Synchrony Bank Store Credit Cards are great for loyal customers who don't carry a balance
Admit it, you're branded!
You probably go to the same gas station most of the time.
And shop for food at the same store every week.
If you're like many people, you buy your clothes at one retailer more than others.
And you trust one website for buying all sorts of other stuff.
You know what works for you, and you stick with it.
But can you make that kind of brand loyalty save – or even earn – you money?
Loyalty can have its benefits. Synchrony Bank's store credit cards can do just that. Many of them are cards that can be only used in your favorite store.
Others are store-branded Visa, AMEX, or Mastercards you can use anywhere those cards are accepted.
What they all share are rewards, cash-back, and rebates at the stores you go to the most.
You also often get special deals, coupons, sales, and discounts for being a store cardholder.
The one catch is in the balance. Don't get one of these cards if you can't pay off your balance every month.
Store credit cards are notorious for having APRs that are through the roof.
Find another credit card with a better interest rate if you need to carry a balance.
One card might not be enough. But if you just want to benefit from your loyalty to your favorite stores, you can consider getting a Synchrony Bank store credit card.
Or several! Maybe one for gas, one for buying online, and one for shopping at your favorite retailer.
They are generally easier to get approved for (that's why the APR is so high!). And there are usually no annual fees.
So if you can keep all your balances paid, why not?
If there's a store Synchrony doesn't have a card for, check out Comenity Bank's store cards
Here is a list of the many, many businesses Synchrony Bank partners with for branded credit cards and store cards.
There are Synchrony Bank store cards for pretty much everything: gas stations, furniture and clothing retailers, and even automotive brands like Nissan have their own cards.
Are any of your favorite retail stores, gas companies, or online shopping sites missing from that list?
Odds are you'll find them on the list of company cards by Comenity Bank, Synchrony Bank's main store card competitor.
Synchrony Bank store credit cards are strong because they're tied to your favorite brands
Synchrony Bank's store credit cards are tailored to the cardholder.
The customer picks them because they know they'll be buying from the business a lot.
And the chance to earn and redeem rewards at your favorite gas stations, retail stores, and online shopping sites makes sense.
Many of the cards come with percentage discounts or cash-back when you buy from their business.
You'll often get connected with special deals, discounts, and promotions for being a cardholder.
As long as you're not paying interest on an unpaid balance, these cards can be an excellent choice for saving money.
Synchrony Bank store credit cards are weak because the APRs are ridiculously high
Do not carry a balance on a Synchrony store credit card. If you're thinking of signing up for a Synchrony store credit card and plan to carry an unpaid balance… Don't!
There are better ways to finance your needs.
The interest will be more than the savings. For example, in a moment we're going to look closely at the Texaco/Chevron Techron Advantage Visa.
It's a popular gas company Visa credit card from Synchrony Bank. Sure it will get you discounts at the pump. And you can earn cash-back. And there's no fee.
But if you carry a balance your APR is going to be 26.99%!
That means the interest you'll pay on an outstanding balance will be much more than what you can "save" and "earn" using the card.
This is just one of the important things to consider when you're determining whether a rewards program is worth it.
About the Company
Synchrony Bank is a spinoff of GE Capital
That was then…Before it was spun-off as its own company in 2014, Synchrony Bank operated as part of GE Capital.
That's the financial services department for the giant multinational corporation GE (General Electric).
…and this is now. Today GE Capital focuses on financing large industries like infrastructure, aviation, and energy.
Synchrony Bank is the #1 provider of branded credit cards, providing nearly half of all cards in the U.S. market.
Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa
The Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa is great for drivers and commuters
Fuel up and save more. One of the sectors that Synchrony Bank provides branded credit cards for are gas stations. Chevron/Texaco is one of the gas companies that offer a branded Visa card.
It's known as the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa.
It's great for drivers and commuters.
But there's some disappointment when you read the fine print about limits on earning fuel credit or cash-back.
Why you may need the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa
Long work commute or cross-country road-trippers rejoice. Do you find yourself filling up your car all the time just to get yourself to work every day?
Or are you a weekend road warrior who clocks a couple of hundred miles on the regular?
Have you noticed how often you fill up at Texaco or Chevron stations?
It's time to reap some rewards with the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa.
People love the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa because they can earn fuel credits
Redeem what you earn for fuel. This card actually gives you the chance to earn rewards that you redeem with the vendor.
They're called Fuel Credits and you spend them filling up at Chevron or Texaco stations.
Whatever credits you earn come off the gas purchases on your monthly statement.
A number of different ways to earn. You can earn the Fuel Credits a few ways.
When you use the card to buy gas at Chevron or Texaco stations, you get 3¢ per gallon in Fuel Credits.
You earn 10¢ per gallon when you spend $300 in a month on non-fuel-merchant purchases.
And if you spend $1,000 on the card in a month on non-fuel merchants you get 20¢ per gallon in Fuel Credits.
These non-fuel-merchant rewards are called Visa Spend Fuel Credits.
People hate the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa because of the limits and high-rate of interest
Read the fine print in-full. When you get approved for the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa you've signed up for a 26.99% APR interest rate.
And there are also limits on how much you can earn in Fuel Credits.
You can only earn a $300 maximum statement credit on the Visa Spend Fuel Credits you collect through non-fuel merchant spending.
Customers are doing the complicated math and learning that the benefits aren't worth it.
They probably could have found cheaper gas with another company.
And if they have to pay 26.99% interest, the Fuel Credits won't make up for the cost to carry a balance.
Where can you use the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa?
Pretty much everywhere. Because it's a Visa card you can use it anywhere Visa is accepted, including competitor gas stations.
If you only got the Chevron/Texaco store credit card you could only use it at those gas stations.
Do remember though that with the Visa card, rewards can only be accumulated at Chevron/Texaco stations!
If you like The Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa, you may want to check out Synchrony's BP Visa Credit Card
Serious gas pump discounts. The BP Visa Credit Card gives you 25¢ off per gallon on a BP gas purchase (up to 20 gallons) every time you spend $100 during the first 90 days.
After the intro period, you earn 15¢ off per gallon for every $100 you spend at eligible grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels.
You earn 5¢ off per gallon on all other Visa expenses.
But there's one rule: you just can't earn rewards at non-BP gas stations.
Smartest way to apply for The Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa
Apply online and start earning cash-back right away. You can apply for the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa online.
If you don't get approved, you'll automatically be considered for the store-only card.
Take advantage of the sign-up bonus when your application is approved.
You earn 5% cash-back on non-fuel-merchant purchases over the first 4 months.
But you can only get $25 maximum as a statement credit.
Amazon.com Store Card
The Amazon.com store card is great for people who buy a lot online
You get credit to buy on Amazon.com. The Amazon.com store card, unlike the last two examples, is a "store card" rather than a branded Visa, AMEX, or MasterCard.
That means you can only use the credit it offers to buy things on Amazon.
Fortunately, you can buy almost anything on Amazon these days and have it delivered to your door.
So having a card just for those online purchases is handy.
Why you may need the Amazon store card
You can't beat no-interest financing for up to two years. The other benefit of this particular store card is that you can get no-interest financing for 6, 12, or 24 months.
This promotional special financing is available on all purchases of $149 or more if you pay in-full during the promotional period.
If you spend $149-$598, you get 6 months of no interest (if you pay it off in 6 months). If you spend $599 or more, you get 12 months of no-interest financing.
And there are special offers of 24-month no-interest financing on special big-ticket offers.
So if you've had your eye on something you'd like to buy from Amazon but cash flow is an issue, the Amazon card could be your answer.
But make sure you pay-in-full during the payback period, or you'll get hit with the full interest charge.
People love the Amazon.com store card because Amazon Prime members can earn 5% cash-back
Prime-time for cash-back rewards. Amazon.com has a loyalty program called Amazon Prime.
People who pay the monthly $10.99 membership get free shipping and even same day delivery on some items.
Another benefit of being an Amazon Prime member is you get bumped up to the Amazon Prime store card if you sign-up for the Amazon.com store card.
You get to earn 5% cash-back reward points every day on all card purchases.
What you earn can go towards your statement credit or gift cards.
There's also no cap on what you can earn, which could mean earning quite a lot of Amazon.com cash rewards points if you use Amazon frequently or for big purchases.
People hate the Amazon.com store card because of poor customer service
You might pull your hair out trying to solve a problem. The Amazon.com site actually publishes reviews from its credit card customers, good and bad.
A one-star customer review suggested that the customer had no idea they were signing up for credit from Synchrony Bank when they got the Amazon Prime store card.
When there were problems with the store card getting declined for Amazon.com purchases, they tried to phone Synchrony Bank customer service.
What they experienced was hours and hours of hold-time and forward to various departments.
The problem was never resolved and they canceled their card.
Everyone wants to know what the interest rate is on the Amazon.com store card
The APR is super high so don't carry a balance. Although there are options for no-interest financing, it's important to know the interest you will be charged for other purchases.
And you'll also want to know what you're going to be charged if you don't pay in full during the no-interest promotional period. The Amazon.com store card charges 26.99% APR.
So once again if you need to carry a balance, this Synchrony Bank store credit card is not the best choice.
If you like the Amazon.com store card, you may want to check out the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card
The next tier of Amazon rewards. If you would like to still earn 5% on all Amazon.com purchases but would also like to use your credit card for other purchases, check out the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card.
This card is provided by Chase Bank, not Synchrony. It also earns you 2% cash-back rewards at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% on everything else.
The smartest way to apply for the Amazon.com store card is by taking advantage of the interest-free promotion
The smartest thing to do if you're going to sign up for the Amazon.com Store card is to take advantage of the 0% interest promotional financing offer.
If you're looking for a bigger-ticket item like a TV or high-end headphones, there are lots of products that qualify for the 24-month interest-free promotion.
Also, everyone who signs up for the card gets an instant $10 voucher to spend on Amazon.com.
Key Digital Services
The Synchrony Bank store cards online account portal is handy because it lets you manage your accounts online
Stay on top of your card activity. Every Synchrony store credit card comes with online access to your account.
For example, you can log in to your Amazon.com store card online account.
Or you can manage your Synchrony store credit cards through the mysynchrony.com site.
Synchrony Banks has also just introduced the MySynchrony mobile app for online account management.
Can I use my store credit card in a different store? You can only use a Synchrony branded store credit card at another store if it is a Visa, AMEX, or MasterCard.
If it is just a store credit card, then you can only use it in that store and its direct affiliates.
How can I cancel my Synchrony store credit card?You can't close your account online or through the app.
To cancel your Synchrony Bank store credit card you need to contact customer service at 1-866-396-8254.
Can I withdraw money or get a cash advance with a Synchrony store credit card? If you have a Synchrony Store Credit Card that is not a Visa, AMEX, or MasterCard you cannot get a cash advance or withdraw money.
If you have a Synchrony card that is a Visa, AMEX, or MasterCard then you can get approved for cash access.
However, as with most credit cards, you will be charged a cash advance fee.
For example, for the Chevron/Texaco Techron Advantage Visa, the charge is 5% ($10 minimum).
You also immediately get charged interest at a higher rate than for purchases.
The APR with the Texaco/Chevron Techron Advantage Visa is 29.99%.
With that card, cardholders can only get approved for cash access if they have a limit over $500.
How do you contact Synchrony Bank Store Credit Card services?
There is a toll-free number on the back of every Synchrony Bank store credit card and on every statement that you can call.
The customer service line is 1-866-396-8254,
You can also write them a letter at:Synchrony Bank, P.O. Box 965030 Orlando, Florida 32896-5030
There is also an online portal for sharing "compliments or concerns."
What credit score do I need to get approval for a Synchrony Bank store credit card?
Synchrony store credit cards are known for approving people with lower credit scores.
For this reason, these are great cards to get if you're trying to improve your score.
Approvals have been reported for the Banana Republic and Amazon store cards with scores in the low 600s.
How many cards can you have with Synchrony Bank?
There are literally dozens and dozens of Synchrony bank-branded store credit cards. You can apply for as many as you want.
But remember, every time you apply for a new card it will decrease your credit score.
Great for your brands, bad for long-term borrowing
Synchrony Bank Store Credit Cards are great for shopping with your favorite brands.
They are really convenient payment options, and you can usually gain cash-back or rewards points.
But these cards are definitely not recommended if you plan to carry a balance. You'd be much better off finding a bank credit card with a lower APR.
Do you use a Synchrony Bank Store Credit Card?
How has it worked out for you?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below!