Synchrony HOME Credit Card review

Synchrony HOME Credit Card review

Published: November 19, 2020
Published: November 19, 2020
Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
2.4 rating
2.4 rating
2.4 / 5
Rewards Value2.6
APR1.3
Rewards Flexibility2.7
Features1.0

In a Nutshell:

The Synchrony HOME Credit Card could be a useful financing tool if you’re facing a lot of expenses related to home goods or services. But deferred financing offers can be risky, and the card’s restrictive cash back scheme limits its long-term value.

Rewards Rate

2% back on purchases of less than $299 (at participating retailers)

Average

Sign-up Bonus

None

Poor

Annual Bonus

None

Poor

Annual Fee

$0

Excellent

Average Yearly Rewards ($1,325 monthly spend)

$318

Average

APR

29.99% (fixed)

Poor

Pros

  • Generous cash back rate on home goods and services purchases.
  • Long promotional financing offers, with no interest if balance paid off in full.
  • Choose from thousands of participating home goods retailers and home service providers.
  • Manage multiple promotional financing offers with a single card.
  • Cash back redeemed automatically.

Cons

  • Only earns cash back on purchases of less than $299.
  • Promotional financing offers use deferred interest.
  • Only accepted at home goods retailers and service providers.
  • Next to nothing in the way of cardholder perks
Average

Other Notable Features: Zero fraud liability, occasional deals and bonus financing offers available at MySynchrony.com

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If you’re in the midst of a home renovation, redesign or repair and find yourself spending heavily on home goods and services, the Synchrony HOME Credit Card could offer decent rewards value and payment flexibility – especially if you can’t qualify for a traditional cash back or 0% intro APR credit card.

Unlike many store credit cards, the Synchrony HOME card boasts a wide reach, allowing you to earn cash back and unlock promotional financing offers at thousands of brick-and-mortar and online retailers with a single card.

However, the Synchrony HOME card only gets you cash back on small purchases, and its promotional financing offers use a risky deferred interest model. While the card may be a fit if you need to juggle financing plans with multiple home goods retailers and service providers, it likely won’t carry much long-term value.

See related: Synchrony Bank credit cards

Solid cash back rate on select purchases

The Synchrony HOME card comes with a relatively straightforward cash back earning scheme: When you shop with participating retailers and service providers, you’ll earn 2% cash back in the form of a statement credit on all purchases under $299. Cash back is automatically redeemed within one to two billing cycles.

At a glance, this is a solid cash back program, rivaling the rate you’ll find on some of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market. Plus, the Synchrony HOME card should offer better approval odds than many of those cards. which typically require you to have an excellent credit history to qualify.

The catch is that you won’t earn any cash back on purchases over $299. Instead, larger purchases are eligible for promotional financing. This means that unless you frequently make smaller purchases with the Synchrony HOME card’s partner retailers, the card is unlikely to offer much rewards value in the long run.

Traditional cash back cards don’t usually limit on the amount of cash back you can earn in this way. The Citi® Double Cash® Card, for example, offers up to 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases), no matter where you buy or how much you spend. And while the Synchrony HOME card does not require you to redeem your cash back with a specific retailer (as is the case with many store cards), you won’t be able to claim “true” cash back in the form of a check or direct deposit to your bank account.

See related: Best credit cards for home improvement

Promotional financing on larger purchases

In place of cash back rewards, the Synchrony HOME card automatically gets you 6 months of deferred interest financing on purchases of $299 or more. Your purchases may also qualify for a deferred interest financing period of 12 to 60 months, depending on the promotions the retailer is currently offering.

While having the ability to pay off large purchases over time is more than welcome – especially given the high cost of home goods and services – deferred interest plans are rife with financial risk. If you can’t pay off your financed purchases in full by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be charged interest retroactively, going all the way back to the date of purchase.

A less risky approach may be to open a new credit card that offers a 0% introductory APR on purchases. These introductory offers do not use deferred interest, so you are only be charged interest on your remaining balance if you aren’t able to pay it off your charges in full by the end of the promotional period.

That said, most credit cards only offer an intro APR period of around 12 to 18 months, which starts when you open your card account – not when you make a purchase. One advantage of a financing tool like the Synchrony HOME card and other installment payment tools is that you may get much more time to chip away at your balance without paying interest.

You can also have multiple promotional financing balances from multiple retailers on your account at the same time, making the card especially useful if you’re taking on a big home repair or improvement project that involves many retailers and service providers. Your Synchrony HOME card monthly statement will show the balance for each financing plan, along with its expiration date. You can pay your balance off early and will only be charged interest if you do not pay off the relevant balance within the promotional period.

See related: Best credit cards for large purchases

Beware the steep APR

Be sure to have a debt payoff plan in place before you sign on to a deferred interest financing offer with the Synchrony HOME card. The card charges a whopping 29.99% fixed APR, which is almost double the average credit card interest rate. Indeed, 29.99% is high even compared to the rate you’ll find on many credit cards designed for people with bad credit.

Tip: If you feel you could benefit from a card that automatically puts your balance into an installment plan with a fixed monthly payment (obligating you to pay off your balance within a 12- to 60-month period, depending on your terms) consider the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards. You’ll have to pay some interest, but you won’t risk being charged interest retroactively.

Where to use the Synchrony HOME card

Most store credit cards are closed-loop cards, meaning they can only be used for purchases at a specific store or family of brands. The Synchrony HOME card, on the other hand, can offer a wide range of options thanks to a partnership with the Discover card network.

You can use your card at thousands of retailers in home-related categories such as art and décor, electronics and appliances, flooring, furniture and mattresses, home improvement, and outdoor, patio and garden goods. You can also use the card with participating service providers like carpet installers and home repair specialists.

Try out Synchrony’s store locator to see the online and brick-and-mortar stores and providers near you that accept the card.

Here’s a small selection of places that accept the Synchrony HOME card:

  • Big Sandy
  • Cardi’s
  • Carpet King
  • Carpet One Floor & Home
  • Conn’s HomePlus
  • FFO Home
  • Flooring America
  • HomeAdvisor
  • Jerome’s Furniture
  • La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries
  • Lovesac
  • Mattress Firm
  • Mattress Warehouse
  • Relax the Back
Tip: When you’re sorting through stores, be sure to note which benefits they offer for Synchrony HOME cardholders. While all participating retailers offer 2% cash back on purchases under $299 and 6-month promotional financing on purchases $299 and over, retailers that are designated “Synchrony HOME locations” may also offer 12- to 60-month promotional financing on qualifying purchases over $299.

Other Synchrony HOME Credit Card benefits

The Synchrony HOME card is noticeably lacking in cardholder perks. Along with the 2% cash back you’ll get on purchases of less than $299 and the special financing offers available at Synchrony partner retailers, the card’s biggest perk is the additional discounts and special offers related to home goods and services you can sometimes find at MySynchrony.com. These special offers can include additional cash back, financing options, free accessories and more.

You’ll also have $0 liability for unauthorized charges, the ability to request a credit limit increase and a mobile app that lets you check your balance, pay your bill and find participating retailers and deals.

How does the Synchrony HOME Credit Card compare to other cash back cards?

The Synchrony HOME Credit Card boasts a far wider network of retail partners than the typical store credit card – but its reach is still limited to the home goods and services domain. If you’re looking for more flexibility, consider these cash back cards – all of which come with no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn and offer outsized rewards in a variety of spending categories.

Citi Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Discover it Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards rate

Up to 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay off those purchases)

Rewards rate

  • 3% cash back on a category of choice (gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores or home improvements and furnishings)
  • 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases
  • $2,500 combined limit on purchases in 2% and 3% categories each quarter
  • 1% cash back on other purchases
Rewards rate

  • 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

.

Welcome bonus

None

Welcome bonus

$200 online cash rewards if you spend $1,000 in first 90 days

Welcome bonus

Discover will match all of the cash back you earn at end of first year of card membership

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Other things to know

  • $25 minimum cash redemption
  • Awards expire if card is not used for more than 12 months
  • Offers intro APR on balance transfers
Other things to know

  • Offers intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases
  • You can change your 3% bonus category selection once each calendar month
Other things to know

  • Offers intro APR on both balance transfers and purchases
  • No fee for first late payment
  • Includes free access to your FICO credit score

Citi Double Cash Card

Widely considered of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market, the Citi Double Cash card earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases). You can use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted, with no limit on how much cash back you can earn. The card also comes with a 0% introductory APR offer for 18 months on balance transfers (13.99%-23.99% variable thereafter), which could come in handy if you need to hit pause on interest charges and pay down debt.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

A popular “choose your own bonus category” rewards card, the Bank of America Cash Rewards credit card offers 3% cash back in a category of your choice and 2% cash back on grocery store and wholesale club purchases (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases, then 1%). Along with furniture stores and home improvement stores, 3% bonus category choices include gas, online shopping, dining, travel and drug stores. You can change your bonus category choice once per calendar month, making the card ideal if your spending habits change from month to month.

Discover it® Cash Back

The Discover it Cash Back gets you 5% back in an array of bonus categories that rotate each quarter (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in spending per quarter, then 1%). Discover cash back categories typically include spending at places like grocery stores and gas stations, as well as wholesale clubs, home improvement stores and online shopping at stores like Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com. Cardholders can also enjoy a 0% intro APR on both balance transfers and new purchases for the first 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR thereafter).

Why get the Synchrony HOME Credit Card?

  • You need to juggle financing plans with multiple home goods retailers and service providers.
  • You need a longer financing period than you’re likely to find with a traditional credit card that offers a 0% intro APR.
  • You frequently make small home goods purchases (of under $299) at Synchrony’s partner retailers.
  • You can’t qualify for a cash back or 0% intro APR credit card with a wider reach.

How to use the Synchrony HOME Credit Card

  • Use the card with Synchrony’s partner retailers for all purchases of under $299 to earn 2% cash back.
  • If you’re making a purchase of $299 or more but don’t need a financing plan, consider using a different cash back credit card instead of the Synchrony HOME card.
  • Use Synchrony’s store locator tool to find online and brick-and-mortar stores near you that accept the card, and be sure to check what sort of financing plans they offer.
  • Keep an eye on MySynchrony.com to see if you can find additional discounts and financing options.
  • Pay off your deferred interest financing plan balance before the end of the promotional period to avoid heavy retroactive interest charges.

Is the Synchrony HOME Credit Card worth it?

The Synchrony HOME Credit Card could be a big help if you need to finance large purchases across several different home goods stores or service providers. Not only will you have an easier time juggling multiple promotional financing offers, but you’ll also earn decent cash back on modest purchases. That said, deferred interest offers can be risky. Unless you’re positive you can pay off your balance in time, you may be better off with a card that includes a 0% intro APR on purchases and offers more long term flexibility and rewards value.

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