Live Oak Bank Review

Is Live Oak Bank a good bank?

Hands holding and using a mobile phone.
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Live Oak Bank is a relatively new online bank with attractive savings rates. Incorporated in 2008, the bank initially focused on lending to veterinary practices and is still predominantly a small business lender, though for a broader range of industries. It also offers savings products for both consumers and small businesses. Read the review below to decide if Live Oak is the right place for your savings.

What We Like
  • No monthly fees or minimums to earn an attractive rate on high-yield savings accounts

  • Clear and simple explanations of accounts and fees

  • Business savings accounts with no monthly fees or minimums

What We Don't Like
  • No checking or money market account for spending

  • No live customer support on weekends

Who Is Live Oak Bank Best For?

Live Oak Bank offers plenty of resources for small businesses as well as competitive rates on consumer deposits. Unlike some of the largest online banks, Live Oak doesn’t provide spending accounts, but it has a friendly, modern feel without trying too hard to show you how hip it is. The Wilmington, North Carolina-based bank may be a good fit if you:

  • Want to earn a competitive rate with an online savings account
  • Like the idea of building a CD ladder with above-average rates
  • Already have a primary checking account
  • Want to avoid maintenance-type fees on your business savings account
  • Want help with funding your business
  • Don’t need access to brick-and-mortar banking services

The Live Oak Bank mobile app allows you to view accounts at other banks, so you can use it as a dashboard to monitor all your account balances and transactions in one place. Plus, you can deposit checks with your camera.

What Does Live Oak Bank Offer?

Live Oak Bank has a narrow savings focus on the consumer side: 

  • Savings account
  • Certificates of deposit

Online Savings Account

Live Oak’s high-yield Online Savings Account is a no-frills account with a competitive interest rate that beats established players like Ally Bank and Capital One 360. Sure, Live Oak doesn’t have a checking account as part of its banking package, but the APY on the savings account may make up for it. Here is an overview:

  • 0.85% APY
  • No minimum deposit required
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Mobile check deposit
  • You can link to external banks, deposit paper checks, or wire money to fund your account
  • You can access funds with electronic transfers to an external bank
  • Available online only

Two cautions: Since this is a savings account, federal regulations limit you to six withdrawals per month. If you exceed six, you will incur a $10 fee for each additional transaction. In addition, if you have a balance of $10 or less and no activity for 24 consecutive months, Live Oak will charge a dormant account fee of up to $10 and close your account. You can meet the “activity” requirement by logging into your account, depositing money, or taking withdrawals.

Live Oak’s high-yield savings rates have been relatively consistent over time, unlike banks that jump in and out of contention. While there are even better rates available right now—check out our list of the highest-paying savings accounts to find them—it’s nice to know this bank’s rates aren’t prone to dramatic swings.

Certificates of Deposit

CDs from Live Oak Bank are competitive with many online banks, and they allow you to lock in a rate and, in some cases, earn slightly more than with the savings account. For all CDs, you must start with at least $2,500.

Live Oak Bank CD Rates
Term APY
6-Month 0.65%
1-Year 0.65%
18-Month 0.65%
2-Year 0.70%
3-Year 0.70%
4-Year 0.80%
5-Year 0.80%

Like most banks, Live Oak Bank may assess an early-withdrawal penalty if you cash out of a CD before it matures. These penalties are fairly straightforward at Live Oak Bank:

  • For terms of less than two years, you’ll pay 90 days worth of interest
  • For terms of two years or more, you’ll pay 180 days worth of interest

Other Financial Products From Live Oak Bank

  • Business savings accounts
  • Business certificates of deposit
  • Small business loans (with a focus on industries including agriculture, pharmacy, and health care)

Live Oak Bank Customer Service

For deposit customers, customer service by phone is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. If you need a bank with weekend service or 24-hour availability, Discover Bank, Ally Bank, and others might be worth a look.

How to Bank With Live Oak Bank 

To open an account, visit LiveOakBank.com or call 866-518-0286. As with any financial institution in the U.S., you’ll need to provide personal information to open a bank account.

The Bottom Line

BENEFITS

Even if Live Oak Bank doesn’t offer the highest savings rate out there, the APY has been consistently competitive, making it pretty easy to just forget about your savings stash and continue to earn a decent rate. Plus, with no monthly fees and no minimums required for the savings account, it’s a no-fuss option for even beginner savers.

DRAWBACKS

Live Oak’s deposit accounts are similar to those from the earliest online banks: The earnings are attractive, but it can take some patience when it comes time to spend your money. There’s no checking account for paying bills or making purchases, and you don’t get a debit card for cash withdrawals. 

Article Sources

  1. Live Oak Bank. "Our Difference is Your Advantage." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  2. Live Oak Bank. "High-Yield Online Savings." Accessed March 27, 2020.

  3. Live Oak Bank. "Certificate of Deposit." Accessed March 27, 2020.