Synchrony Bank Review
Published on: Thursday, December 17th, 2015
While Synchrony Bank may not be quite as well known as some of the Wall Street banks, it actually ranks as the fifth largest savings bank in the nation by deposits, and it has close to $38 billion in assets. Operating under the online name of Optimizer Plus, it is also part of General Electric, one of the largest corporations in the world (and a major player in several financial arenas such as leasing and financing of million-dollar equipment purchases and projects, making it an expert at matching customers’ needs with appropriate financing). GE will remain a significant investor in the independent retail bank, which plans to continue operations unchanged.
Interesting, perhaps, but what’s in it for you? In a nutshell, Synchrony Bank offers one of the best savings accounts on the Internet along with a suite of other competitive online products.
Online Banking Portal
Online banking consumers are savvy, comparing banks’ offers with a mouse click or two — and the Optimizer Plus website seems to acknowledge this fact. It is definitely one of the easiest to use: All of their main products are shown prominently on the home page, along with the most important rate information.
Their four main products are:
- High-Yield Savings Accounts
- Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
- Money Market Accounts
- IRA Investments
The website also highlights their Perks loyalty program, which offers discounts to theme parks, hotel and car rentals.
Navigating to the various pages is easy, and you never feel lost. Account holders also have a single portal from which they can manage all their accounts. If you prefer to go old-school, you can still call them and do all your business by phone.
High-Yield Savings Accounts
Synchrony Bank’s high-yield savings account offers one of the best online savings account rates. Plus, it’s quick and easy to open an account. And while most banks, whether online or brick and mortar, limit withdrawals to around six per month, Optimizer Plus online savings accounts offer unlimited withdrawals and full access to all ATMs worldwide.
It’s easy to conduct all your business over the Internet, but Synchrony Bank also offers full protection against identity theft. As long as you maintain a minimum balance of $50 or more, there are no fees. And you know it wouldn’t be one of the best high-interest savings accounts if it didn’t offer automatic FDIC insurance up to the legal limit of $250,000. It does.
Certificates of Deposit (CDs)
CDs are attractive because they offer better interest rates than even a high-interest savings account. Optimizer Plus CDs offer competitive rates with a wide range of maturities, from three months to five years, so you get the flexibility to pick a period that exactly matches your needs. As with all CDs, the higher interest rates are reserved for larger investments and longer maturities, but you may be interested in this special online-only rate being offered at the time of writing: a 15-month, $2,000 CD which pays the same interest as a 24-month $25,000 CD — definitely one of the best deals on the Internet. The minimum deposit is $2,000.
Money Market Accounts
Want to set aside a certain amount of money from your regular savings but don’t want to tie it up in a CD? An online money market account from GE Capital Retail Bank could be the perfect solution for you. Their interest rates are competitive and tiered — and like most other banks, the more you invest, the higher your interest rate.
Optimizer Plus allows you to write checks on your money market account, which turns it, for all intents and purposes, into a checking account … an interest-bearing checking account. So if you were using a money market account to, for example, save for that car you were planning to get, and a terrific bargain comes along, you could simply whip out your checkbook. Life can’t get much simpler than that.
The minimum balance requirement is $1,500 to avoid a $15 monthly service charge.
What’s the number one consideration when investing for your retirement? Security, of course. There is no safer investment than a Synchrony Bank FDIC-insured CD and/or money market fund for your regular or Roth IRA.
Unlike many IRA accounts, however, these have no annual fees, so you keep everything you make. And all the interest you earn is tax-free (Roth) or tax-deferred (regular IRA), so you don’t lose any of it to income taxes either.
The minimum balance to open an IRA CD account is $2,000, $250 for an IRA money market account. And, as with their other products, if you need to speak to a representative, you always have that option.
If you’re looking for a safe, convenient and competitive online bank, look no further than Synchrony Bank, or Optimizer Plus. It is one of the largest and safest savings banks in the nation, and all accounts carry FDIC insurance up to the legal limit of $250,000 per account. In addition, their website is one of the easiest to use and their offerings are among the most competitive of all online banks.
It’s a good idea to check their website regularly to see if they have any special offers for new accounts. Their customer loyalty program called Optimizer Plus Perks is another reason to give GE Capital Retail Bank your business. The longer you remain a customer, and the more you invest, the more perks you receive, starting with a free first order of money market checks. It’s a win-win situation.