look into when choosing a bank, in this case, an online bank is the product offerings.
As much as possible, it would be nice to have everything you need in one place, right?
In the case of Synchrony Bank, it offers a variety of high-yield personal deposit accounts, which include the following:
- Savings Account
- Money Market
- Certificates of Deposit
- Credit Cards
Before we move on to discuss each of these products, it is important to note that the bank has a Synchrony Bank Perks Rewards program wherein customers earn elite status based on their deposit levels or length of the relationship. Those who reach the top-level “diamond” status (deposits exceed $250,000) or those who have been banking with Synchrony Bank for five years get to enjoy unlimited domestic ATM reimbursements, three free wire transfers per statement cycle, as well as a dedicated customer service.
Now, let’s take a look at each of the product offering:
Synchrony Bank offers a high-interest rate savings account. The rates a competitive among other online banks that offer the same type of account.
Synchrony Bank customers can earn an annual percentage yield of 0.50% on all balances, which means even if you have only $1 in your account, you will still earn.
To open a savings account, all you have to do is go Synchrony Bank website or download the app, and provide the information required such as your name, email address, mobile number, your Social Security number, as well as make sure to have a government-issued identification like driver’s license and passport in hand.
The account does not have a minimum deposit requirement, which means you can open an account with a little or as much as you want. Also, the bank does not charge a monthly maintenance fee as well as ATM fees. In fact, it reimburses up to $5 per statement cycle for ATM-related fees.
Synchrony Bank’s partnership with Accel allows its customers to access its 412,000 ATMs across all 50 states.
The Synchrony Bank money market account (MMA) is also very competitive in terms of rates. It offers 0.35% APY with no minimum balance required.
As compared to the bank’s high-yield savings account, the APY is lower. However, the money market account offers check-writing capabilities, which makes it a good choice as well.
Similar to the high-yield savings account, Synchrony Bank’s money market account comes with an optional ATM card to enable account holders to withdraw cash.
Unfortunately, similar to most money market accounts out there, this one is subject to monthly convenient transaction limits as well. Transactions are limited to up to six per month only. If you exceed the allowable limit, the bank will not charge you, but, maybe forced you to close your account instead.
Money market accounts are also available with a traditional or Roth IRA. However, if you opt to open an IRA money market account, it is important to note that there is a minimum opening deposit requirement, which amounts to $250.
With the IRA account, account holders are allowed to contribute anytime (up to the annual limit), as well as transfer an IRA from another bank or rollover an employer-sponsored retirement plan to Synchrony Bank.
Certificates of Deposit
Another product that Synchrony Bank offers are certificates of deposit (CDs). The bank’s CD terms range from three months to five years.
It requires a minimum deposit of $2,000, and the APY ranges from 0.15% on a three-month CD term to 0.80% on a five-year CD term.
As compared to a high-yield savings account, CDs may or may not offer a higher APY depending on the term of the account. It is important to keep in mind, though, that the APY of CD accounts is fixed based on the term you choose.
Synchrony Bank provides customers an option to open a traditional CD or one inside of a traditional or Roth IRA.
Once the CD matures, it will automatically renew for the same term at the prevailing interest rate. The bank provides a 10-day grace period, though, to allow you to add funds, withdraw, or change the term. Customers may provide instructions during the grace period or they may opt to submit a written instruction within 30 days before the maturity date of the CD.
Similar to most banks, if an account holder decides to withdraw the money prior to the maturity date, there will be a penalty, which depends on the length of the CD. For CD terms of one year or less, the penalty is 90 days simple interest, while for those that are more than a year to less than four years, the penalty is 180 days of simple interest. As for four years and above, the penalty is 365 days of simple interest.
Unlike other online banks, Synchrony Bank offers a wide selection of credit cards from retailers around the country.
In addition, the bank also offers healthcare financing through its CareCredit product, which we thought is very unique to the bank.
This financing can be used for different purposes like dental, hearing, cosmetic, as well as LASIK and vision, veterinary, and other specialties.
From an array of options, here are some of the retailers that the bank has partnered with to offer credit cards:
- Ashley HomeStore
- The Container Store
- Banana Republic
- Old Navy
- Lumber Liquidators
- Sam’s Club
- T.J. Maxx
HOW TO DO BANKING WITH SYNCHRONY BANK?
Technically speaking, Synchrony Bank is an online- and mobile-only bank. However, what makes it even more appealing to a lot of customers is that it also comes with four branches — one each in Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas, as well as in Utah.
However, because of the amazing banking experience, it provides in both its website and mobile apps, most customers still prefer to open an account or a credit card online.
Opening an account at Synchrony Bank online is very easy and simple. In fact, it is so easy and simple that it could only take you a few minutes to finish.
Similar to all the other banks out there, Synchrony Bank will ask you to provide personal information such as your Social Security number, your name, and a valid address, as well as an email address, and your mobile number. Make sure to keep a government-issued identification such as a passport and driver’s license as well to verify your identity.
Once you have opened an account, you can now make a deposit into it electronically or by mail. You can also make a mobile deposit through Synchrony Bank’s mobile application. As mentioned earlier, the mobile app is both available for iOS and Android devices.
Since both savings and money market accounts come with a debit card, this allows account holders to make ATM transactions like withdrawal at over 400,000 Accel Network ATMs for free.
To apply specifically for a credit card, you may browse the choices online first before proceeding with the application either online or in the branch. With so many options, it’s best to choose the one that would really work for you.
By the way, please note as well that there are credit cards that come with a welcome bonus when you apply and complete certain activities. It would also be nice to take advantage of that.
IS SYNCHRONY BANK SAFE?
In this section of our Synchrony Bank review, we are going to talk about how safe and secure your money and your personal information when you bank with Synchrony.
If we are going to base it on Synchrony Bank’s mobile app ratings in both Apple’s App Store and Google Play, then we have to say that banking with Synchrony is safe and secured. Well, in both app stores, Synchrony’s mobile app got solid ratings.
Having such ratings only means that the bank has all the necessary safety and security precautions in place to ensure all accounts are protected from possible fraud and identity theft.
Apart from that, Synchrony Bank is rated A+ in trustworthiness by the Better Business Bureau. According to Business Insider, “a strong BBB rating indicates the company is transparent in how it handles business, responds effectively to customer complaints, and is honest in its advertising.”
Of course, as stated earlier, Synchrony Bank is an FDIC member, which means all accounts are insured up to $250,000.
WHAT TO LIKE ABOUT SYNCHRONY BANK?
This Synchrony Bank review will not be complete without giving you a summary of the things we like about this online bank, which include the following:
- High-Yield Deposit Accounts – Synchrony Bank offers high-yield savings, money market, and certificate of deposit (CDs) accounts. For savings accounts, customers earn a 0.50% annual percentage yield (APY); for money market accounts, customers earn 0.40% APY; while CD rates vary depending on the term, but it could go as high as 0.80% for the long CD term.
- No Monthly Maintenance Fee – All of the bank’s deposit accounts do not have monthly maintenance fees.
- No Minimum Initial Deposit Requirement – Customers can open a Synchrony Bank savings or money market account with as little as $0. However, to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) money market accounts, there is a $250 minimum initial deposit requirement, while a minimum of $2,000 initial deposit is required for all CDs.
- A Variety of Credit Card Options – Synchrony Bank partnered with hundreds of retailers as well as healthcare providers around the country to offer to finance. This allows customers to purchase products and services now, and pay for them over time.
- 24/7 Online and Mobile Access – Synchrony Bank is an online- and mobile-only bank, which allows customers to access their accounts anytime, anywhere.
- Traditional and Roth IRA Accounts – Unlike other online banks, Synchrony Bank offers both traditional and Roth IRA accounts, which allows it to cater to a larger customer base.
- ATM Cards and Checks – For both savings and money market accounts, the bank offers an optional ATM card, which allows account holders to easily access cash in case the need arises. As for money market accounts, checks may also be requested.
WHAT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT SYNCHRONY BANK?
While we stated the things we like about Synchrony Bank in the previous section, to complete our Synchrony Bank review, here are some of the things we do not like about it or things that the bank can improve on in the future:
- No Checking Account Options – Unfortunately, Synchrony Bank does not offer to check account option. So, if you are looking for this specific product, Synchrony may not be the right bank for you.
- Limited Branch Locations – Although it’s nice knowing that Synchrony Bank does have physical branches, unfortunately, they’re only limited to one each in one each in Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, and Utah.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SYNCHRONY BANK REVIEW
Synchrony Bank is a solid online- and mobile-only bank that offers competitive rates on savings, the money market, as well as its CD accounts.
It is an ideal choice for people who want to earn a higher interest rate on their savings. More so, it is also ideal for consumers who want to open a credit card account because of the variety of options it provides.
Synchrony Bank is also a great choice for consumers who want to enjoy all these features without getting charged monthly maintenance fees. Also, to have access to ATMs without having to worry about ATM fees.
Given all the information we provided, do you think Synchrony Bank is the perfect online bank for you?