BMO Bank High Yield Savings Account Review 2024

BMO Bank offers a high-yield savings account with no fees to help you grow your money faster. Learn more about BMO Bank's rates, access, and pros and cons.
Editor's Rating
Editor's Rating
4.6
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Written by Rebecca Lake
Financial Expert
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Managing Editor
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If you’re comfortable with saving online and want to earn a competitive rate, banking with BMO could be a good fit. The BMO Alto Online Savings Account features an exceptional annual percentage yield (APY) with no fees and no minimum opening deposit requirement.

Choosing an online savings account vs. traditional savings can yield plenty of benefits, but it’s important to do your research when choosing a bank. Learn how BMO’s high-yield savings account works, including its key features and how it compares to other savings options.

BMO Alto Online Savings Account At-a-Glance

Overall Impression

BMO’s high-yield savings account is a good fit for savers who want to earn an exceptional rate on balances without any added fees. You can open an account online in minutes, and there’s no minimum deposit requirement you’re expected to meet.

The lack of fees is another appealing feature. According to the deposit agreement for this account, BMO charges no fees at all. That includes no monthly maintenance fees or excess withdrawal fees.

There is one potential catch: You’re limited to using ACH transfers to deposit or withdraw funds. BMO does not issue debit cards or ATM cards with this account or support wire transfers, Zelle transfers, or deposits by mail.

Which Banks Have the Best Savings Account Rates?

Savings rates are better than they’ve been in several years, but if you’re using a traditional, big-name bank, you’re missing out on the most competitive rates.

Explore the top savings accounts and start earning high interest on your savings.

BMO Bank High Yield Savings Pros and Cons

Every savings account has advantages and disadvantages, which are essential to weigh when deciding where to bank.

Here are some pros and cons if you’re considering saving with BMO.

Pros

  • Outstanding APY. Online banks are often the best option for earning the highest savings rates, and BMO is no exception. The Alto Online Savings account offers one of the best rates of any high-yield account. 
    No fees. Banking fees can diminish the value of any interest you earn with a savings account. BMO allows you to avoid that by not charging any fees. 
    No minimums. There are no minimum deposit requirements to worry about to open an account. And you don’t need to meet any ongoing minimum balance requirements either. 
    FDIC-insured savings. BMO savings deposits are FDIC-insured so that your money is protected in the unlikely event of a bank failure.
    Unlimited withdrawals and transfers. Some banks penalize you for taking money out of savings more than a certain number of times per month. BMO allows unlimited withdrawals and deposits to your savings account. 

Cons

  • Limited withdrawal and deposit options. BMO doesn’t offer debit or ATM cards, and you can’t deposit funds to your savings account via Zelle or a wire transfer. You can only use ACH transfers to move funds to or from another BMO account or a linked account at another bank. 
    No branch access. Since this is an online-only savings account, you won’t be able to manage your money at a BMO branch either. 
    No checking accounts. BMO Alto offers online savings and CD accounts but no checking accounts. That might be a drawback if you’re hoping to manage your money in one place. 

Compare to Other Savings Accounts

Multiple banks offer high-yield savings accounts online, and it’s helpful to compare different options to see which one might fit your needs. Here are a few other savings accounts you might consider in addition to BMO.

Save Market Savings

Save Market Savings is a hybrid deposit account that includes a savings component and an investment element. Deposits are FDIC-insured through Save’s partner bank, and savers can earn significantly higher rates. However, there is a time commitment as you’re expected to commit to a minimum savings term.

In that sense, Save is similar to a CD account. At the end of your savings term, you can withdraw your initial deposit and any interest earned. Instead of paying a monthly fee, you’ll pay a management fee. You may also be penalized for withdrawing savings before your specified term (one year or five years) ends.

Read our full Save Market Savings review.

Upgrade Savings Account

The Upgrade Savings Account features an APY slightly lower than what you could earn with BMO. However, you’ll need to maintain a minimum balance of $1,000 to earn that rate. Otherwise, a lower APY applies.

There are no monthly fees to save with Upgrade, and you have multiple ways to deposit funds to your account, including:

  • ACH transfer
  • Wire transfer
  • Direct deposit

Consider saving with Upgrade if you have a rewards checking account here or you’re repaying an Upgrade personal loan.

Read our full Upgrade Savings Account review.

M1 Savings Account

The M1 High-Yield Savings Account lets you earn a competitive APY on savings deposits while enjoying up to $5 million in FDIC insurance coverage. You’ll need an M1 Plus membership to get the best savings account rates, which is $3 per month or $36 annually.

Whether it makes sense to pay a fee to save can depend on your needs and goals. BMO offers a higher APY without the fee but lower FDIC coverage limits. M1 also offers other financial products, including investment accounts, personal loans, and credit cards, which could sway your decision-making if you want any of those options.

Read our full M1 Savings Account review.

Citizens Access High-Yield Savings Account

The Citizens Access High-Yield Savings Account features the lowest APY of any savings accounts included here, but it’s still well above what you’d typically expect at a traditional bank. There are no monthly fees or hidden costs, and you can open an account online in just a few minutes.

The minimum deposit is just $0.01, which is a plus if you’re just getting started with saving. Since this is an online-only savings account, your access options are limited to ACH transfers to and from linked bank accounts or transfers from other Citizens accounts.

Read our full Citizens Access High Yield Savings Account review.

Who Is BMO’s High-Yield Savings Account For?

Saving with BMO could make sense if you’re comfortable with an online-only banking option. You might choose this savings account if you:

  • Are looking for an outstanding APY with no minimum deposit requirements or minimum balance requirements
  • Prefer a fee-free savings account option that allows you to make unlimited deposits or withdrawals
  • Don’t need a debit card or ATM card to access your savings, and don’t rely on wire transfers or Zelle to move funds

You might consider a different savings account for more withdrawal options or deposits.

Rating the Features

BMO keeps things relatively simple when it comes to its savings account. If you still have questions about how it works, here’s a breakdown of the main features.

Mobile Banking

BMO offers a mobile banking app that you can use to access your savings account on the go. As BMO is a bigger bank, the app is highly functional and includes all the features you’d expected. The app has a 4.6 rating in the App Store and a 4.5 rating in the Google Play Store.

Customer Service and Experience

If you need help with your account or have questions, BMO customer support is available by phone. There’s no live chat option or even a chatbot to offer answers, which some people might see as a drawback.

Regarding how easy it is to find information, BMO includes answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about its savings account on the homepage. The deposit agreement is also linked on the same page, so information about fees and other account details is just a click away.

Fees

BMO doesn’t charge fees for this savings account. Again, there are no monthly maintenance fees, excess withdrawal fees, or hidden fees. That’s good if you’re worried about handing some of your interest earnings back to the bank in fees.

Rates

As mentioned, BMO offers one of the best rates of any online savings account or traditional savings option. Can you earn higher rates on savings balances elsewhere? Yes, but you might pay fees to do it or be required to meet minimum deposit requirements. So those are both important to consider when deciding where to save.

Tools, Extras

Some banks include extra features to help you work toward your savings goals. For instance, you may be able to save your spare change using a round-up feature or split savings into “buckets” for different purposes.

BMO doesn’t offer any of that. This is a straightforward savings account with one aim: to help you earn as much interest on your money as possible, with no fees.

Access

You can access your savings accounts online or through the BMO mobile app. You can transfer funds to and from other BMO accounts or linked accounts from other banks. There’s no option to get a debit card or ATM card for cash withdrawals, and you won’t be able to move money in and out of savings with wire transfers or Zelle.

Safety and Security

BMO uses the same safety measures as other banks to protect customer information and accounts. That includes the use of encrypted data and secure servers. And your money is always protected up to $250,000 by FDIC insurance.

Minimum Deposit or Balance Requirement

BMO has no opening deposit requirement and no ongoing minimum balance requirements. You can open an account with $0, but you’ll need to deposit funds within the first 90 days. Otherwise, BMO can close your account.

FAQs

What is the difference between BMO and BMO Alto?

BMO and BMO Alto are part of BMO Bank, but Alto offers online-only accounts. They include high-yield savings accounts and CDs. BMO Alto accounts are FDIC-insured.

How often does BMO Alto pay interest?

Interest on BMO Alto Online Savings Accounts compounds daily and is credited to your account monthly.

Is BMO Alto legit?

BMO Alto is a legitimate savings option that operates as an arm of BMO Bank. Alto savings account and CD account deposits are FDIC-insured and are offered online only, with no branch banking access.

About Author
Rebecca Lake
Rebecca Lake, a valued contributor at MoneyRates, unravels the intricacies of personal finance with her expertise in areas spanning from banking to homebuying and investing to small business strategies. Rebecca seamlessly bridges the gap between complex financial concepts and readers, demystifying them with her clear and insightful narratives. She has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, among numerous other publications. With Rebecca’s guidance, financial clarity is just an article away.
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