Time flies. It wasn’t long ago when I was trying to figure out where Synchrony Bank came from since the firm came out with an online banking offering. Fast forward a few years and an IPO later, the company not only has a solid online savings product but they are also the largest private label credit card provider in the U.S. based on purchase volume and receivables.
Synchrony Financial grew out of GE Capital, the financial arm of General Electric. It used to be called GE Capital Bank but they rebranded themselves to Synchrony in 2014 to decouple from GE Capital’s battered image during the financial crisis. As a consumer though, none of this would matter all that much because after all, the CDs and savings accounts are FDIC insured up to the limit.
What really matters is how the bank performs on a day to day basis. Here’s my review.
The No Minimum is Nice
There’s absolutely no minimum to have an account with Synchrony Bank. Many of you won’t care much since there’s no point to having an account if there is no minimums, but having no minimums is great because it allows me to have the account open and just hop to whichever bank has the highest rate. What I do now is just have accounts open at a few online banks and just ACH the money to whoever has the highest rate at the time. It’s easy, convenient and earns me some chump change for almost no work at all.
Mobile Banking Works Fine But There’s No App Yet
Synchrony Bank obviously lets you bank with your smartphone but there are no indications that there will be a dedicated app from them anytime soon. I’ve tested the website on my phone and everything works fine but I also don’t really bank much on my phone. This is something to take a note of if you bank heavily on your smartphone and want the convenience of an app.
Get an ATM Card If You Must
I would never get an ATM card for saving accounts because I don’t want to access my cash that easily, but the option is there for those who want one. Note though that you are still limited to six withdrawals a month because of Federal Regulation D (FRB 12 CFR 204.2 (d)(2)). Synchrony doesn’t charge a fee for consumers who go over the limit, but they will probably close the account if you repeatedly violate the rule.
I Love Mobile Deposit!
I really have to thank the online banks for this innovation because the lack of branches is pretty much what prompt all major banks to develop mobile check deposit technology. Anyway, Synchrony Bank currently allows $5,000 per day to be deposited into its accounts and you can bypass the ACH setup if you just use mobile deposits. You can probably also fund the account a little bit faster if you just fund the account at the beginning using a check too, but we are again talking about a few days difference.
Trust Accounts and IRAs are Accepted
Unlike Goldman Sachs Bank which we discussed earlier, you can setup trust accounts with Synchrony Bank. IRAs, whether it’s a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, are also of course accepted.
Editor’s Note: Just to be clear, Goldman Sachs Bank also allows IRAs. It’s just trust accounts that aren’t supported at this time.
They also offer CDs and a money market account, available in trust and IRA account types. The rates are competitive there too.
Think of the Benefits Before You Sign Up
Yes, applying is easy and there’s essentially no hurdles to get everything up and running, but make sure you are fully aware of why you want to get an account in the first place. Is it to get a higher rate? Do you just want to switch because you dislike who you currently use for liquid savings? Are you hitting the FDIC insurance limits or do you just want to diversify a bit in the rare case that something goes wrong? Getting another account won’t cause that much of pain, but just make sure you will actually make use of it because more accounts equal more time to keep track of them all.
For those who still want to sign up, (or want to explore the details further), then click here to go to SynchronyBank.com. They are, after all, a solid choice for those who need some place to park their cash.
So… what do you think of Synchrony? Are you a customer? Will you sign up?