Oaken Financial Review 2022: High Interest on Savings and GICs

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This Oaken Financial review takes a closer look at the products and services offered by the online bank to Canadians.

Online banks continue to become the best alternative to traditional banks in Canada because of their convenience and low costs. And if you’re looking for a reliable and trustworthy online bank to handle your finances, Oaken Financial is a great option. 

Since its inception in 2013, Oaken Financial has proven to be a top digital bank with its high-interest savings account and competitive GIC rates.

But is this the perfect online bank for you? What are the best alternatives to Oaken Financial?

In this Oaken Financial review, I discuss everything you need to know about the bank including how it compares with other online banks in Canada.


Who is Oaken Financial?

Oaken Financial is the online banking arm of Home Trust Company, one of the largest reputable independent trust companies in Canada that has been in existence for over three decades.

The award-winning online bank is the trademark of Home Bank (formerly, CFF Bank), a Home Trust wholly-owned subsidiary. As a result, deposits in Oaken Financial can be held by either Home Trust or Home Bank.

Founded in 2013, Oaken Financial continues to distinguish itself with its no-fee high-interest savings account and competitive GIC rates that have attracted several awards and recognitions.

The bank is headquartered in Toronto but has offices in Calgary, Vancouver, and Halifax. 

However, you can access all Oaken services through its web portal and mobile app, available on Google Playstore and App Store.

Oaken review showing its awards and accolades

Oaken Financial Accounts

As of the time of writing the Oaken Financial review, the bank has only two products – high-interest savings account and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs). 

Let’s take a detailed view of both Oaken Financial accounts.

1. Oaken Savings Account

  • Interest rate: 1.60%
  • Monthly fees: None
  • Minimum balance: None
  • Transaction limits: Unlimited
  • Deposit protection: Yes (by the CDIC)

The Oaken savings account is a no-fee savings account with a competitive interest of 1.60% at the time of writing. The interest is calculated daily and paid monthly.

One thing that also makes this account unique is that it is available for both personal and commercial needs, making it more accessible.

Like other online banks, your deposits on Oaken Financial are protected up to $100,000 per insured category by the CDIC.

With a high savings rate, no minimum balance, electronic transfer fee, monthly fees, and other common fees, the Oaken savings account could be your perfect savings account in Canada.

Learn more: Best High-Interest Savings Accounts in Canada.

2. Oaken Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs)

Oaken guaranteed investment certificates (GICs) are available on registered and non-registered terms with competitive interests.

With CDIC protection, the GIC terms range from 30 days to 5 years with a 1.60% to 4.00% rate. 

Below is a detailed view of the Oaken Financial registered and non-registered plans alongside their current rates.

Oaken Non-registered plans

With this plan, you will get both your principal and earned interest at the end of the GIC term. This may be ideal for you if you have maxed out your TFSA or RSP contribution limit.

Depending on your investment objective and budget, you can choose from long-term, short-term and cashable non-registered GIC rates. 

The following are the current non-registered GIC rates of Oaken Financial.

a. Oaken Financial Long-Term GIC Rates

Here are the Oaken GIC rates for long-term (1-year and above) investments:

TermMonthly Semi-AnnualAnnual
1 year2.70%2.75%2.80%
18 months3.00%3.05%3.10%
2 years3.35%3.40%3.45%
3 years3.70%3.75%3.80%
4 years3.75%3.80%3.85%
5 years3.90%3.95%4.00%

Looking at the above table, it is safe to say that the long-term rates of Oaken non-registered GICs are competitive compared to the rates of traditional banks and some online banks in Canada. 

This may be your perfect option if you’re looking to earn high interest on your funds for medium to long term financial goals like down payment, retirement savings and so on. 

b. Oaken Financial Short-Term GIC Rates

Here are the Oaken GIC rates for short-term investments:

TermRate 
270-364 days1.85%
180-269 days1.80%
120-179 days1.75%
90-119 days1.70%
60-89 days1.65%
30-59 days1.60%

The Oaken Financial short-term GICs are non-redeemable. This means you can’t access your money until the GIC matures.

This GIC requires a minimum deposit of $1,000. From 90 days, it is eligible as RSP with a $2,500 minimum deposit.

c. Oaken Financial Cashable GIC Rates

If you want the flexibility to redeem your GIC before maturity, Oaken Financial offers a 1-year term cashable GIC with a minimum deposit of $1,000. You have the option to redeem your investment after the first 30 days or 90 days.

The following are the current interests for the 1-year Cashable GIC:.

TermRate
30-Day Cashable GIC 1.60%
90-Day Cashable GIC 1.70%

With the 30-day cashable GIC, you can access your principal and interest after the initial 30 days of the GIC term. 

However, you will have to wait until after 90 days before you can access your principal and interest with the 90-day cashable GIC option.

Overall, the Oaken Financial cashable GICs give you high interest with the flexibility of accessing your money when you need it.

Oaken Financial Registered Plans

The Oaken Financial registered plans are non-redeemable GICs for Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), Registered Savings Plans (RSP) and Retirement Income Funds (RIF). 

The minimum deposit requirement for the Oaken registered GICs are:

  • RSP and TFSA GICs: $1,000
  • RIF GIC: $10,000

Here are the current Oaken Financial registered GIC rates:

TermRate
1 year2.80%
18 months3.10% (not available for RIF)
2 years3.45%
3 years3.80%
4 years3.85%
5 years4.00%

In addition to reducing your tax obligations, the Oaken registered GICs help you grow your savings by maximizing your TFSA and RRSP contribution limit. 

Like the non-registered GIC, the Oaken registered GIC interests are compounded annually and paid at maturity.


Oaken Financial Fees

Oaken Financial is a low-cost online bank because it doesn’t charge the following fees: 

  • Month fees
  • Electronic funds transfer fee (internal and external)
  • RSP, RIF, and TFSA transfer to external financial institution fee
  • Electronic statements fee
  • Balance inquiry fee
  • Assisted telephone transaction 
  • Account closing fee

However, Oaken Financial charges the following service fees: 

ServiceFee
Dishonoured cheque deposit$20 on each cheque 
Monthly paper statement $$2 monthly
Above 14 months past statement retrieval $5.00 monthly
Bank confirmation $25 per letter
Dormant account$20 annually

Pros and Cons of Oaken Financial

The following are major of the pros and cons of Oaken Financial you need to consider:

Pros

  • High interest: Oaken Financial has high interest rates on both savings and GIC accounts.
  • No-fee banking: The bank has no fees on everyday banking transactions including a $0 monthly fee, $0 electronic funds transfer fee, $0 RSP, RIF, and TFSA transfer fee among others. 
  • No minimum deposit: You can start savings with any amount you have with the Oaken savings account.
  • Flexible GIC terms: You can invest in Oaken GIC from a short-term period of 30 days to a long-term period of 5 years. 
  • CDIC protection: Your savings and GIC deposits on Oaken are covered by the CDIC through either Home Trust Company or Home Bank.

Cons

  • Limited accounts: The bank currently has only savings and GIC accounts. If you’re looking for an online bank with multiple products, you have to look elsewhere. 
  • No welcome bonus: Oaken doesn’t have any welcome bonus or promotional offer at the moment unlike other online banks in Canada.

Is Oaken Financial Right For You?

Looking at the above pros and cons of Oaken Financial, you may already have a good idea if the online bank is right for you. But in case you’re still not sure, here’s a quick summary:

If you’re looking for a full-service online bank: Oaken Financial might not be the best choice, but it’s worth considering if you’re only interested in getting a competitive interest on your funds in a savings account or GIC.

Beyond these, you may want to consider other options especially if you’re looking for an online bank that caters for most of your banking needs. 


How Do I Open an Oaken Account?

If Oaken is perfect for you, it is time to take the next step of signing up. The interesting thing is that it takes less than 5 minutes to sign-up on Oaken.  

Unlike other online banks in Canada, Oaken has several options for opening an account. You can signup through any of the following options: 

  • Online through this link 
  • Via phone by calling an Oaken representative at 1-855-OAKEN-2 (625-3622)
  • In-person by booking an appointment with an Oaken Sales and Service Specialist in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, or Halifax.

You can also sign-up on Oaken through mail by downloading and filling out your investment forms and supporting documents. You should mail them to the following address:

Oaken Financial, 145 King Street West, Suite 2500, Toronto, ON M5H 1J8.

Depending on the method you choose, it may take up to 5 business days for Oaken to approve your request. However, it may take more than 5 business days for a mail application. 


Is Oaken Financial Safe?

Oaken Financial is safe because your deposits are insured up to $100k per insured category by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

In addition, Oaken is backed by two reputable leading financial institutions in Canada, namely Home Trust Company and Home Bank – both CDIC members.

Also, Oaken offers a digital security guarantee on its mobile app which protects you against any unauthorized transactions on your account.  

Besides fingerprint and face ID support, the Oaken mobile app allows you to block unwanted devices and browsers from accessing your account information.

Overall, your funds and personal information are as safe at Oaken Financial as they would be at any other bank.


Oaken Financial Alternatives

If Oaken Financial is not right for you, you have multiple options to consider. For this review, we’ll look at how Oaken Financial compares with Tangerine and EQ Bank.

Oaken vs Tangerine Bank

Tangerine is also an online bank but with more robust offerings than Oaken. Besides savings and GIC accounts, Tangerine also offers chequing accounts, mortgages, line of credit, mutual funds, ETF portfolios and credit cards.

The Tangerine savings account doesn’t also have a minimum deposit or balance requirement nor monthly fees. However, it has a relatively low interest of 0.10% compared to Oaken’s 1.60% savings rate. 

New Tangerine clients can earn a high promotional interest rate of 2.75% for up to 5 months upon signing up with the promo code “EARNMORE”.

Besides the standard savings account, Tangerine also offers: 

  • USD Savings Account
  • RSP Savings Account
  • RIF Savings Account
  • Tax-Free Savings Account

That said, Tangerine offers GIC with flexible terms ranging from 90 days to 5 years. Like Oaken, Tangerine GICs are also eligible for RSP, RIF and TFSA investment.

Below is a highlight of how Oaken Financial GIC rates compare with Tangerine GIC rates.  

TermOaken FinancialTangerine
90 days1.70%0.40%
180 days1.80%0.65%
270 days1.85%2.11%
1 year2.80%2.35%
2 years3.45%2.60%
3 years3.80%2.75%
4 years3.85%2.90%
5 years4.00%3.05%

Obviously, Oaken Financial has better GIC rates than Tangerine. With a high-interest savings account, you can earn more on Oaken Financial.

But if you’re looking for an online bank with robust financial products, you can’t make the wrong choice with Tangerine.

Oaken vs EQ Bank

EQ Bank is another top online bank in Canada that’s popular for its competitive interest on savings and GIC accounts.

Unlike Oaken Financial, EQ Bank offers access to more financial products including US dollar accounts, mortgages, and international money transfers.

What sets the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account apart is that it combines the features of a savings and chequing account with high interest of 1.50%. 

While EQ Bank’s 1.50% savings interest is relatively lower than Oaken’s 1.60% rate, it offers more financial products with a $150 cash bonus for new members.

Learn more about the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account here. 

Besides the Savings Plus Account, EQ Bank also offers TFSA, USD dollar and RSP savings accounts with competitive rates.

That said, EQ Bank GICs are also among the best in Canada due to their competitive rates.

Below is a highlight of how the Oaken Financial GIC rates compare with the EQ Bank GIC rates.

TermOaken FinancialEQ Bank
1 year2.80%3.45%
2 years3.45%4.05%
3 years3.80%4.20%
4 years3.85%4.20%
5 years4.00%4.20%

Learn more: 


FAQs on Oaken Financial Review

Who owns Oaken?

Oaken is owned by Home Trust, one of the leading independent trust companies in Canada that have been in existence since 1987. 

Is Oaken Financial a bank?

Yes, Oaken Financial is an online bank and a trademark of Home Bank. 

Is Oaken Financial covered by CDIC?

Yes. All deposits on Oaken Financial are covered by the CDIC up to $100,000 per eligible account.

Can I trust Oaken Financial?

You can trust Oaken Financial because your deposits are covered by the CDIC up to $100,000 per insured category. Also, your personal information is protected with advanced encryption on the Oaken Financial web portal and mobile app.

How do I close my Oaken Financial account?

You can close your Oaken Financial account without penalty by calling an Oaken representative at 1-855-OAKEN-22 (625-3622).

How do I contact Oaken Financial?

You can contact Oaken Financial by phone at 1-855-OAKEN-22 (625-3622) or by email at [email protected]
To get a quick response, contact Oaken representatives within any of their regular office hours as follows: 8:00am – 8:00pm (EST) on Monday to Friday; 9:00am – 5:00pm (EST) on Saturday.


Verdict on Oaken Financial Review

Overall, Oaken Financial is a great online bank for Canadians. They offer a wide range of products and services, and they are very reliable and trustworthy. If you’re looking for a safe and secure place to handle your finances, Oaken Financial is definitely worth considering!

But my Oaken Financial review is mixed. While it offers competitive savings account rate and GIC rates, its product offerings are quite limited. It can’t be used as a stand-alone bank.

So if you’re looking for a full-service online bank, Oaken Financial might not be the best choice, but it’s worth considering if you’re only interested in basic banking products.

As you can see from the above, Oaken competes positively with some of the leading online banks in Canada including Tangerine and EQ Bank.

Oaken Financial Review
4.5

Summary

Oaken Financial is the online banking arm of Home Trust Company, distinguishing itself with its no-fee high-interest savings account and competitive GIC rates.

Simon is a CPA by day and a Personal Finance Blogger by night. With over a decade experience in financial services, he's passionate about personal finance, investing and helping people take control of their financial life.

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