Deal Summary: 1-Year CD (2.00% APY, $2k minimum); High Yield Savings Account (1.45% APY for all balances)
Synchrony Bank is the latest internet bank to come out with big rate hikes on its deposit accounts. Most noteworthy is the rate hike on the 12-month CD. Synchrony increased the rate 35 bps to 2.00% APY which takes the top spot for nationally-available 1-year CDs. Minimum deposit for the CD is $2,000. Synchrony also increased the rate of its High Yield Savings Account. The rate went up by 15 bps to 1.45% APY. The account has no minimum balance requirement or monthly service fee. Below is the full list of products that had rate hikes, showing both the old and new rates. All of the following CD rates require a $2k minimum deposit. The savings and money market accounts have no minimum balance.
- 1.45% APY Savings (was 1.30%)
- 2.00% APY 12-month CD (was 1.65%)
- 1.70% APY 18-month CD (was 1.45%)
- 1.85% APY 24-month CD (was 1.75%)
- 1.05% APY Money Market (was 0.85%)
- 1.95% APY 36-month CD (was 1.85%)
- 2.10% APY 48-month CD (was 2.00%)
- 2.40% APY 60-month CD (was 2.35%)
The above rates are effective as of 1/4/2018.
Thanks to DA reader buckeye61 for posting on these rate increases in the DA Forum.
High Yield Savings (HYS) Account
This 15-bps increase of the HYS account rate is the largest one-day rate increase since the bank made the HYS account competitive in 2013 (when Synchrony Bank was GE Capital Retail Bank). All the past rate increases since 2013 have been either 5 or 10 bps. It’s another sign that we may see internet savings account rate increases in 2018 that are closer to the 25-bps Fed rate hikes.
This rate increase continues Synchrony’s practice of being close to the rate leaders. It’s rarely the rate leader for internet savings accounts, but the HYS has a history of remaining competitive. Click on the “details” arrow in the following table to see the HYS rate history.
The HYS account has no minimum balance or monthly service fee. Synchrony Bank offers an ACH bank-to-bank transfer service that allows customers to link up to ten accounts at other banks. Once the link is established, the customer can initiate electronic deposits and withdrawals to and from those external bank accounts. According to a Synchrony CSR, customers can initiate ACH transfers at Synchrony Bank of up to $500k per transaction.
Money Market (MM) Account
Synchrony Bank’s MM account finally had a rate increase. The rate increased 20 bps to 1.05% APY for all balances. Before today, the MM rate had remained at 0.85% since early 2013 when MetLife became GE Capital Retail Bank.
Synchrony isn’t alone in keeping the MM rate low while increasing the savings account rate. We’ve seen this at several other internet banks. It makes some sense to have a higher savings account rate since savings accounts typically don’t have check writing capabilities. That is the case with Synchrony. If you want to write checks, the MM account is necessary.
An ATM card is available for both the HYS account and the MM account. Synchrony Bank offers up to a $5 rebate for non-Synchrony Bank ATM surcharges per statement cycle.
Synchrony Bank CDs
Synchrony Bank’s 12-month CD is now the rate leader for nationally available 12-month CDs. Ally Bank just ended its 2% 12-month CD on Tuesday. That lasted about two weeks. I don’t see anything on Synchrony’s website to indicate this is a limited-time offer, but like Ally, it might be temporary. The 2% for a 1-year CD is a milestone that is eye-catching (at least for savers who have been waiting out the zero interest rate environment).
In addition to the 1-year CD, Synchrony increased rates on five other CDs. The 5-year CD had the smallest increase (up 5 bps to 2.40% APY), but this remains the most competitive of Synchrony Bank’s CDs, other than the 1-year CD. The details of the current rates and the history can be seen in the following table. For the full list of Synchrony CD rates, please refer to the CD rates section of our Synchrony Bank page.
|2.40%||$2k||-||Synchrony Bank||60 Month CD|
|2.10%||$2k||-||Synchrony Bank||48 Month CD|
|2.00%||$2k||-||Synchrony Bank||12 Month CD|
|1.95%||$2k||-||Synchrony Bank||36 Month CD|
|1.85%||$2k||-||Synchrony Bank||24 Month CD|
|1.70%||$2k||-||Synchrony Bank||18 Month CD|
Synchrony’s CDs are also available as an IRA (Traditional or Roth) earning the same APY, with the same funding requirements.
Synchrony’s FAQs describe several important features of the CDs. Below are three FAQs on CDs that I thought would be worth mentioning:
Q: Can I withdraw my interest from a CD?
Any amount of interest paid during the current term of the CD can be withdrawn at any time without penalty
Interest can be transferred internally to a Synchrony Bank Money Market or High Yield Savings Account, a registered external account, or sent by check to the account address we have on file.
Q: Are there rate guarantees for CDs?
The Bank guarantees CD rates for 15 calendar days after the opening of the CD including the day the account was opened. This means that the opening deposit needs to be received and processed by the 15th calendar date. We will not go by the postmark date of a deposit. Once the account is funded, even before the 15 days is up, the rate is locked. However if the bank rates go up during the rate lock period, the Bank will give you the higher rate.
IRA CD rates are guaranteed for 60 calendar days as long as you are actively participating in the account opening process. This means all appropriate paperwork must be completed and that funding or appropriate account funding documents must be provided.
The 15-day rate guarantee does not apply to CD renewals, which receive the rate in effect on the renewal date.
Q: Is there an early withdrawal penalty for CDs?
An early withdrawal penalty may be assessed if you make a withdrawal prior to the CD maturity date, which is the last day of the CD term. The penalty is applied to the amount of principal withdrawn (no penalty on interest). The bank does not charge an early withdrawal penalty on a CD for the death of an account owner with proper verification.
- Terms of 12 months or less: 90 days of simple interest at the current rate.
- Terms of more than 12 months but less than 48 months: 180 days of simple interest at the current rate.
- Terms of 48 months or more: 365 days of simple interest at the current rate.
Additional Services for Deposit Account Customers
Synchrony Bank provides deposit account holders with complimentary Identity Theft Resolution Services through CyberScout which can offer assistance if you are ever a victim of Identity Theft.
Synchrony Perks Program offers additional rewards based on account balance size and the length of time you’ve been a customer. Diamond level is reached with a $250k balance or 5 years of tenure. Some of the perks that Diamond customers receive include three free wire transfers per statement cycle, a dedicated customer service phone number and unlimited ATM reimbursements.
Headquartered in Draper, Utah, Synchrony Bank is an internet bank that offers its services and product line to U.S. citizens and “U.S. lawful permanent residents” who are 18 years or older, have a permanent U.S. residential address, and possess a valid Social Security number.
Synchrony Bank accounts can be opened online, but IRA and Trust accounts require paper forms. Funding an account can be done with an electronic funds transfer. This is done by providing Synchrony with the account number and routing/transit number of an external bank account. If Synchrony can’t automatically verify your external account, it’ll use a trial deposit system. Once the online application completes, Synchrony Bank will mail a welcome kit within 7 to 10 days. The welcome kit includes a signature card that must be signed and mailed back. In addition, the welcome kit includes a deposit slip. If you decide to fund the account with a check instead of an online transfer, a check must be mailed with the deposit slip.
The online application can accommodate up to four beneficiaries per account. Unlike some other financial institutions, Synchrony Bank does not require Social Security numbers for beneficiaries: only name, address, and date of birth are necessary to add a beneficiary. CSR suggested having all information and documentation for the applicant and any beneficiaries on hand, since the online application is time sensitive and will time out if there’s a long period of inactivity.
Synchrony Bank has an overall health grade of “A" at DepositAccounts.com, with a Texas Ratio of 10.11% (excellent), based on September 30, 2017 data. In the past year, Synchrony Bank has increased its total non-brokered deposits by $4.07 billion, an excellent annual growth rate of 10.24%. Please refer to our financial overview of Synchrony Bank (FDIC Certificate # 27314) for more details.
Synchrony Bank can trace its origins to a brick-and-mortar institution, the Monogram Bank, USA, which was established in Ohio in 1988. From 1989 to 2014, the Bank moved its headquarters four times and re-branded five times, with the current name change occurring in June 2014. Prior to the name Synchrony Bank, the Bank was known as GE Capital Retail Bank, reflecting its tie to GE Capital, its parent company. In January 2013, GE Capital Retail Bank acquired the deposit base and online deposits business of MetLife Bank, N.A.
Currently, Synchrony Bank is the 33rd largest bank in the country with assets in excess of $75 billion and more than 2.7 million customer accounts.
How the Accounts Compare
When compared to similar length-of-term CDs tracked by DepositAccounts.com which are available nationally, Synchrony Bank’s 12-month CD ranks first.
|Interest Rate||CD Length of Term||Credit Union/Bank|
|2.00% APY||12-month CD ($2k min)||Synchrony Bank|
|1.95% APY||12-month CD Special ($50k min)||Advancial Credit Union|
|1.87% APY||12-month CD ($500 min)||USALLIANCE Financial Credit Union|
When compared to Savings Accounts and Money Market Accounts tracked by DepositAccounts.com that are available nationally, six savings accounts and three money market accounts have higher rates than Synchrony Bank’s HYS account rate. The table below shows the top three of these and how they compare with the HYS account.
|Interest Rate||Account Name||Credit Union/Bank|
|1.65% APY||Premier Savings ($50k min)||Colorado Federal Savings Bank|
|1.60% APY||Dollar Savings Account (no min)||DollarSavingsDirect|
|1.55% APY||Premier High Yield Savings Account ($100 min)||CIT Bank|
|1.45% APY||High Yield Savings Account (no min)||Synchrony Bank|
The above rates are accurate as of 1/4/2018.