Live Oak Bank is an online-only Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured bank. It provides small business checking for freelancers, solopreneurs, gig workers, and microbusinesses, typically operations with:
- Five or fewer employees
- $50,000 to $500,000 in annual revenue
- Less than five years in business
It offers no monthly fees, free Business Bill Pay, and fee-free access to more than 55,000 Allpoint ATMs. It also gives out a high-yield annual percentage yield (APY) for its business savings and business certificates of deposit (CDs) and has excellent financing solutions for small businesses that want to expand their operations.
How Live Oak Bank Stacks Up With Its Competitors
Cash Deposit Fee
Minimum Opening Deposit
Small Business Checking
None; doesn’t accept cash deposits
None at over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs, operator fees apply for nonnetwork
Innovator Business Checking
Tiered up to 2.25%
None; doesn’t accept cash deposits
Fee-free withdrawals at 45,000 MoneyPass and SUM network ATMs
$4.95 per transaction via Green Dot retail locations
None at MoneyPass locations; $2.50 for nonnetwork
*Bluevine is a financial technology (fintech) platform backed by and FDIC-insured through a supporting bank partnership with Coastal Community Bank.
When Live Oak Bank Is a Good Fit
- You’re a solopreneur, gig worker, or freelancer wanting to save on monthly fees: Live Oak’s small business checking doesn’t charge monthly maintenance fees, so you’re spared from allocating extra funds to maintain fixed balances.
- You have a newly formed business seeking to earn a cash bonus: You can earn $150 when you open a new Live Oak business checking account, plus an extra $150 if you also open a business savings account. Read the qualifying conditions before proceeding.
- Your business needs can be satisfied by purely online banks: Opening and managing an account, including depositing checks, paying bills, and transferring funds, is done online. Live Oak Bank is also among our best online business banks for providing a high-yield business savings account.
- Your business has plenty of excess funds: While Live Oak’s small business checking doesn’t offer APY, you can still obtain an industry-leading APY by opening a Live Oak business savings account. Learn more about its outstanding features by reading our Live Oak Business Savings review.
- You’re looking to apply for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan: Live Oak is considered one of the top SBA lenders for small businesses. Also, according to the bank, it’s the #1 SBA 7(A) Lender by dollar amount for the fiscal year 2022.
- You accept payments via Venmo, Square, PayPal, or Stripe: Since Live Oak Bank doesn’t allow cash deposits and has no physical presence, it’s suitable for small businesses that prefer an online mode of payment.
When Live Oak Bank Is Not a Good Fit
- Your business is cash-intensive, requiring in-person deposits: Live Oak Bank doesn’t have brick-and-mortar branches, making it difficult to make cash deposits. You can consider opening an account with Chase for its nationwide branch services. To learn which Chase account fits your needs, read our in-depth Chase Business Checking review.
- You prefer to maximize free outgoing wires: While Live Oak doesn’t charge for receiving wires, it does collect a hefty $19 when you send wires. Mercury, a fintech solution, is a great option for fee-free incoming and outgoing wire transactions. Our Mercury Business Checking review covers its features and shows how it can help you save with fee-free transactions.
- You want to earn APY through a business checking account: Even if Live Oak’s small business checking has excellent features, it lacks an APY. You can opt for Bluevine, which offers 2.0% interest for qualified checking accounts. Our Bluevine Business Checking review provides more details on how it stands out from competitors.
Check out more recommendations in our guide to the best small business checking accounts.
Live Oak Bank Small Business Checking Overview
Live Oak Bank Small Business Checking Requirements
To open a business checking account at Live Oak Bank, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Full name
- Current address
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Citizenship status
- Mobile number
- Email address
- Employment status
You’ll also be asked if you’re a present or past foreign senior political figure and whether you have an immediate family member or close associate considered as a past or present foreign senior political figure.
In addition, you’ll be required to furnish your business information, Articles of Organization documents, business employer identification number (EIN), and an external bank account number and routing number. Check out our guide on how to open a business bank account for a checklist of commonly required bank documents.
Live Oak Bank Small Business Checking Features
Live Oak Bank’s business checking account features a debit card, access to the Allpoint network, a cash bonus for new business accounts, and online and mobile banking.
Free Debit Card
Business owners are provided with a secure debit card. It’s covered by fraud protection under Mastercard Zero Liability Policy, limiting your risk exposure to unauthorized transactions. You can also place it under card lock to freeze the usage without disabling the processing of your recurring transactions. For debit card transactions, the POS purchase limit is set at $2,500 per day.
Fee-free Transactions at 55,000-plus Allpoint Networks
Live Oak Bank is a partner of Allpoint Network, allowing clients to access more than 55,000 ATMs for free conveniently. The daily ATM withdrawal limit is $1,000; however, you can request an increase by contacting customer service.
Online & Mobile Banking
Clients with checking accounts can access Live Oak’s online and mobile banking system. Through the mobile app, you can deposit checks, view bank statements, pay bills, and transfer funds easily by linking with an external bank account.
Users of Live Oak Bank’s mobile app gave a 2.9 out of 5 rating on the App Store and a 3.4 out of 5 on Google Play. Positive reviews mentioned reliability and ease of use, but some users stated that the app remains buggy with check deposit issues.
For inquiries and assistance, Live Oak has Customer Success Managers to attend to clients. They can be reached by calling (866) 518 0286 or by requesting support from Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Further, the bank provides additional information through its resource center.
Other Live Oak Bank Business Products
Live Oak Bank offers high-yield business savings and CDs, including small business loans.
With its high-yield APY rate of 4.00%, Live Oak Bank’s Business Savings account is among our top picks for the best savings account for small businesses. It has no monthly fees, opening deposit, or minimum balance requirements. Note that the rate is subject to change without notice. To start earning interest, customers must maintain a 1-cent balance.
To maximize interest earnings, clients can choose to open Live Oak Business CDs. With a six-month CD term, your business can earn 4.50% APY, while the highest featured rate is 4.80% for a one-year term. The rate is set lower at 2.0% for 18-month to five-year CD terms. The minimum balance for CDs is currently set at $2,500, while the maximum balance is $250,000 per account. No monthly fees are collected for CD products but it’s subject to early withdrawal penalties. Rates current as of March 16, 2023.
Small Business Loans
Live Oak Bank extends small business loans in the form of SBA, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and commercial financing starting at $150,000. Clients have an opportunity to buy an existing business or franchise, build businesses from scratch, or scale operations. A business analyst is assigned to your business to assist with loan details and deliver business insights.
The bank can create a customized loan package and mix SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 loans with lines of credit and other conventional loans.
Live Oak Bank Business Checking User Reviews
|Customer-friendly approach||Wire transfer delays|
|Fast transfers to external accounts||Security issues|
|Solid online platform||Limited customer service hours|
On DepositAccounts, Live Oak Bank earned a rating of 3 out of 5. The clients stated that the customer service team is knowledgeable and responsive and that communication is smooth when inquiring about bank products and rates. Further, they said that the online platform is reliable, with quick external fund transfers of up to six figures reflected the next day.
However, some complained about wire transfer delays, saying the bank has complicated requirements. There were also security concerns, with some clients having mentioned that the bank requests sensitive login information to be typed on the website to link external accounts.
Live Oak’s small business checking lets business owners experience convenient digital banking and save on monthly fees and withdrawal fees when using Allpoint ATMs. It also offers a bonus when new business accounts are opened. What’s more, the bank provides self-employed individuals and freelancers access to lending and high-yield savings and CD products. If you don’t own a cash-reliant business requiring branch deposits, Live Oak Bank is a great banking partner for your business growth.