Synchrony Bank Review 2022: 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 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 Bank offers several fantastic options for saving your hard-earned money, from the High Yield Savings account 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.
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 too long, 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 checking. 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 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.
One of the best things about Synchrony Bank is actually the simplicity of offerings. While choice is great, there is such a thing as too much of it. “Analysis paralysis” is a real phenomenon.
Synchrony Bank offers just one savings account option (High Yield Savings) and one Money Market option. If neither of those fit your needs, there’s also a CD (Certificates of Deposit) account that might do the trick.
The Synchrony Bank CD account offers an impressive range of interest rates, starting at 0.15% for a three-month term and running up to 0.85% for a 60-month term (CDs lock in your deposit and interest rate for a certain period of time).
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 penalties if you need to withdraw your money early.
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:
- Traditional and Roth IRA CDs
- Traditional and Roth IRA Money Market 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 accounts come 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.
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.
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
- 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. 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.
That really depends on what you need. If you need robust checking, then the answer has to be no — because Synchrony doesn’t offer any sort of checking account.
However, if an online bank with powerful savings accounts is what you’re after, Synchrony is fantastic. It has several excellent savings account options such as the High Yield Savings account with its 0.50% APY. For savings specifically, Synchrony is one of our favorite options. It also offers several credit card options.
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 (0.35% 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.
Penny Hoarder contributor Dave Schafer has been writing professionally for nearly a decade, covering topics ranging from personal finance to software and consumer tech.