What Is Synchrony Bank, and Are Its Credit Cards Right for You?

The issuer has a few standout cards in its portfolio. But customer satisfaction isn't Synchrony's strong suit, and its retail cards — like most others — have drawbacks and restrictions.
Jae Bratton
Jaime Hanson
By Jaime Hanson and  Jae Bratton 
Edited by Kenley Young

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Synchrony Bank specializes in co-branded store credit cards, offering a range of options for consumers looking to make purchases, earn rewards and build their credit.

Because store credit cards tend to have lower qualification standards than general purpose cards, many Synchrony Bank credit cards are appealing to borrowers looking to build credit. But generally, store cards feature drawbacks such as low credit limits, high annual percentage rates, limitations on where you can use them and restrictions on how you can redeem rewards.

And Synchrony specifically tends to earn poor ratings from cardholders. For instance, in a 2022 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey that included around a dozen of the largest credit card issuers, Synchrony was ranked next to last.

Still, Synchrony Bank has a large portfolio of credit cards based on relationships with many retailers, and some of its cards are better and more useful than others. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular cards from Synchrony’s credit card portfolio.

Synchrony-branded credit cards

Though it's best known for its co-branded credit cards with specific retailers, Synchrony also carries some credit cards directly under the Synchrony name. The most heavily marketed of those include the following $0-annual-fee cards, which can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted:

  • The Synchrony Premier World Mastercard®, which offers 2% cash back on every purchase to individuals with excellent credit (FICO scores of 720 or higher).

  • The Synchrony Plus World Mastercard, which is designed for those with at least good credit (scores of 690 or higher) and earns 1% cash back on every purchase.

  • The Synchrony Preferred World Mastercard, which is the bank’s credit-building card, offering a variable APR and no rewards to individuals with fair credit (scores of at least 630).

Of those cards, the Synchrony Premier World Mastercard® is the standout: The ability to earn 2% back on all purchases puts it among the best flat-rate rewards cards on the market. However, unlike some competitors, you'll need excellent credit to qualify, and there are no upfront incentives, such as a sign-up bonus or 0% intro APR offer.

Synchrony also has branded cards for specific shopping needs. These cards can each be used at specific retailers, and they offer special financing terms like deferred interest:

  • Synchrony HOME offers promotional financing with a variety of home goods and home improvement retailers.

  • Synchrony Car Care can be used on certain car repairs and gas purchases.

  • Synchrony's CareCredit Card is offered in many doctor's and dentist's offices, as a financing vehicle for medical expenses not covered by insurance.

  • Synchrony Outdoors is designed for purchases of power sports vehicle accessories, parts and service. Power sports vehicles are excluded.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Note that the deferred interest financing available on many Synchrony credit cards doesn't work like a true 0% intro APR offer (in which interest is waived — not deferred — during the promotional period). With a deferred interest offer, if you haven’t fully paid off your balance before the promotional term ends, you’ll owe interest on the full amount of the transaction, retroactive to the purchase date.

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Synchrony co-branded credit cards

Some of the following co-branded cards are "closed loop" products, meaning they can be used only on purchases with that co-branded partner. Others, though, are "open loop," meaning they can be used anywhere that accepts credit cards.

Lowe's Advantage Card
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MyLowe’s Rewards Credit Card

Die-hard DIYers may gravitate to the MyLowe’s Rewards Credit Card for one main reason: Cardholders get a 5% discount on purchases when paying with the card in full at checkout. The card also features deferred interest on eligible purchases, but note that these two offers can’t be combined.

Either benefit could help you finance expensive home improvements or repairs.

Synchrony Bank Sams Club Mastercard Credit Card
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Sam's Club® Mastercard®

With the Sam's Club® Mastercard®, members of the popular warehouse club can earn 3% cash back on dining and an even better 5% at gas and EV charging stations. That makes it one of the best gas credit cards on the market. It’s also a decent pick for those with a Sam’s Club Plus level membership, with less impressive rewards for base-level members.

The card comes with a variety of rules and rewards caps, so maximizing its value can take some work.

PayPal Cashback Mastercard
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PayPal Cashback Mastercard®

The PayPal Cashback Mastercard® earns 3% cash back on any purchase made with PayPal, but a ho-hum 1.5% cash back on all other purchases. Still, considering the widespread acceptance of PayPal, especially online, the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® could be a lucrative card indeed for the right shopper.

Note that if you don't already have a PayPal account, you'll need to open one to get the card. Also, the card doesn’t offer much in the way of upfront incentives.

Venmo Credit Card
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Venmo Credit Card

Holders of the Venmo Credit Card can earn excellent reward rates with very little effort. The card automatically gives you 3% back on your top spending category for the month (from a list of eight), and 2% on the next highest spending area (from one of the remaining seven eligible categories). You'll get 1% back on all other purchases. This feature allows for a customized yet seamless experience.

You'll need to use the card in tandem with the Venmo app, though. So as with the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®, you'll need to have a Venmo account first.

Verizon Visa® Card

If your goal for a credit card is to minimize your cell phone bill, the Verizon Visa® Card is an excellent option. You'll enjoy high reward rates on popular categories, including 4% back at grocery stores and gas stations. But those rates are undercut a bit by limited redemption options: Rewards can only be redeemed toward Verizon purchases such as a new phone, a monthly cell phone bill or on travel booked through Verizon’s travel portal.

Direct cash back isn't an option, nor does the card offer cell phone insurance.

Examples of other Synchrony co-branded cards:

Is a Synchrony credit card right for you?

Synchrony has no shortage of store credit cards, some of which could be useful for you if they align with stores where you frequently shop. And because store credit cards are usually easier to get than other general-purpose cards, they can help you build credit.

Before applying, though, it's crucial to weigh those benefits versus potential drawbacks, like high APRs and limited rewards redemption. For many consumers, a store credit card that can be used at only a handful of merchants is too restrictive. In that case, a general rewards credit card is more versatile. Synchrony offers some of those cards, too, and they can be solid choices depending on your spending habits.

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