BMO Harris Bank Review: The Products You Need With a Solid Mobile and Digital Experience

GOBankingRates Score

4.5
Quick Take: BMO Harris Bank is a great choice for customers who want a straightforward approach to banking, a solid selection of products and a customer-favorite mobile app.
  • Fees
    4.0
  • Breadth of Products
    4.5
  • Opening Deposit Requirements
    5.0
  • Mobile and Digital Experience
    4.6
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Large ATM network
  • Solid range of banking products
  • Low or no fees on standard checking accounts
  • Reasonable minimum opening deposits

Cons

  • High overdraft fees
  • Low APY on Premium Money Market account
  • Limited U.S. branches

About BMO Harris Bank

BMO Financial Corp. is the U.S. holding company of the Bank of Montreal, North America’s eighth-largest bank. BMO Harris Bank operates under BMO Financial Corp.

Headquartered in Chicago, BMO Harris has over 500 branches located in the following eight states: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. Customers can also bank online, by phone, in a branch or via a network of over 40,000 ATMs. Banking products extend beyond the basics — checking, savings, money market and certificates of deposit — to include investment products such as individual retirement accounts, savings accounts and CDs. GOBankingRates has ranked BMO Harris Bank as one of the Best Regional Banks and one of the Top 100 Banks of 2022

Checking Accounts

BMO Harris Bank gives you three checking accounts to choose from. Here are the details for each one.

Smart Advantage Account

The BMO Harris Smart Advantage Account is the bank’s most popular account. It also ranks as one of GOBankingRates’ picks for Best Checking Accounts of 2022. And with features such as no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance required, it’s no wonder. Plus, the minimum opening deposit is only $25.

For your convenience, you can withdraw money at over 40,000 fee-free ATMs across the nation and transactions are unlimited, and you don’t even need your debit card. BMO Harris Mobile Cash allows you to use your smartphone to withdraw money at the ATM. The account also comes with BMO digital banking access, which allows you to complete banking tasks whenever you like — such as managing your account, making mobile check deposits, paying bills and transferring money — all from your PC or mobile device. And, if you find yourself in need of assistance, you can reach customer service via phone or online chat or by visiting a branch.

Of course, every deposit account has its drawbacks, no matter where you bank. With this account, ATM transactions outside the extensive network will cost you $3 each. Additionally, non-sufficient funds fees and overdraft fees can really rack up, at $36 per occurrence. However, you can opt-in for overdraft services to avoid those hefty fees.

Smart Money Account

The Smart Money Account is considered a low-cost account because, as an account holder, you’ll pay a $5 monthly fee. If you’re under 25, however, the fee is waived.

If you’re worried about racking up overdraft charges or insufficient-funds fees, you don’t ever have to worry with this account. The bank returns items that would cause your account to overdraw and won’t allow you to complete transactions with your debit card that exceed your balance, including ATM withdrawals.

Like BMO Harris’ other checking accounts, you can make unlimited transactions, including withdrawing money, for free at over 40,000 in-network ATMs across the U.S. And the account has a low opening deposit of just $25. The account also features BMO digital banking access and BMO Harris Mobile Cash.

If overdraft and insufficient-funds fees are not a worry, you’d be better off choosing a BMO Harris checking account option that’s fee-free, however. The monthly fee on this account adds up to $60 per year.

Premier Account

The Premier Account features relationship package benefits — Silver, Gold, Platinum and Elite — for account holders who tend to maintain much higher balances. Although the monthly account fee is $25, the bank will waive it if you meet any of the following requirements: The minimum daily balance in your account never fell below $10,000 during the previous month, you maintained a monthly combined balance of at least $25,000 during the previous month, or you have a BMO investment services account or are a client of the bank’s employee benefits program and request a fee waiver from your banker.

Additionally, when you open or convert to a Premier Account, the bank will waive the $25 monthly account fee for the first two full months.

The Premier Account offers the following benefits: interest on checking account balances; unlimited, free non-network ATM transactions; up to $25 per month in ATM surcharge rebate fees from owners or operators of non-network ATM machines; BMO Mastercard debit card ID theft protection; free incoming wire transfers and free or discounted safe deposit boxes.

The Premier account also comes with all of the standard account benefits offered with the bank’s other checking options, plus some additional ones, such as a rebate of wire transfer fees, for Gold members and above. Account holders are also eligible for a $200 mortgage closing cost credit and a 0.50% home equity loan interest discount for enrolling in autopay.

Savings Account

You’ll find just one regular savings account at BMO Harris. BMO’s Savings Builder account requires a $25 deposit to open, which is in line with what its other accounts require. However, the account doesn’t carry a monthly maintenance fee, which means your savings balance will add up faster. Plus, the account has an automated saving feature that allows you to set up recurring transfers from a BMO Harris checking account. And, while there’s no monthly minimum deposit required, for the first year you’ll receive a $5 bonus every month you deposit at least $200, which means you could earn an extra $60 just for saving.

As far as drawbacks, there are a few. If you close your account within 90 days of opening, you’ll face a $50 fee; and statements are sent quarterly rather than monthly.

Money Market Account

The Premier Money Market account is BMO Harris’ only money market account, but it should serve the needs of most customers. Like BMO Harris’ other accounts, it comes with all the standard features. Although there is a minimum deposit of $25 to open the account, there’s no minimum balance requirement. However, there is a $10 monthly maintenance fee, which can be waived with a $10,000 minimum daily balance.

The base APY for this account is rather low, but you can potentially earn a higher rate with one of the BMO Harris Premier Account Relationship Packages, which require a quarterly combined balanced of at least $25,000 across all eligible deposit accounts. If you aren’t able to maintain the $10,000 minimum daily balance, however, you may want to shop elsewhere for a money market account because you’ll end up paying $100 in maintenance fees.

CD Rates

Certificates of deposit are considered no-risk investments with a guaranteed return. Two CD products are available through BMO Harris Bank.The standard CD has an opening deposit requirement of $1,000 and terms of three to 60 months. The bank also offers CD specials with a minimum deposit of $5,000 and terms from 13 to 59 months. With the bank’s CD specials, you’ll likely find more competitive rates than offered with the standard CD, but the deposit minimums are higher.

Banking Experience

BMO Harris Bank earned a 4.5 overall score from GOBankingRates based on its fees, breadth of products, opening deposit requirements and mobile and digital products. Here’s more about the different features that earned BMO Harris such a great ranking.

Fees

All BMO Harris Bank accounts have fees. For example, monthly service fees are between $0 and $25, depending on the type of account you choose. But account fees can be waived if you meet eligibility requirements, such as maintaining a certain balance or being a certain age. Overdraft and insufficient-funds fees are $36 per item — and the bank can charge up to three per day. However, you can opt for automatic overdraft protection. Note that with the Premier Checking Account, overdraft protection transfers are automatic and free. Additionally, while the Smart Advantage account charges $3 for out-of-network ATM use, the Smart Money and Premier accounts do not.

Breadth of Products

Although BMO Harris offers straightforward banking, it does offer more than just a basic slate of products. It has three checking account options, one savings account, one money market account, standard CDs and CD specials. Additionally, it offers IRA certificates of deposit and IRA retirement savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, loans and lines of credit — plus, you can become a Premier Services customer if you prefer financial assistance and guidance from banking and investment experts. Having access to all of these products under one roof, so to speak, makes it possible to use this bank for all of your lending, financial advice and deposit needs.

Opening Deposit Requirements

Sometimes opening deposits for accounts are steep, but that’s not the case with BMO Harris’ checking savings and money market accounts, which are what make the bank stand out in this area. You need just $25 to get an account up and running, which makes it easy to open more than one account at a time. As far as CDs, the standard account requires a minimum deposit of $1,000, which is reasonable and not the highest or lowest in the industry.

Mobile and Digital Experience

With BMO Harris, you can sign up for online banking to access a full suite of digital tools to help you manage your money anywhere, any time. Pay bills, manage your BMO Harris accounts and your accounts at other banks and view statements. You also can send and receive money via Zelle and make transfers between BMO Harris accounts and external accounts — free of charge.

The mobile app, available from Google Play and the Apple Store, adds additional functionality to online banking. You can deposit checks and manage alerts so you always know what’s happening with your account. Touch and face ID keep your accounts secure, and you can create a four-digit PIN for instant access to the information you use most. The app has high ratings, which bodes well for functionality. Android users rate the app 4.6 stars, and iOS users rate it 4.8.

Editor’s Favorite

With its excellent mobile and digital banking capabilities, BMO Harris Bank makes it easy to take care of banking tasks without visiting a branch. Plus, the bank offers various account options with low opening deposits and easy options to waive monthly fees.

BMO Harris Bank vs. Competitors

Here’s how BMO Harris Bank measures up to its competitors, so you can get a better idea of whether it’s the bank for you. 

BMO Harris Bank vs. US Bank

U.S. Bank has a wider range of services than BMO Harris, and some of its products are slightly more modern. Its mobile app, which has a virtual assistant — the mobile banking version of Siri and Alexa — is a case in point. Unfortunately, the bells and whistles don’t extend to its customer service. Whereas BMO Harris puts its contact methods front and center, you’ll have to dig to get the same information from the U.S. Bank website.

BMO Harris Bank vs. Chase

Chase checks just about every box when it comes to full-service banking. Its relationship banking program is especially impressive for the sheer volume of perks it offers well-heeled customers. BMO Harris Bank’s version, Premier Services, can’t compete point for point, but its more down-to-earth approach might be a better fit for customers who want robust but uncomplicated wealth-building solutions.

BMO Harris vs. Fifth Third Bank

In addition to extensive banking and investing solutions that compete with the largest banks, Fifth Third Bank offers a comprehensive range of insurance products the other banks listed here don’t have. However, it bears repeating that more isn’t always better. BMO Harris Bank provides a more straightforward approach to helping customers manage their finances.

Final Take

BMO Harris Bank is a worthy contender for anyone who wants a full-service bank with a solid selection of accounts that offer the ability to waive fees. It also makes sense for people who want to take care of the task of opening several accounts at once without having to deposit large amounts.

BMO Harris Bank FAQ

Here are answers to some of BMO Harris's more commonly asked questions.
  • Is BMO Harris a secure bank?
    • BMO Harris has built-in security features and services to help protect its customers' accounts. The bank also offers free transaction monitoring and alerts customers if any unusual activity is detected.
  • Is BMO Harris an FDIC-insured bank?
    • Yes, BMO Harris is an FDIC-insured bank.
  • Does BMO Harris have free checking?
    • Yes. The Smart Advantage account is fee-free when you request paperless statements.
  • What time does BMO Harris direct deposit hit?
    • The precise time depends on when BMO Harris receives the direct deposit. Funds are available the business day BMO Harris receives the deposit.
  • How long does it take for a check to clear BMO Harris?
    • Funds from checks deposited at a bank branch or via ATM are available the next business day. Although BMO Harris recommends keeping checks for 15 business days after a mobile deposit, the first $500 of checks deposited by the 7 p.m. CST cutoff are available for withdrawal the next business day. The remaining funds are available after two business days.
  • Is Saturday a business day for BMO Harris?
    • No. Business days are Monday through Friday, excluding bank holidays.
  • Does BMO Harris offer free money for signing up for an account?
    • BMO Harris offers a savings reward with its statement savings account. You earn $5 each month you save at least $200 in your new account, up to 12 months.
  • What does BMO Harris stand for?
    • The “BMO” in BMO Harris stands for Bank of Montreal.

Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change. Information on accounts is accurate as of Apr. 22, 2022.

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by BMO Harris Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by BMO Harris Bank.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 12 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, Aol, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle, The Seattle Times and The Network Journal. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.

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