BMO Harris Checking Account Review 2021

The new BMO Harris checking account review 2021 is here. Learn more about BMO Harris offerings including overdraft protection, low fees, and more.
By Rebecca Lake

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BMO Harris Checking Account review

If you're ready to open a new checking account, BMO Harris Bank is one option you may consider when shopping for a brick-and-mortar banking option. BMO Harris offers multiple checking accounts designed to fit different needs, along with a variety of other deposit accounts, loans, and credit cards.

You can open a bank account online or in person at a nearby branch, depending on where you live. This BMO Harris checking account review can help you determine if this banking option is right for you.

What Is BMO Harris?

BMO Harris is a traditional bank headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its parent bank is the Bank of Montreal and its U.S. holding company is BMO Financial Corp.

BMO Harris Bank has over 500 branches located in Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, and Wisconsin. It also has an extensive ATM network, with access to over 40,000 ATMs.

The bank offers a variety of products and services, including personal and business banking as well as wealth management and commercial banking. On the personal banking side, BMO Harris features checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, certificate of deposit accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, and lines of credit.

Why BMO Harris Is Best for You in 2021

You'll find from this BMO Harris checking account review that BMO Harris Bank could be a good fit if you're interested in opening a checking account with a traditional bank versus an online bank. It's possible to open an account with a low minimum deposit. While most checking accounts have a monthly fee, there are multiple ways to waive them.

Popular BMO Harris Accounts

BMO Harris offers several checking account options.

AccountMin. Opening DepositMonthly FeeNotes
BMO Harris Smart Advantage$25$0Pay zero monthly fees when you enroll in paperless statements.
BMO Harris Smart Money$25$5Monthly fee is waived if one of the following applies:
  • You're under age 25.
  • You choose paperless statements.
BMO Harris Premier$25$25Monthly fee is waived if one of the following applies:
  • The minimum daily ledger balance in your account is $10,000 or more for the previous calendar month.
  • You have a monthly combined balance of $25,000 for the previous calendar month.
  • You have a BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. investment account and have requested the waiver from your BMO Harris banker.
  • You're a client of the bank's employee benefits program, Best of BMO U.S., and have requested the waiver from your BMO Harris banker.

How BMO Harris Works

Before you open an account with BMO Harris, it's helpful to know a bit more about how it works. Along with this BMO Harris checking account review, here are more things to consider to help you decide if it's the right place for your money when seeking an online banking account.

Maintenance fees

It's not uncommon to pay a monthly maintenance fee with traditional checking accounts, and BMO Harris is no exception. When you open a BMO Smart Advantage, Smart Money or Premier checking account there are monthly fees involved, though it is possible to waive them.

With the Smart Advantage account, for instance, you can avoid monthly fees by enrolling in paperless statements. If you have Smart Money checking, the fee is waived automatically if you're under age 25, and you can also pay $0 monthly fees if you choose paperless statements. There are multiple ways to waive monthly fees with a Premier account that rely on monthly account balances or other services you're enrolled in with the bank.

It's important to note that the checking account fees at BMO Harris Bank are typical of what you'd find at other brick-and-mortar banks.

Account minimums

Aside from monthly fee requirements, it's also important to understand how much money you'll need to open a new checking account. BMO Harris keeps things simple when it comes to account minimums. For all three checking accounts included here, you only need $25 to get started.

That's a good thing if you're new to banking and don't have a lot of cash saved yet. Keep in mind that if you'd like to open other accounts with BMO Harris, such as savings accounts, a money market account, or a CD account, the minimum deposit requirements may be different.

Can you open multiple accounts?

Opening multiple bank accounts at the same financial institution is convenient if you want to manage your money in one place. BMO Harris does allow you to open more than one type of account, either online or in-person at a branch.

For example, you might choose to open a BMO Harris checking account and a savings account to manage your personal finances. If you run a small business, you could also open a business checking account and business savings account. And if you have short- and long-term goals you're saving for, you might open multiple CDs to create a CD ladder.

If you decide to open more than one account, remember the minimum deposit requirements and the criteria used to waive the monthly fees for each type of account you have. Depending on the types of accounts you choose, you may be able to avoid monthly fees based on your total combined balances.

Account access and customer support

When you open a checking account or any other account, you'll have access to BMO Harris online banking as well as the mobile banking app. You can also get help with your account at a branch or by calling customer service. You also have access to your money at more than 40,000 ATMs.

Customer support is available by phone. You can also request help through the bank's online contact form or online support tool. BMO Harris doesn't have a specific live chat feature, but you can get help via chatbots on both Facebook and Twitter.

Mobile and online banking experience

You can use both BMO Harris online banking and mobile banking to manage your account. This makes it easy to:

  • Review monthly statements.
  • Check balances.
  • View transaction history.
  • Schedule transfers between BMO Harris accounts.
  • Set up banking alerts.

There's no fee to use online or mobile banking. You can also use the remote deposit capture feature to deposit checks through the mobile banking app.

BMO Harris Savings Account

BMO Harris offers a savings account which offers an interest rate that's on par with what you'll find at other brick-and-mortar banks. The minimum deposit required to open an account is $25, and the minimum balance required to earn interest is $0.01.

There are no minimum balance requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. Interest is compounded daily. Accounts are FDIC-insured, and you can open one online in minutes.

BMO Harris Statement SavingsAmountNotes
Monthly maintenance fee$0Waived as of May 2021.
ATM fee$0At BMO Harris and participating ATMs; $3 for non-BMO Harris ATM transactions.
Returned item fee$12
Overdraft transfer fee$10
Non-sufficient funds feen/a
Incoming wire transfer fee$0
Outgoing wire transfer fee$30 domestic; $50 international
Excess withdrawal fee$0Waived as of May 2021.
Account closing fee$50Assessed if account closed within the first 90 days.

Read the full BMO Harris review

BMO Harris Money Market Accounts

Money market accounts combine features of checking accounts and savings accounts, which can make them convenient for earning interest on money you may need access to in the near future. BMO Harris money market accounts require a $25 minimum deposit to open, and there is a $10 monthly maintenance fee. You can waive this fee, however, by maintaining a $10,000 minimum daily balance.

BMO Harris money market rates are tiered, based on your balance. The more you keep in your money market account, the more interest you can earn.

Compare current money market account rates

BMO Harris CD Rates

BMO Harris Bank offers CDs with terms ranging from three months to five years, with a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement. There's also a bump-rate CD option, which has a term of either three or four years.

BMO Harris CD rates are typical of what you'd expect from a traditional bank. Interest rates are tiered according to your CD term. The longer you save in a CD, the higher the rate you can earn on your savings. There are no monthly maintenance fees for BMO Harris CDs.

BMO Harris 1-Year CDAmount / APYNotes
1-Year CD APY - 12 months0.05%
Early Withdrawal PenaltyPenalty depends on the length of the CD term.
Monthly maintenance fees$0

 

BMO Harris 5-Year CDAmount / APYNotes
5-Year CD APY - 60 months0.25%
Early Withdrawal PenaltyPenalty depends on the length of the CD term.
Monthly maintenance fees$0

Compare current CD rates

BMO Harris Checking Accounts

BMO Harris Bank offers three checking accounts to choose from, all of which require a $25 minimum deposit to open.

The Smart Advantage account is a basic checking account option. It offers fee-free access to more than 40,000 ATMs, but it doesn't come with any extra bells and whistles in terms of earning interest on balances or a rewards program for debit card purchases.

The Smart Money account has those same features, but it's designed for people who want to avoid overdraft fees. With this account, you can only spend what you have in your available balance. That means you'll never pay overdraft fees or nonsufficient fund fees with this account.

The Premier account is a premium checking account that comes with added features, including:

  • Foreign ATM fee rebates monthly.
  • Interest earned on balances.
  • Mortgage closing credits if you take out a home loan with BMO Harris.
  • Home equity loan rate discounts.
  • Relationship benefits, including higher rates on savings and money market accounts.

The Premier account could be a good fit if you're looking for an upgraded checking account. But just keep the monthly fee in mind and what's required to avoid it.

Compare current checking account offers

Personal Loans

Personal loans can be useful when you need money for home repairs, debt consolidation or emergency expenses. BMO Harris Bank offers both personal loans and personal lines of credit for eligible borrowers. It's possible to borrow up to $35,000 and enjoy competitive rates. You'll need to call BMO Harris or visit a branch to discuss loan options and apply.

Compare current personal loan rates

BMO Harris Checking Account Review: Pros & Cons

Brick-and-mortar banks have pros and cons compared to online banks. If you're considering opening one or more checking accounts with BMO Harris, here are some of the most important takeaways to keep in mind.

Pros:

  • Low minimum deposit requirement for checking accounts.
  • Multiple ways to avoid monthly maintenance fees.
  • Extensive ATM network.
  • Access your money with online banking, mobile banking, or at a branch or ATM.
  • BMO Harris checking can offer a simplified way to manage your money.

Cons:

  • Monthly fees can quickly add up if you're not able to waive them.
  • Interest rates for savings accounts, money market accounts, and CD accounts are less than stellar.

Locations - Branches & ATMs

BMO Harris is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The bank has more than 500 branch locations and offers access to more than 40,000 ATMs.

Let this BMO Harris checking account review serve as your comprehensive guide to determine if BMO Harris is right for your banking needs.

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