Synchrony Bank Review 2023: Pros and Cons
- High-interest savings accounts
- Fee-free banking
- Strong mobile experience
It might not be much of a stretch to say that saving is more important than ever these days. With so much uncertainty in the air, having some funds tucked away for a rainy day definitely can’t hurt. If those funds can continue to grow, even better.
That’s where Synchrony Bank shines. With several highly-competitive savings account options, all with no monthly service fees, it’s a fantastic online bank choice for people looking to start saving or expand their options.
However, Synchrony Bank is an online bank, with no physical locations. It also doesn’t offer a checking account option though you can write checks from the money market account.
Are the strong savings accounts worth having to potentially bank with multiple institutions? You will have to be the judge and our review should help you make that decision.
Synchrony Checking Account
Synchrony Bank’s biggest downside is that it doesn’t offer a checking account. The closest you’ll get is the Money Market account. This may work for some people, but if you prefer to use one of the best checking accounts, you’ll have to split your money between two banks.
Synchrony Savings Accounts
Savings accounts and their variations are the primary products Synchrony Bank offers. They have several fantastic options for saving your hard-earned money, from High Yield Savings accounts to money markets and CDs.
Synchrony High Yield Savings Account
- Excellent APY
- No minimum balance
- Multiple ways to access your money
Synchrony Bank refunds ATM fees from other financial institutions to help ensure you can always access your money when you need it, up to $5 per statement cycle or an unlimited amount for a higher status in their rewards program.
It’s also easy to get money into your High Yield Savings account, despite the lack of physical locations. Naturally, you can make transfers from other Synchrony Bank accounts, but you can also perform electronic transfers from other linked accounts, including non-Synchrony accounts. Another convenient option is mobile check deposit using the Synchrony bank app.
One caveat with the account is that if the balance sits at zero dollars for more than 60 days, it can be subject to closure. However, we don’t anticipate that being a major problem for most people.
Synchrony Money Market Account
- Competitive interest rates
- No minimum balance requirement
- Write checks from Money Market account
The Money Market account is a solid blend of savings and checking — you can write checks from the account, so the money is a bit more liquid than a standard savings account. However, it also earns more interest than a typical checking account.
If you’re hoping to keep all of your money with one bank and really like Synchrony, this is the closest you’ll get to a checking account that they offer. That said, it’s not really a true substitute, so you’ll need to keep that in mind.
The primary differences with the Money Market accounts compared to the High Yield Savings are a slightly slower APY on the Money Market, with the upshot being that you can write checks directly from the account — something you can’t do with the High Yield Savings. This makes your money even more accessible.
Like the other Synchrony Bank accounts, there are no fees with your Money Market account. Overall, this is a fantastic option if you expect to need to tap into your savings a bit more often than normal.
Synchrony Bank offers just one savings account option (High Yield Savings) and one Money Market option. If neither of those fit your needs, there are also a few CD (Certificates of Deposit) accounts that might do the trick.
CDs are relatively safe investments, with fixed rates and a predictable return. That makes them a solid choice for your first investment account, though even seasoned investing pros shouldn’t write them off! The only real catch is that there are typically penalties if you need to withdraw your money early.
Synchrony Bank has a vanilla CD account that does all the things CD accounts typically do, you offer up a sum of your money to lock in an interest rate for some time. Synchrony also offers two other different CD accounts than their vanilla option.
Synchrony Bank Bump-Up CD
Synchrony’s Bump-Up CD has the same perks as a lot of Synchrony bank accounts. It requires no minimum balance and offers a solid interest rate — 3.70% right now. The difference between this account and the vanilla account is that with the Bump-Up, you are locked in for 24 months. During these two years, you are allowed to increase the rate once. So it can be a slightly advanced option if you believe you can get a higher rate at a later time, but want to open an account now.
Synchrony Bank No-Penalty CD
Synchrony’s No-Penalty CD account has the usual benefits of a Synchrony account — no minimum balance and a solid interest rate of 3.50%.
The difference between this and the other accounts includes the length of time for the CD account, which is 11 months. The main difference beyond that is that it has no early withdrawal penalty that is associated with other CD accounts, which is usually why people opt for savings accounts without such penalties over a CD account. It also allows you to withdraw your money at any time after six days of funding the account. So, perhaps the best use of this account is as an emergency fund. So if an emergency comes up, you can pull the money out without any penalties, and earn more money than even a typical high yield savings account.
Synchrony Bank Vanilla CD Interest Rates
The vanilla Synchrony Bank CD account offers an impressive range of interest rates, starting at 2.25% for a three-month term and running up to 4.50% for an 18 or 19-month term. Oddly enough, after 19-months, the next available term is 24 months with a of 4.30%. This lower interest rate from the 18 or 19-month term is available for up to 60 months.(CDs lock in your deposit and interest rate for a certain period of time, making it relatively inaccessible, but providing a guaranteed return.) The chart below provides all the current terms with their current interest rates including the two other unique.
Synchrony CD Interest Rates
11 months No-Penalty CD
24 months Bump-Up CD
Synchrony is also known for its credit card offerings. It partners with hundreds of retailers to provide credit options. If you have a branded credit card, there’s a good chance it’s through Synchrony.
You can also apply for a MasterCard credit card directly through Synchrony — the Premier card option offers unlimited 2% cash back and has no annual fee. There are other tiers available, as well:
- Synchrony Premier World MasterCard
- Synchrony Plus World MasterCard
- Synchrony Preferred MasterCard
While we don’t rate banks based on credit cards or loan options, it’s worth noting in this case since Synchrony is so pervasive in this area. The credit options are nice if you want to keep as many accounts as possible under one umbrella. Just make sure to follow smart credit card practices.
IRAs and Roth IRAs
Finally, Synchrony offers several IRA accounts:
These IRA and Roth IRA accounts all offer similar interest rates to the other Synchrony Bank accounts — meaning, they’re very competitive. They’re all solid options for a retirement account.
Synchrony is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to convenience. Your savings account comes with online banking, a useful mobile app, and all the other modern bells and whistles you’d expect.
There are also multiple ways to get money into and out of your accounts, including electronic transfers from other accounts, ATM cards for withdrawals, and optional checks for the Money Market account.
That said, there are no physical branch locations, which is going to make Synchrony a tough sell for some. This means you can’t make a cash deposit, and you can’t speak to someone in person if you have questions or need assistance. While this won’t be an issue for many, it’s definitely worth noting.
The Synchrony Bank mobile app is quite good. It’s available for both iOS and Android and offers a clean layout that makes it easy to get an overview of all your accounts. The app supports an array of features that make banking easier, including:
- Widgets for displaying your balance conveniently.
- Fingerprint and facial recognition unlock.
- Mobile check deposit — just take two pictures of your check and deposit it in seconds.
- The ability to ask Siri or Google Assistant for your balance.
- Live chat with Synchrony support. This might help make up for the lack of branches for some users.
- Dark theme — While not directly making banking easier, is an accessibility option that can make it more comfortable.
Overall, the app is one of the nicer banking apps we’ve tried, and it adds a lot to the experience of banking with Synchrony.
One of the best aspects of Synchrony is the almost complete lack of fees. None of the savings or money market accounts have monthly service fees or annual fees attached, and the bank even reimburses ATM fees incurred from other financial institutions. The only notable fee is for withdrawing principal funds from a CD prior to its term ending, and even that has an exception if you chose the no-penalty account.
Synchrony Bank Review: The Pros and Cons
We’ve put together pros and cons about Synchrony Bank so you can decide if it’s the right bank for you.
- Excellent savings options
- No minimum balance
- Large variety of credit cards
- No monthly fees
- More options on CD accounts
- No physical locations
- No checking account
- No real small business options
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Synchrony Bank
We rounded up the answers to the most commonly asked questions about Synchrony Bank.
It’s not especially difficult to get approved for credit with Synchrony Bank. The store cards tend to only require a fair credit score, and are generally easier to get than the unbranded Synchrony MasterCards.
There’s no approval process to open a savings or Money Market account like there is with credit cards, so your credit score won’t matter here.
Synchrony was originally owned by GE Capital Retail Bank, and as such fell under the GE umbrella. However, a few years ago, Synchrony Bank was moved over to Synchrony Financial, a financial services company. It separated from GE in 2015. That means it's now a separate financial institution.
However, if an online bank with a powerful savings account is what you’re after, Synchrony is fantastic. It has several excellent savings account options such as the High Yield Savings account with its 3.75% APY. In fact, for savings specifically, Synchrony is one of our favorite options. It also offers several credit card options that are worth looking at.
Synchrony is as safe as any other bank. Synchrony is a member of the FDIC, so all of the deposit accounts are FDIC insured for up to $250,0000 per ownership category. Additionally, Synchrony requires two-factor authentication to sign into the website and app (those text message codes many accounts require), so your online presence is much more secure against fraudulent logins.
Not at this time, no. The closest you can get at the moment is the Money Market account, which offers check-writing capability and a competitive interest rate (2.25% APY). That said, there is the potential that Synchrony might offer checking in the future. According to the bank’s FAQ page, it “may offer additional types of accounts for more transactions as well as new ways to save” in the future. If that’s the only thing holding you back, it’s worth checking in from time to time.
No, Synchrony Bank doesn’t charge fees for any of its savings accounts or Money Market accounts. It even reimburses ATM fees from other financial institutions.
Penny Hoarder contributor Dave Schafer has been writing professionally for nearly a decade, covering topics ranging from personal finance to software and consumer tech. Freelancer Dennis Lynch contributed to this report.