Synchrony Bank Review

Review of: Synchrony Bank
Synchrony Bank

Reviewed by:
On March 24, 2015
Last modified:March 24, 2015


An excellent online bank with no fees, account options, and industry leading interest rates in savings accounts and CDs.

Synchrony Bank is a newcomer to the online banking market, and it offers an interesting blend of old-fashioned and high-tech banking. Like many online banks, it runs on a lightweight business model so it can offer lower fees and higher rates of return. Unlike online-only banks like Ally, Synchrony has a physical location in Bridgewater, New Jersey.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to live in or near New Jersey to open an account with Synchrony.  You can take advantage of this bank’s award-winning CD rates and great Money Market accounts wherever you are in the US. This bank, formerly GE Capital Retail Bank (not to be confused with GE Capital Bank), has over $39 million in assets, and is FDIC insured.

Bank Highlights

Synchrony Bank offers several options for customers, and boasts an online storefront where you can choose which savings and checking options best suit you. The bank’s products include:

Optimizer +Plus High Yield Savings Accounts: This savings account is service-fee-free as long as you maintain an account balance of $50. Interestingly enough, Synchrony’s high-yield savings account APY (1.00% APY as of March 24, 2015, which is subject to change) is even better than its Money Market APY. It beats out Ally and Capital One 360 by quite a bit. And, again, you can manage your money here over the phone, online, or by using an ATM card.

Optimizer +Plus CDs: These CDs are known for their great interest rates. You can choose terms from 3 to 60 months, and open a CD with a minimum deposit as low as $2,000. Manage your CDs either online or over the phone.

Optimizer +Plus Money Market Accounts: Money Market Accounts with Synchrony are service-fee-free as long as you maintain a balance of at least $1,500. APY on all accounts, no matter the balance, is 0.85% as of March 24, 2015. Synchrony’s Money Market rates are comparable to those of Ally, First Internet Bank, and Sallie Mae. As with all Money Market accounts, federal regulations limit you 6 transactions per month. But the good news is that you can easily transfer money online, over the phone, or using an optional ATM card.

Optimizer +Plus IRA: If you’re interested in opening an IRA focused on stability over earnings, this is an option. You can open an IRA with Synchrony for just $250, or open an IRA CD with at least $2,000. The earnings for an IRA CD vary.

Perks: One of the interesting things about Synchrony’s Optimizer +Plus program is the Perks. With Synchrony, you can get rewards for more than just swiping your credit card. You can get travel-related perks for keeping a high balance with Synchrony or for remaining a loyal customer. Here are some of the perks you can get through the program:

Loyalty   About Us   Optimizer Plus   GE Capital Retail Bank1

Synchrony Bank Pros

Synchrony’s mostly-online business model means it can offer better rates of return for its customers. But there are other advantages to this online bank, too.

1. Excellent rates. The primary advantage of a Synchrony CD or savings account is the APY. The rates are competitive with those of other online banks, and Synchrony’s high-yield savings account beats out even the best-known online savings accounts out there.

2. Simple to open. You can open an account with Synchrony online in a matter of minutes. You just need your Social Security number and Driver’s License/Military ID/State ID Number.

3. Easy account management. Like other online banks, Synchrony operates mainly on an online account management format. But it also has a physical location that locals can use, as well as a customer service line that allows you to manage your account over the phone.

4. ATM reimbursement. The bank offers up to $5 in ATM reimbursements per statement cycle. This isn’t a lot, but Synchrony also focuses on savings accounts, rather than spending accounts. So you’re less likely to use the ATM for these accounts on a regular basis.

5. Free money market account checks. Avoid ATM fees altogether by using checks for your money market account, instead. Your first order is free when you open an account.

6. Easy transfer to another account. You can link your Synchrony account(s) with outside accounts so that you can easily transfer money between these accounts. It’s faster than a normal transfer or a mail-based transfer.

7. Easy IRA rollover. The phone representatives from the bank can help you rollover your IRA into a Synchrony IRA if you want. It’s a relatively easy process over the phone.


In spite of its great rates, Synchrony does have some disadvantages. Some of them are common to all online banks. Others are specific to Synchrony.

Problems with All Online Banks

1. Security threats abound. Synchrony, like all of today’s good online banks, takes measures to protect against security threats. But online banks – and even traditional banks with online components – are always somewhat vulnerable to security threats.

2. Transactions can take longer. Using your ATM card with Synchrony is exactly like using an ATM card with another bank. But putting money into your account or moving it to another account can take a bit longer. This is especially true if you need to mail in a check or get a withdrawal check in the mail.

3. Moving away can be complicated. If you decide you don’t like your physical bank, you can go in and quickly close out your accounts. This process with an online bank can be more complicated and can take longer. So don’t open an online-only banking account unless you really plan to stay with that bank – especially since banks like Synchrony charge monthly maintenance fees if your account balance gets too low. You can’t just pull out all your money and not deal with closing the account.

Things to Consider with Synchrony

Synchrony has some great rates for CDs and high-yield savings accounts. But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect. Here are some potential issues to consider:

1. No in-person service for most customers. If you’re used to in-person banking services, this may be a major hangup for you. If you do happen to live nearby to Synchrony’s one physical location, you can see a representative in person. Otherwise, you’re stuck to the internet and the phone.

2. Limited account options. Synchrony is a savings bank, not a full-service bank. So while they do offer some loans and credit cards, they don’t offer checking accounts. In order to transfer money between a checking account and an Optimizer +Plus account, you have to open a checking account elsewhere and link it with your Synchrony account.

3. Accounts do have fees. Synchrony’s fees are relatively easy to avoid, especially since you have to maintain just a $50 balance in your savings account to avoid that account’s fee. But, still, they’re not 100% free accounts like those offered by other online banks.

4. Limited IRA investing options. The Synchrony IRA is not your best option if you’re interested in stock and bond investing. It offers a set rate of return. And while the CD IRA rates are slightly better, they still won’t touch the historical returns of the stock market.

Bottom Line

Synchrony could be a great option if you’re looking for a place to stash your emergency fund. It’s low balance requirements and top-notch rates of return on high-yield savings accounts can’t be beaten. And its CD rates are good, too, so it could be a good option for a CD ladder style savings plan. Just keep in mind that it’ll take longer to deposit and withdraw your funds, and that you won’t be able to check in with your banker in person.

Visit Synchrony Bank for More Details

Published or Updated: March 24, 2015
About Abby Hayes

Abby is a freelance copywriter and blogger who writes on everything from personal finance to health and wellness. She spends her spare time bargain hunting and meal planning for her family of three.


  1. Steve Johnson says:

    Your review of Synchrony Bank has an error regarding the min balance required to avoid a fee on their High Yield Savings acct. The minimum balance to avoid a Five dollar service fee is Fifty dollars not Fifteen dollars as your article indicated

    • Rob Berger says:

      Steve, thanks for catching the typo!

  2. marcus says:

    Am having difficulties moving my money to my external account, and when i contacted the bank they told me they are reviewing my account. Am sick of this bank and need to close it down and what happens to my money.

  3. C Loft says:

    This bank is awful. Customer service is appalling. I emailed them from online account and they responded that I do not have an account (despite the fact that I clearly sent the message from the account after logging in..not to mention all of the paperwork I receive regarding said account). Bunch of idiots.

  4. Jim W says:

    Internet banking with Synchrony bank is difficult at best. After they changed the name from
    GE retail Capital Bank, we could not logon to our account (over two months) Calls to customer
    service were lengthy and confusing to both us and customer service with the final result being
    lots of paper work which was also difficult to get. We have not had this much problem with
    the three other internet banks and our accounts with them. We are now going to close our
    account with synchrony and go elsewhere. If you have choices I suggest you find another
    internet bank.

    • Rob Berger says:

      Jim, thanks for sharing your experience with the bank. Hopefully they’ve got the kinks worked out by now.

  5. Mike says:


    How many linked accounts does Synchrony allow? I love Ally Bank for the fact that they allow an unlimited number of linked account without needing to send voided checks (they verify using trial deposits). How does that experiecne compare in Synchrony?

  6. Blaine says:

    I use a third party provider to monitor my credit and balances on my account. Synchrony is the only bank that does not allow this provider access to my account. When I contacted their customer service, this is the response I received: “At this time, we do not provide access to Synchrony Bank account(s) via these third-party tools. Please know that protecting any personal information provided to us is one of our primary objectives, and we continue to work closely with these third-party service providers to ensure they meet data security standards and are fully compliant with regulatory requirements before enabling these sites to access your account details.”

    I have accounts with four of the top ten largest market share credit card issuers. They sync fine with my credit monitor company. Synchrony is a farce if they think that their standards are any higher than the other companies that hold 98.7% of the market share.

    And when presented with my issue, their customer service instructed me to send a fax or a letter. They refused to direct a manager speak to me. Lowes should sever all business ties with this company.

  7. Mark Smith says:

    The account opening process is horrible. Keeps giving you error for joint owners. Called four times. Only once the customer service was nice enough to address part of the issue. Two of the four customer service reps were clueless. Fourth time i was transfered to some other department to confirm a saving account opening, this individual talked and confirmed things so fast that it felt like he is going to take the money and run away….and never to be found again.

  8. John McKeating says:

    Hi Folks,
    Interesting article. I have had some difficulty with Synchrony. The interest rate charged on their Master Card was pretty high. I decided to do a balance transfer offer to another credit provider offering a 0 interest option. Synchrony sent the check back to the new bank without notifying me. Rather they (Synchrony) called me repeatedly requesting my normal payment and telling me I was late. Then the fifth person I spoke to told me they “don’t do balance transfers.” Their confusion and the arbitrary nature of not accepting a balance transfer was inconvenient and annoying. I’ll be closing the account. I don’t recommend this bank.

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