Oaken Financial: An Online Banking Choice For Saving

March 12, 2020
Canadian Bank Reviews, Financial Services
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Oaken Financial is a Canadian online bank that offers high-interest savings account and Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs). Oaken Financial was launched in 2013 by Home Trust as a refreshing alternative for customers who enjoy the long-established tradition of service and value with a fresh perspective on what they really need to make the most of their money.

Home Trust has been Canada’s largest independent trust company since 1987, and it is also subsidiary to Home Bank, which was formerly known as CFF Bank. Oaken Financial is not a separate company but is actually a trademark of Home Bank. It was Home Trust’s solution to address the new tech-hungry markets made up of millennials and post-millennials, all of whom like nothing better than to do everything online, including banking.

All Oaken deposits are held with either Home Bank or Home Trust Company, both of which are separate members of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC).

We recommend Oaken Financial if
– You want a HISA and like not having to pay fees for transactions.
– You very rarely need to visit a brick & mortar bank branch for your banking operations.
– You want to establish an emergency fund you can withdraw from any time without prior notice.
We don’t recommend Oaken Financial if: 
– You prefer other investment methods rather than GICs. We suggest you check our post on robo advisors
– You want other choices on accounts. In which case, we suggest you check our post on Tangerine Bank.

What Makes Oaken Financial Such A Good Option For Canadians To Manage Their Savings?

There are a number of reasons why many have chosen Oaken Financial as their go-to online bank to manage their hard-earned money:

Safety and security

Since their savings accounts and GICs are eligible for CDIC coverage, your money remains protected up to $100,000 per account category.

Great rates

They offer highly competitive rates and their GIC rates are among the highest available.

No monthly fees

Oaken Financial doesn’t charge any monthly fees. No fees to open your account or fees to use it. You can make as many transactions as you wish.

Long-established history

Backed by Home Bank, and powered by Home Trust Company, Oaken has earned the trust of Canadians by having a long-term relationship with many of their clients.

Two issuers

You get to choose from either Home Bank or Home Trust Company for each deposit, both of which are separate members of CDIC.

Flexible solutions

Oaken Financial understands that your money is yours and that you should be able to do with it what you want, so they offer choices and flexibility for you to build your own custom-tailored solutions.

Approachable service

They strive to deliver the best customer service. Their working hours are 8:00 am through 8:00 pm ET, Monday to Friday. You can call, email or even visit their location.

Features offered by Oaken Financial Online Banking

Oaken Financial’s online banking platform offers a lot of functionality, including features such as:

  • View a summary of all your investments (personal and commercial).
  • You can view and download a copy of your savings account statements or transactions, and export transaction reports.
  • View and download investment details for all your Oaken GICs, including those in RSP, TFSA, and RIF plans, as well as your annual portfolio statements and tax slips.
  • Select which statements, GIC confirmations and other documents you would like to receive by mail, or if you’d prefer not to receive any paper copies.
  • Manage electronic transfers.
  • View and change what will happen when your GIC matures.
  • Update account details, including your profile and password.
  • Customize your preferences to receive notifications and alerts for balances, maturities, statement availability and other events.
  • Transfer money now or later, on a one-time or a recurring basis.
  • Send and receive secure email messages.
  • Export account information to Quicken® and Microsoft® Money personal financial management software.

Benefits of using Oaken Online Banking

  • You have access to your accounts anytime from any device with internet access.
  • View and download savings account statements, GIC confirmations and other important documents with the click of a button
  • Conveniently transfer money or redeem Cashable GICs
Oaken Financial Review

How To Open An Oaken Financial Account

Step 1: Choose a Method

Select how you prefer opening your account. It can be through the phone, online, by mail or in person.

Step 2: Gather Your Documents

 If you’re a new customer, you will need:

  • Personal information
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Email address
  • A cheque

For existing Oaken customers:

  • Your client number or Savings Account number, which is located on your confirmation document

Once you submit your information, you will receive an email confirmation with your investment details and any instructions to finalize your request.

Step 3: Fill Out Your Form And Submit Your Documents

Before submitting your documents, the online form will ask you about your account preferences. Whether the account is professional or commercial and which account or investment interests you as well as your personal information for the account.

Step 4: Wait For Approval

All completed application forms are processed within 5 business days, after that they will reach you through the mail.

Oaken Financial Chargeable Fees

As we mentioned earlier, you won’t be charged a fee for opening your account, nor will you be charged monthly or transaction fees. However, here are the items for which you will be charged:

  • Monthly paper statement: $2/month
  • Retrieval of past statements older than 14 months: $5/month
  • Dishonoured cheque deposit fee: $20/cheque
  • Dormant account: $20/year. (Charges applied in April after the second year of inactivity)
  • Bank confirmation: $25/letter.

Products Offered By Oaken Financial

Now that you know the basics of Oaken Financial and how to join, it’s time for you to see everything Oaken has to offer. There are two main types of accounts you can open with Oaken: A Savings Account and any one of five different GICs, four of which are registered GICs and one of which is not. Here is a complete breakdown of the different financial products Oaken offers:

Oaken Financial Branch
Oaken Financial Branch

Oaken Savings Account

A savings account may fall short considering all of the options available today, but it is still an important part of any financial planning. Some reasons to get one are:

Build your savings

The best thing you can do to start building your savings is to keep your savings separate from your main daily banking account. Due to digital payments, spending more money than you should is as easy as a click. However, by keeping your money in a separate savings account, it’s less likely that you’ll use your savings for unintended purposes.

Set up automatic contributions

Use your savings account to set up automatic contributions as part of a savings strategy. Set pre-authorized transfers from other accounts to your Oaken Savings Account as well.

Access your money with ease

You have no restrictions as to when you can access your cash and also you don’t have to worry about committing to maintaining a specific balance in order to qualify for the advertised rate of return. You access your money any time because the interest rate is annualized, with interest calculated daily and paid monthly.

Establish an emergency fund

The Oaken Savings account is ideal as an emergency fund since it allows you to have access to your money easily any time you have an emergency. You can withdraw your funds without any prior notice at any time you need them.

Features Of The Oaken Savings Account

  • Zero monthly fees
  • High-interest rates (currently 2.30%)
  • Free unlimited transactions
  • No minimum balance

Oaken Financial Guaranteed Investment Certificates Or GICs

Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are a great choice to keep your savings because they offer a safe way to invest money given that your principal and interest rates are both guaranteed. Here are some reasons to invest in GICs:

  • You get a variety of terms ranging from 30 days to 5 years, so it’s easy to find one that matches your timeline.
  • You decide how often you want to receive interest payments whether you want them monthly, semi-annually, annually or at maturity (for terms of one year or more).
  • You can choose between Home Bank and Home Trust Company as issuers for each deposit, which are separate members of CDIC.
  • You can choose between having flexible access to your money, or locking it for a set time period

Oaken Financial’s GIC Options

As we just mentioned above, there are five GICs available at Oaken Financial, four registered GICs and one that is not:

  • Non-registered GICs
  • Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)
  • Retirement Savings Plan (RSP)
  • Retirement Income Fund (RIF)
  • Commercial GICs

In all cases, the minimum deposit for GICs is $1,000. The main difference between these GICs is the interest rates they can earn you for your money, so we’ll cover them separately:

Oaken GIC Rates

Non-registered plans

The advantage with non-registered plans is that there aren’t limits as to how much you can hold in the GIC, meaning that even if you have already contributed to the maximum amount for a registered account, you can still get the security and guarantee of a GIC without worrying about limits. Rates for Non-registered GICs depends on how long you plan on keeping your savings, and how frequently you want to receive your interests.

The general rule of thumb regarding rates is “the longer, the better”:

Long-term GICs

Term Annual Semi-Annual Monthly
12 Months 2.55% 2.50% 2.45%
18 Months 2.60% 2.55% 2.50%
2 Years 2.65% 2.60% 2.55%
3 Years 2.70% 2.65% 2.60%
4 Years 2.80% 2.75% 2.70%
5 Years 2.90% 2.85% 2.80%

Short-term GICs

Term Rate
30-59 Days 2.30%
60‐89 Days 2.30%
90‐119 Days 2.30%
120‐179 Days 2.30%
180‐269 Days 2.45%
270‐364 Days 2.50%

Cashable GICs

1 Year 2.30% 2.35%

Registered GICs (RSP, TFSA, RIF)

Oaken Financial’s GICs are eligible to be held inside a registered account. Whether it is a RSP, TFSA or RIF, you’ll be able to build your savings while reducing the amount of taxes paid.

Term Rate
1 Year 2.55%
18 Months 2.60%
2 Years 2.65%
3 Years 2.70%
4 Years 2.80%
5 Years 2.90%

Retirement Savings Plan (RSP)

Benefits:

  • Contributions reduce your overall taxable income.
  • Your funds are sheltered until you withdraw them.
  • You can use it for more than just retirement: like saving for a house.
  • Or you can withdraw from your RSP to fund full-time training or education for your spouse. 

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

Benefits:

  • You can contribute up to $6,00 every year, so it’s the ideal place to put extra savings.
  • It can help you maximize your RSP and boost your retirement savings.
  • It allows you to build a “Rainy day fund” which you can withdraw from when you need to, depending on the term you choose.
  • TFSAs don’t have age limits when it comes to contributing so you can keep using your account into your 70s, 80s, 90s and even more than that!

Retirement Income Fund (RIF)

Benefits:

  • Transfer from your RSP and the funds can remain tax-sheltered while giving your savings a good growth opportunity.
  • With an annuity, you pay a lump sum upfront, and get a guaranteed and fixed amount of money back each month for a set time period.
  • With RIFs, you’re in charge of your own money and have very flexible saving options. This allows you to make withdrawals when needed.

Commercial GICs

The first priority when you manage an organization is to be aware of finances. GICs can help you do exactly that by protecting the principal investment and ensuring that it remains secure. These GICs can help you discharge your fiduciary responsibilities while you benefit from having some of the highest deposit rates in Canada. Commercial GICs are available for entities such as:

  • Condo or strata corporations
  • Non-profits and charities
  • Trusts
  • Associations
  • Businesses (incorporations, partnerships, sole proprietors, etc.)

Not Sure About Which GIC To Get? Here’s A Simple Guide:

The following how-to-choose guide will help you decide which GIC is better suited for your needs, depending on what you plan to save your money for.

  • I want to save for a specific, short-term goal: In this case, you can choose a short-term cashable GIC. These range from 30-365 days and allow you that extra flexibility, but at a lower rate.
  • I plan to save for a long-term goal like retirement: You can get a long-term GIC that ranges from 1 to 5 years with some of the best rates available.
  • I want to save, but I’m not sure what for: In this scenario, you should definitely get a cashable GIC, since these give you more freedom to access your money when you need it and they can last as little as 30 days!
  • I have money on other higher-risk investments: The non-registered GICs are a great complement to any investment portfolio due to their lack of limits. This makes them a valuable tool to save that money.
  • I’m retired and I want control over my savings: Since Oaken Financial GICs come in many terms and interest payment frequencies, you are in control of how much you want to come due and when. The RIF is the perfect way for senior citizens to manage their retirement savings.
  • I maximized my RRSP and/or TFSA contribution space and need somewhere to put those extra savings: The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) covers up to $100,000, allowing you to keep your extra savings protected.

If you still aren’t sure as to which GIC to choose but want to explore other investing ventures, here are some post that may interest you:

How to choose the best Canadian robo advisor for you

All about Canada’s best robo advisor

The best robo advisor for lower-risk investors

Is Oaken Financial safe?

Yes. The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation offers to cover up to $100,000 per account category for Oaken Financial. Your money is deposited with Home Bank or Home Trust Company which are members of the CDIC.

This means that your money is protected exactly as if you were depositing it on a big bank. Oaken gives customers the guarantee that their money will be available for them when they need it.

In Summary

So, here’s everything you need to know about Oaken Financial. A lot of people compare it to other online banks like Tangerine and EQ Bank. However, Oaken is a solid choice for savings, even if it does have some downsides since their investments are only limited to GICs. Here are some of its key features:

Accounts OfferedSavings Account
Interest Rates2.30%
Investments OfferedNon-Registered GICs
Retirement Savings Plan (RSP)
Retirement Income Fund (RIF)
Commercial GICs
Referral ProgramNo
Purchase CoverageNo
Travel InsuranceNo
International TransfersNo
Covered by the CDIC?Yes

What do you think about Oaken Financial? Have you used this bank? Tell us about your experience!