Review: Synchrony HOME Credit Card – Best for Home Goods & Furniture?
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The Synchrony HOME card offers up a unique value for consumers who are focused on buying lots of things for their homes. However, it’s only available to use at certain stores, and the financing offers are deferred interest rather than 0% APRs — so follow the repayment terms carefully.
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Synchrony Bank is a financial services company that offers various programs and financial products to consumers and businesses, including credit cards and bank accounts. The company also partners with several well-known retailers to provide store cards including the Amazon.com Store Card, Lowe’s Business Account, and Gap Credit Card.
One of Synchrony’s credit cards, the Synchrony HOME Credit Card, launched in early 2019 as a solution for homeowners and renters spending money on their homes and looking for discounts and special offers. The HOME Credit Card can’t be used just anywhere, but it is accepted at over one million locations nationwide.
Our Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
The HOME card may be pretty useful for the specific need (buying home goods), but for many there are better options.
Why We Like It
- Cardholders receive 2% cash back in the form of a statement credit for all purchases under $299.
- For purchases over $299, there are six-month promotional financing offers at over a million locations, plus 12–60 months promotional financing at certain locations.
- You only have to open one card to get promotional financing at a variety of stores.
- The promotional financing offers can be used over and over again.
- It’s a good option for leveraging special financing for those plentiful costs that new homeowners and renters often get hit with all at once.
Why It Could Be Better
- The promotional offers use deferred financing, so make sure that all payments are on time and the full balance is paid off before the deadline. If you don’t, you’ll be charged interest on the full balance going back to the purchase date (unlike 0% intro APR credit cards).
- No cash back on individual purchases over $299.
- You’re limited to shopping at Synchrony HOME Retailers, although there are over a million locations in the U.S.
There are two main promotional financing offers with the Synchrony HOME card, for purchases of $299 or more:
- Get six months of promotional financing at any store where you can use the HOME card.
- Get 12–60 months promotional financing on qualifying purchases at thousands of participating Synchrony HOME locations.
As with any deferred interest financing, though, you do need to be careful to make all payments on time and pay off the balance in full by the end of the promotional period. If you don’t, you’ll be charged interest on the full balance for the entire length of the offer.
You can always choose to pay off your balance early, for no penalty.
Example Promotional Financing Offer
If you don’t pay off your purchase in full and on time, the extra charges can really add up. The current APR for new accounts is 29.99% Fixed. If you make sure to pay off the full amount before the promotional period ends, you’re fine — you’ll get some extra time to pay at no extra cost.
However, here’s how the HOME card’s promotional financing offer could go bad:
- You buy a $1,000 loveseat with six-month deferred interesting financing, at 29.99% APR
- For six months, the interest that would normally be charged is deferred
- You pay $100 per month for those six months, leaving a $400 outstanding balance
- Since you didn’t pay off the balance in full, all the interest that was deferred is now charged to your account (about $112.46)
- The remaining $400 balance, plus the added interest charges (a total of $512.46) will now accrue interest at 29.99% APR
So, if you fail to pay off the balance by the due date, rather than getting the convenience of extra breathing room, you end up buying a sofa for way more than the sticker price. And now your final balance is subject to a very high APR, which will cost even more until you pay it off.
This is the danger of deferred financing, compared to typical 0% introductory APR offers, which are much safer. With a 0% intro APR for six months, for example, interest doesn’t accrue at all during those six months — it’s not deferred, it’s just not charged. Any remaining balance at the end of the six months will get the regular APR, but there are no retroactive interest charges to watch out for.
You get a statement credit on your net card purchases (any purchases minus returns and adjustments) for your cash back earnings. Like with most reward programs, only the actual purchase amounts qualify for rewards. That means fees and interest charges don’t earn cash back.
Since your rewards come in the form of a statement credit, you don’t have to do anything to redeem them. They’re automatically issued within one to two billing cycles after the qualifying purchases are made.
Your HOME card account must also remain open and in good standing (not delinquent) to get the rewards credited to your account.
Where Can You Use the HOME Card?
The Synchrony HOME Credit Card is accepted at over a million locations nationwide and numerous home-related stores online. You can find stores near you that accept the card using Synchrony’s HOME card store locator, or through the mobile app.
Here are some of the stores where you can use the HOME card:
Other benefits of the Synchrony HOME card include:
- Automatic processing on promotional financing: You don’t have to ask the store associate to take advantage of the offer. However, it’s still a good idea to confirm the terms before purchasing.
- Special offers and discounts: There are various home-related discounts and special offers available at different times on MySynchrony.com that may include additional cash back, other financing offers, or free accessories on items like carpets, furniture, electronics, and more.
- $0 fraud liability: Like many other credit cards offer; you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges as long as you contact the issuer quickly.
- Ability to request a credit limit increase: You will need to verify your annual net income for a credit increase, as it’s a factor in the decision.
- Mobile app: The card’s mobile app (available for iOS and Android phones) lets you check your balance, pay your bill on the go, locate participating retailers, and find deals.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Annual Fee|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $39||$28|
- Card approval: As with other credit cards, your Synchrony HOME card application is subject to credit approval; you’ll probably need at least fair credit, although card approval depends on other factors as well.
- Promotional financing terms: Subject to credit approval, and minimum monthly payments required. Promotional financing offers may vary by location, so check with the store you’re buying from for details.
- Tracking charges and promotional financing specifics: You can have multiple deferred financing offers active at once. The promotional summary box on your monthly statement will show the balance for each promotional financing purchase and corresponding expiration date.
Who Gets the Most out of the HOME Card?
As mentioned above, the HOME card offers the most to homeowners and renters who spend money on home purchases, and may want special offers and discounts on those items.
“Synchrony HOME cardholders are looking to compartmentalize their spend and this will help them do that on everything home-related,” explains Neeraj Mehta, chief executive officer, Payment Solutions, Synchrony. “The Synchrony HOME Credit Card gives customers more buying power and the cash back rewards they’re looking for to help meet their home ambitions.”
A Card Tailored to What Consumers Want
Independent research was conducted, on behalf of Synchrony, which shows the importance of financing to consumers. Synchrony’s 7th Annual 2019 Major Purchase Consumer Study found that radical simplicity is a key macro-trend recognized this year.
This is one of the many reasons Synchrony thinks consumers like the idea of having just one credit card for home goods. A financing option that works at more than a million locations nationwide, with only one account to manage and one monthly payment to make, aligns with the simplicity many consumers say they want.
An easy purchase process is becoming increasingly important, which is another reason that having one card for all things home (furniture, flooring, electronics, appliances, hardware, cleaning services, décor, art, etc.) is an appealing concept.
When surveyed, 86% of Synchrony cardholders said they feel promotional financing makes their large purchases more affordable. This can be very helpful when an unexpected expense hits like a refrigerator that needs replacing.
The HOME card also has special holiday offers, and may feature other seasonal deals throughout the year.
The Synchrony HOME Credit Card may be a good option if you need to buy a lot of things for your home, so you can reduce the immediate impact of multiple purchases and spread it out over time. If you want financing options, you only need to manage one card instead of multiple store credit cards.
But there are many other credit card options that can be used anywhere, with similar offers and rewards. You can use any 0% APR credit card to pay off purchases over time, for example; they come with better terms and won’t hit you with retroactive interest.
Many even come with rewards, that are applied along with the 0% offer. And, if you’re making many purchases from different stores, you won’t have to worry about a bunch of different financing plans — everything will be included in your purchase balance.
Alternatives to the Synchrony HOME Credit Card
If the HOME card doesn’t seem like the right fit for you, there are plenty of other credit card options to check out.
0% Intro APR Credit Cards
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For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
Ellen Sirull is a writer with over 15 years of experience, covering topics from personal finance to identity protection to credit and credit cards. Her work has been featured on CNBC, New York Daily News, Fox News, Yahoo! Finance, AOL Finance, Experian and the Identity Theft Resource Center. She enjoys spending time with her family and traveling as much as possible and is always thinking about how best to invest her own money for retirement and her family’s well-being.
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