General Electric (NYSE:GE) spun off its GE Capital credit card business into a new company called Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) in July 2014, but the products it offers remain the same. Chances are, if you have a few retail credit card accounts, you could already be doing business with Synchrony and not even know it.
About GE Capital Bank and the change to Synchrony
When most people think of the credit card business, issuers such as Chase, Capital One, Citigroup, and American Express come to mind. Although the names GE Capital and Synchrony might be more obscure, the company is among the largest in the credit card business.
In fact, Synchrony is the No. 1 issuer of store-branded credit cards in the U.S., and currently has more than 60 million customer accounts that combined to finance $103 billion in sales last year.
To reduce its exposure to the finance business, General Electric initiated a series of moves to separate this area of the company. That included the Synchrony Financial spinoff and renaming.
A vast array of credit products
Synchrony's portfolio includes both private-label cards (only usable at one business) and co-branded cards (with a Visa or MasterCard logo).
Here are a few of the industry giants whose credit cards are issued by Synchrony:
|American Eagle Outfitters||Chevron/Texaco||Home Goods||Sam's Club||Lord & Taylor|
|Amazon.com||Crutchfield||J.C. Penney||Sony||Phillips 66|
|Ashley Furniture||Dick's Sporting Goods||Lowe's||TJ Maxx||QVC|
|Belk||Gap||Men's Wearhouse||Wal-Mart||Sleep Number|
|BrandsMart USA||hhgregg||PayPal/eBay||Brooks Brothers||Rooms to Go|
Synchrony also offers the CareCredit card, which is designed to be a better option when paying for healthcare expenses than traditional credit cards.
The CareCredit card offers short-term no interest financing for up to 18 months on purchases of $200 or more, and offers a competitive 14.9% fixed interest rate for periods of up to 60 months. Unlike a standard credit card, when financing a healthcare expense with CareCredit, you'll pay the balance back in equal installments over a set amount of time (24, 36, 48, or 60 months). In short, CareCredit offers terms that standard credit cards are unlikely to match.
Plenty of no-interest financing offers
The previous discussion doesn't do the variety of credit products justice. Synchrony handles the financing programs of hundreds of businesses, big and small, and posts a directory of its best offers on its website.
For example, some of this week's best offers (as of this writing) include 36-month 0% interest financing at BrandsMart USA, 72-month 0% interest at Sleepy's, and $60 cash back when buying new tires at Midas. Here is the link to view Synchrony's current offers, as well as the full directory of businesses that depend on the company for their financing programs.
To sum it up, Synchrony makes many of the best "0% interest" deals possible, and offers a wide variety of credit products -- some of which you might already use. GE Capital's consumer credit division has a new name, but its industry leadership is alive and well.
Matthew Frankel owns shares of American Express and eBay. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, American Express, Chevron, eBay, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Capital One Financial, Citigroup Inc, eBay, General Electric Company, JPMorgan Chase, MasterCard, and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.