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Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account 2020 Review

| Money Rates Columnist.

synchrony-bank-savingsSynchrony Bank is one of several financial institutions offering online savings accounts in addition to credit cards.

Like other FDIC-insured online banks that offer high-yield savings options, Synchrony features competitive rates for savers who want to grow their money as quickly as possible.


Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account Essentials

Check out the main highlights of opening a high-yield savings account from Synchrony:

  • Earn a competitive APY with no minimum-balance requirement
  • Make withdrawals online, by phone or at an ATM
  • Manage your account from anywhere with digital- and online-banking access
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Get refunded up to $5 of domestic ATM withdrawal fees per month

MoneyRates Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

When looking at online savings accounts, it's always helpful to consider the benefits as well as potential downsides. Here's a quick list of pros and cons associated with the Synchrony Bank high-yield savings account.

Pros:

  • APY is one of the highest rates for online savings
  • No minimum-balance requirements to worry about
  • No monthly maintenance fee or other service fees to detract from interest earnings

Cons:

  • Some online banks offer higher rates on high-yield savings accounts

Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account Rates

Like other online savings accounts, the Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account comes with an annual percentage yield (APY) that's well above the national average of 0.9%.

Compared to a brick-and-mortar bank, Synchrony Bank's interest rate is quite competitive. The reason it offers a higher APY is simple: Online banks can afford to pas on higher rates to savers compared to traditional financial institutions owing to their lower overhead costs.

But is Synchrony Bank's High-Yield Savings APY the best you can get? Not necessarily.

There are some online banks that offer even better rates for online savings. BrioDirect, UFB Direct and and Live Oak Bank are all examples of banks that offer higher APYs as an incentive to open an account.

But it's important not to focus just on rates. Things like how easy it is to open an account, whether you'll pay monthly maintenance fees and how easy it is to access your money are also important to consider when choosing an online bank.


Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account Monthly Fees

Synchrony Bank charges no monthly maintenance fees for high-yield savings accounts. No monthly fee is a very good thing, since that means no added costs eating into your interest earnings.

You're more likely to run into monthly maintenance fees with brick-and-mortar banks and credit unions. While they can offer work-arounds to avoid fees such as maintaining a minimum balance or scheduling direct deposits, saving with online financial institutions like Synchrony means you don't have to worry about any of that.


Other Savings Account Fees

Synchrony Bank is fairly light on fees. As far as other account fees you might pay go, there are few.

For example, Synchrony doesn't charge you any fees for ATM access, though you might pay a service charge to the bank that owns the machine. If that happens, Synchrony Bank refunds up to $5 in domestic ATM fees you pay for eligible savings customers every statement cycle.

There's a $25 fee for outgoing wire transfers, though. However, if you don't typically transfer money from savings that way, you shouldn't have to worry about that.

Besides that, there are no other service fees. You should keep in mind that, even though there's no minimum-balance requirement, keeping a balance of $0 for 60 days or longer could result in your account being closed.


More Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account Features & Benefits

This high-yield savings account doesn't come with a lot of extra bells and whistles. For example, you don't get an interest rate boost for having other accounts at Synchrony the way some banks offer.

But you do get one thing that a lot of other online banks don't have, and that's ATM access to your savings.

When you open a high-yield savings account (or a money market account) with Synchrony, you have the option to get an ATM card. This card can be used anywhere in the U.S. or abroad at ATMs displaying the Plus or Accel logos.

Remember, Synchrony won't charge you an ATM fee - but the ATM operator might. If you're enrolled in Synchrony's Perks Rewards program and have Diamond status, you can take advantage of the $5 monthly refund on ATM fees.

Aside from that, there are a couple other ways to access your money:

  • Schedule electronic ACH transfers online
  • Schedule electronic ACH transfers by phone
  • Wire transfer money from your account to another bank

Keep in mind that you're limited to six withdrawals per month under federal regulations. Synchrony won't charge an excess withdrawal fee if you go over that limit; but if you make it a habit, the bank can close your account.


Are There Other Ways to Save with Synchrony Bank?

Aside from the high-yield savings account option, there are other ways to manage your money with Synchrony Bank, including:

  • Certificates of deposit
  • IRA CDs
  • Money market accounts
  • IRA money market accounts

Synchrony Bank CDs

Synchrony offers certificates of deposit with terms ranging from three to 60 months. Rates increase as the CD term gets longer.

There's a $2,000 minimum deposit to open a CD, but there are no monthly maintenance fees. There is an early withdrawal penalty for taking money from a CD before it matures. The penalty is equivalent to a percentage of your interest earned, based on how long your CD has been open and the term.

Synchrony Bank IRA CDs

IRA CDs combine the security of a CD with the tax advantages of an IRA. Synchrony Bank offers IRA CDs at competitive rates, again with a $2,000 minimum deposit. The same early withdrawal penalty applies to IRA CDs, plus making early withdrawals could also subject you to IRS tax penalties.

Synchrony Bank Money Market Account

While Synchrony doesn't offer checking accounts, you can get check-writing abilities with a money market account. The APY on money market accounts isn't as high as the APY for high-yield savings but it's still better than what you could get with most brick-and-mortar banks.

There is no minimum-balance requirement to open a money market and no monthly maintenance fees. And you're still subject to the six withdrawals per month rule, the same way you would be with a high-yield savings account.

Synchrony Bank IRA Money Market Account

The IRA money market account is similar to the IRA CD in that it's a money market account with the tax benefits of an IRA.

This one has no minimum deposit or monthly maintenance fees, plus you can choose between a traditional or Roth IRA account based on your needs. With a traditional IRA CD or money market, your contributions are generally tax-deductible. A Roth IRA CD or money market would allow for tax-free distributions in retirement.


How to Open a Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account

If you're ready to start saving with Synchrony Bank, the process is fairly straightforward. Here's what you need to open an account:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email number
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Account number and routing number for the bank from which you want to transfer your initial deposit

You can open an account online, which may be the fastest and easiest way to do it. You can also open your account over the phone if necessary.

Once your account is open and you've made your initial deposit, you'll start earning interest right away.

You can check your account balance, make a balance transfer between your Synchrony accounts, view transaction history and schedule transfers to accounts at other banks through the mobile app or online banking.

Customer service is available by live chat, phone or snail mail if you need help or have questions about your account.


Is a Synchrony Bank High-Yield Savings Account Right for You?

The Synchrony Bank high-yield savings account could be a solid choice for saving if you want to earn a great rate with no monthly maintenance fees. There are some online banks that offer higher rates on savings; but Synchrony is still worth considering, especially if you're interested in opening a money market account or CDs to grow your savings as well. You'd just have to keep your checking accounts at a separate bank since Synchrony doesn't offer them.

The fact that you can access your savings via an ATM card is a nice benefit you don't always get with savings accounts, either online or from brick-and-mortar banks. So as you compare other banks to what Synchrony has to offer, remember to consider convenience as well as the APY and fees.

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