Live Oak Bank Review

Straightforward, simple banking with higher-than-average interest rates

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Live Oak Bank was founded in 2008 and has its roots in lending to small businesses in specialized industries. It’s since expanded to include personal deposit accounts. An online bank, Live Oak is headquartered in Wilmington, N.C.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Decent interest rates 

  • No monthly maintenance fees

  • No minimum amount to open an account and no minimum balance 

Cons
  • No bells or whistles

  • No debit card

  • No ATM access

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 2005
  • Official Website www.liveoakbank.com
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, CDs
  • Customer Service Phone line: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST): 1-866-518-0286

Pros Explained

  • Decent interest rates – As of August 7, 2020, Live Oak Bank features a 0.85% annual percentage yield (APY) on its savings accounts, which is considerably higher than the 0.06% national average rate for deposit accounts as of July 6, 2020. However, this rate is a bit lower than some of the most popular online banks out there.
  • No monthly maintenance fees There are no monthly account fees. However, if you keep a balance that falls below $10.01 and your account is inactive for 24 months straight, you’ll be charged a dormant account fee. This fee will be either $10 or whatever remains in the account—whichever is less.
  • No minimum amount to open an account and no minimum balance – You don’t need to put money into this account to have it. However, do remember the time limit of 24 months of inactivity that could trigger a dormant account fee and reset your balance to zero.

Cons Explained

  • No bells or whistles This could potentially be seen as a positive. For those who want to bank with a financial institution with robust products and services, Live Oak Bank probably seems a bit lacking. However, for those who want a straightforward and simple option, it could fill the bill nicely.
  • No debit card As Live Oak Bank is primarily for those who are looking for a deposit account, you won’t be able to make purchases with a debit card.
  • No ATM access – As an online-only institution, Live Oak doesn’t have brick-and-mortar locations where you can access your funds.

Who Is Live Oak Best For?

Live Oak Bank should appeal to consumers who are looking for a digital bank in which to stash their cash and earn some interest. It’s particularly fitting for those who:

  • Want to do without monthly maintenance fees 
  • Don’t want to worry about minimum balance requirements 
  • Want a safe option to grow their money in a liquid account 
  • Are looking for a bank in which to park their money 

What Does Live Oak Bank Offer?

Live Oak Bank offers one thing and one thing only: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-backed deposit accounts.

High-Yield Online Savings

Live Oak Bank’s high-yield savings account has a more than acceptable 0.85% APY. Account holders don’t have to worry about paying a monthly maintenance fee, nor are there any minimum balance requirements. However, fee-free banking ends there. If you go over the six transactions per monthly statement cycle, you’ll get dinged with $10 per transaction. The nonsufficient funds fee is $25, and returned items cost $10. Should there be a stop payment, you’re looking at coughing up $25. 

High-Yield CDs

CDs provide a means to save your money for a given period of time. They typically have higher interest rates than savings accounts, meaning your money can grow faster. Live Oak Bank’s CDs don’t have any monthly account fees. The terms are anywhere from six months to five years. However, the amount you need to open a CD is $2,500, and the maximum balance is $250,000.

There is a fee if you need to pull money before the CD matures. The early withdrawal penalty is a portion of the interest earned, and it depends on the length of the CD. For CDs with a term that’s less than 24 months, the early withdrawal penalty is 90 days of simple interest. For CDs with a term that’s over 24 months, you’ll be charged 180 days of simple interest.

What happens once the term of the CD ends and the CD matures? It will automatically renew for the same term at the current interest rate. You do have the option to withdraw your money from your CD, and you have 10 calendar days after the maturity date to do so.

The Live Oak Bank terms and rates for CDs are:

Live Oak Bank’s High-Yield CD Rates
Term Rates
Six Months 0.65% APY
One Year 0.65% APY
18 Months 0.65% APY
Two Years 0.70% APY
Three Years 0.70% APY
Four Years 0.80% APY
Five Years 0.80% APY
(As of August 7, 2020)

Other Financial Products Offered by Live Oak Bank 

As for personal accounts, Live Oak Bank only offers savings and CDs. 

Live Oak Bank Customer Service 

Live Oak Bank’s customer support team is available by phone during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

How to Bank With Live Oak Bank 

Accounts can only be opened online, and you’ll need the standard information, such as your contact information, Social Security number, and additional documentation to verify your identity. You’ll also need to provide the info for an external bank to transfer your money to your new account.

Verdict

Live Oak Bank is a simple, no-nonsense option for those who want an FDIC-protected deposit account that earns a higher-than-average interest rate. It’s also a strong choice for those who are comfortable with online banking—using the app or logging onto their computer for everything from opening an account to transferring money between accounts.

The lack of monthly maintenance fees is also an attractive feature. However, if you’re looking for a CD with low minimum requirements, Live Oak Bank’s $2,500 can be an impediment for those who don’t have that much to stash away for a longer stretch.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of banks. We collected more than 20 data points across more than 80 banks—including products available, interest rates, fees, and accessibility—to ensure that our content helps users make the right decision for their savings and banking needs.