Synchrony Bank Review: High-Rate Online Savings

Synchrony Bank Review: High-Rate Online Savings

As an online bank, Synchrony offers strong interest rates on all its accounts at the cost of limited customer service options and fewer product choices.

Good for

  • People who want a high interest rate on savings
  • People seeking strong long-term CD options
  • People interested in banking rewards programs

Bad for

  • People looking for standard checking accounts
  • Customers who prefer in-person banking services
  • People investing in short-term certificates of deposit

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

Synchrony Bank is a good option for people who want a savings account or a money market account with strong interest rates. It lacks checking account products, which makes it less optimal as a one-stop banking choice. Synchrony also provides certificates of deposit (CDs) at rates which are much higher than the national average, and slightly better than other online-only banks on term lengths of 1 year or longer.

Should You Open a Synchrony Bank Account?

As an online bank, Synchrony offers strong interest rates on all its accounts at the cost of limited customer service options and fewer product choices.

Good For…Bad For…
  • People who want a high interest rate on savings
  • People seeking strong long-term CD options
  • People interested in banking rewards programs
  • People looking for standard checking accounts
  • Customers who prefer in-person banking services
  • People investing in short-term certificates of deposit

The Synchrony High Yield Savings account earns 2.05% APY on any amount, which is one of the highest rates you'll find on any savings account currently available. The Money Market account earns a lower 0.85% APY, but it might be worth considering if you want the ATM card for easier access to your balance, especially since Synchrony doesn't provide any checking accounts.

Synchrony's CD rates are also fairly competitive, especially in comparison to the CD rates found among brick-and-mortar banks. Other online banks like Ally come much closer to matching Synchrony in short-term CDs, but for term lengths of 1 year or longer, it's hard to find interest rates on CDs that beat Synchrony. People looking for a CD that will mature in 3 or 6 months may find better deals online.

One of the unique benefits that you receive with a Synchrony account is membership in Synchrony Bank Perks, a system of rewards for customers that keep up a relationship with the bank for some time. The reward tiers are unlocked with a combination of minimum balance and the duration of your relationship with Synchrony. They include discounts on hotel stays, car rentals and theme parks, as well as amenities such as spa, golf and restaurant deals. Programs like Synchrony Bank Perks are more common for credit cards than bank accounts, so this represents a unique value.

Synchrony Savings Account Features

While Synchrony doesn't have any checking accounts available, the savings accounts come with higher-than-average interest rates that might interest people willing to keep their checking account at a second bank.

Account NameDetails
Synchrony High Yield Savings
  • APY: 2.05%
  • Difference from National Average: +0.99%
  • Minimum Balance for APY: $0
  • Minimum to Open: $0
  • Monthly Fees: $0
Synchrony Money Market
  • APY: 1.20%
  • Difference from National Average: +0.77%
  • Minimum Balance for APY: $0
  • Minimum to Open: $0
  • Monthly Fees: $0

Most online banks offer just a few deposit account choices, and Synchrony is no exception. However, the options that are available come with good interest rates and few account fees, which are typically the two most important qualities in choosing a savings account. Both the High Yield Savings and Money Market account have APYs much higher than the national average, and they don't require any minimum balance level to earn those rates, which is a common part of other banks' tiered rate policies.

Ideally, savings accounts are meant to see as few withdrawals as possible, so having limited access to your balance because of Synchrony's online-only system can actually be a benefit, if it keeps your savings safe from your own spending impulses. The extra step of having a checking account at a completely separate bank may also help you to keep your savings plan on track until a truly necessary expense comes along.

Synchrony CD Rates and Terms

The rates on Synchrony certificates of deposit are among the highest available for terms between 12 months and 60 months, with a $2,000 minimum deposit required for each CD. Terms shorter than 12 months earn drastically less interest at Synchrony Bank, even when compared to standard savings accounts. Most people should opt for the 12-month CD, which earns a higher rate than the 18-month term and nearly as much as the 24-month CD.

CD Term LengthAPYVs National AverageInterest Earned on $10,000
3 months0.25%+0.14%$6
6 months0.41%+0.23%$21
9 months0.45%+0.20%$34
12 months1.95%+1.64%$195
18 months1.70%+1.31%$256
24 months2.00%+1.53%$404
36 months2.05%+1.43%$628
48 months2.20%+1.47%$909
60 months2.50%+1.58%$1,314

National Average obtained from FDIC Weekly National Rates. 9-month and 18-month national averages based on interpolation of other values.

How Does Synchrony Compare to Other Banks?

To find out how Synchrony matches up to other bank option, it's best to begin with a look at other online banks, whose product offerings are very similar to what's available at Synchrony. Brick-and-mortar banks provide better access to in-person service and a wider range of banking products, but they don't typically match the minimal fees and high interest rates of online bank accounts.

Synchrony vs. Ally Bank

As another online bank, Ally Bank's main advantage over Synchrony is its single checking account, which requires no monthly fee and no minimum to open. Synchrony's savings account offers a slight advantage over Ally's, but otherwise, the two options are very similar. In addition, those looking to invest less than $2,000 in a CD won't encounter any minimum requirements on Ally Bank CDs, unlike Synchrony.

Synchrony vs. Goldman Sachs Bank USA

Goldman Sachs Bank USA offers even fewer products than Synchrony, and its Marcus High Yield CDs and Online Savings Accounts provide the same rates across the board as Synchrony. You'd want to go with Synchrony if you need a money market account that lets you use an ATM card, but otherwise there is currently little difference in APY between these two online banks.

Synchrony vs. Bank of America

When you compare online banks to the biggest national banks, you'll find yourself having to choose between two different banking experiences. If you need a full-service experience that integrates your typical bank accounts with investing or financing large purchases, it's usually preferable to go with a bank like Bank of America, where you can walk into a branch and consult in person about such decisions. People who only need savings at good rates should begin their shopping at online banks like Synchrony.

map of Bank of America branches in the US, by county

Synchrony vs. Chase Bank

As with Bank of America, you'll need to weigh Chase's comprehensive in-person service against Synchrony's low-fee, high-APY online accounts. Chase Bank, like its largest competitors, markets a wide range of products meant for customers at different balance levels. Interestingly, the Chase CD minimum deposit is just $1,000, half of Synchrony's CD requirement, but the rates you'll find at Chase don't match up well to Synchrony on any term length.

map of Chase branches in the US, by county

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