Ben Todd | Apr 16, 2017 | 3
Synchrony Review – Are They As Bad As Their Online Reputation Suggests?
Synchrony is not a typical bank, but some people seem to use their accounts in a very frequent and daily manner. That wouldn’t normally be a bad thing except that Synchrony only offer savings accounts, which are not accounts you should play with on a daily basis. While researching this Synchrony review, we discovered that some people use their Synchrony account almost like a checking account, even though Synchrony does not offer checking accounts. The company even offers a fast-check cashing service, which is a little unusual for a savings account. After all, if you are having your check cashed quickly, one assumes you are not going to leave the money in the account as you would with a savings account. You could argue that people may want their checks cashing quickly so they may start earning interest right away, but Synchrony charges $25 for overnight check cashing. Our Synchrony review only mentions the banking/savings side of Synchrony and not the lending side.
Synchrony Review – Benefits And Features
- High APY rates on their savings account
- High APY rates on their CDs
- Jumbo CDs are available for people with more than $100,000
- Jumbo IRAs are available for people with more than $100,000
- Easily avoidable account maintenance fees
- A savings calculator may be used online for free
- No fess for returned items, cashiers checks or collection items
- No fees for photocopies, check copies and expedited card replacements
- You cannot overdraw on your accounts
- Eligibility requirements are rather low
Perks And Downsides
[+] Very good savings rates even for an online bank
[+] Fee free ATMs if you use ATMs in their network
[+] They reimburse fees up to $5 per month if you use another ATM network
[+] Their CD rates are rather good
[+] Use their savings calculators to see how much you may earn
[-] You cannot deposit money at their ATMs
[-] They only have one branch
[-] You cannot open a checking account
[-] High opening deposits for their CDs
[-] Their savings accounts have fees attached
[-] All of their high-rate claims come with a slew of terms and conditions
When conducting our Synchrony review, we found that they do not offer any sort of checking account. Synchrony isn’t a typical bank, and shouldn’t be used for anything other than saving. Do not have your wages paid into a Synchrony savings account because you may be charged a fee, especially if you are paid by wire transfer.
Synchrony offers a high savings rate, though it does come with fees, such as the fees you pay if you withdraw money from an ATM machine. Synchrony will give you a rebate of $5 per month to cover some of your ATM fees, and you may avoid a fee if you use ATMs within the Synchrony network.
They do not want you withdrawing money more than six times per month because a savings account cannot be legally defined as a savings account if users withdraw money more than six times per month. You will be charged a $20 fee if you withdraw more than six times per month.
To achieve the rates listed in the image above, you need a balance of $2000+, of $10,000+ and $25,000+. To open just a savings account, you will need at least a $30 opening deposit.
Certificates Of Deposit
Our Synchrony review found that the CD rates are truly high when compared to the top 50 banks in the US. However, that is not a ringing endorsement when the top 50 banks are all hybrid online and offline banks. Online-only banks such as Synchrony tend to have higher savings rates. Still, compared to many online banks, Synchrony is above average. You will need at least a $2000 opening balance if you want a CD with this bank.
They have a savings calculator, which we have marked below as one of their best selling points. One of the great things about it is that it shows you how much you will earn depending upon the monetary amount (number) you enter into the tool and depending upon the duration of the CD. It shows you how much you will earn if you create a CD for 6 months, 9 months, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48 and 60 months. It may not seem like much, but if you are a numbers person (like myself), it is a big selling point. Especially since the tool shows you the different rates you earn for leaving your money in for longer.
We don’t usually cover credit cards on our bank reviews, but we had to mention credit cards in our Synchrony review because they are taking a lot of bad press for their credit cards. If you go to the Synchrony website, you won’t see anything about credit cards. However, if you go on comparison websites, you will see a slew of credit cards that are offered by Synchrony.
There is the Synchrony website and a MySynchrony website. They are both the same company, but MySynchrony is their Synchrony Financial arm. This arm of the business is the one that sets you up with credit cards. We are not reviewing this side of their business because they work with partner companies, which mean when you borrow money with a card from Synchrony, you may not be borrowing Synchrony’s money. In many cases, Synchrony doesn’t even manage or administer the credit accounts.
Synchrony Review – Biggest Selling Point
I understand why this bank pushes its savings accounts so hard. It is because they have the lowest opening deposits, which means their target audience is larger. However, their CD rates for amounts over $2000 are better than anything their savings accounts can offer if you leave your money in for two years or more.
In addition, I found their savings calculator a very big help. The savings calculator had a bigger “selling” effect on me than all of the sales and marketing blurb on their website.
Synchrony Review – Fees And Charges
Boy oh Boy, do Synchrony like to hide their fees away until the last minute when you sign up. In the old days, I would have to use a web spider to find their hidden PDF documents, but these days I have Google so I could look at the fees two days before I signed up for my Synchrony account. Google is the best.
$5.00 Maintenance fee on your savings account if you don’t maintain a $30 balance
$25.00 Outgoing wire charge
$20.00 If you withdraw more than six times in one month
$25.00 Stop payment charge
$25.00 Overnight check fee
$0.00 – $9.00 Inbound wires
The outgoing wire charge is truly horrific, otherwise it appears that there are very few fees. This bank has very high opening deposit amounts, but they make it clear how much you have to deposit prior to opening your account because they won’t allow you to open the account if you don’t have the money.
Whom Should Take Note Of This Synchrony review?
A person looking to save large amounts of money in a CD. Some of their best rates are for people saving $100,000 or more. If you have a lot of money and you want to diversify your savings a little, then throw a few thousand into a Synchrony CD or high-yield savings account.
User Comments And Reviews
[+] If you live near one of the ATMs that are in the Synchrony network, then you should have no problem with fees.
[+] Their savings rates are rather good if you have a few thousand to invest. Otherwise, it may not be worth putting your money in their accounts.
[+] You may avoid many of their maintenance fees by maintaining a minimum balance, by not wiring money out, and by not withdrawing more than six times per month.
[+] If you put your money in there and don’t make a habit of using your account too often, then your experience will be fairly trouble-free.
[+] Their IRA savings options are very reasonable. You can also get a good rate if you try one of their “Jumbo IRA” with its minimum opening balance of $100,000.
[-] Some people have complained about the fact that they are told about the high savings rate, but then have to wait six months to because eligible for it.
[-] You may not receive confirmation emails which sometimes means you need to complete your online e-paperwork again in order to sign up.
[-] The customer service stinks and their voice recognition is very poor. They have developed it for use by complete idiots when most of its users are not.
[-] Miss a payment on your credit card and they will charge you fees that are almost as much as the payment you missed. They will also call you very frequently until the money is added.
[-] Many people have made complaints online about their website and its usability. Check recent complaints when searching for online reviews to find out if they have updated their website recently.
Conclusion – Synchrony review
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Our Synchrony review found that Synchrony is a perfectly good bank if you do these three things. Firstly, use their savings accounts as savings accounts and do not use their accounts as checking accounts. Secondly, put your money in there and forget about it for a few months, and you will experience fewer problems. Thirdly, avoid the credit/lending side of their business because it is mired with problems. Their online reputation is in pieces because of their credit/lending business and because of their piss-poor customer service. Synchrony has partnered up with every financial thug that waves their dollar-filled panties at them, so avoid their credit/lending side if you don’t want to end up another burned customer on yet another forum or review website.