BMO Harris Review 2020

Published April 2020 by Matthew Goldberg

AT A GLANCE
3.4

Bankrate Score

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24/7 Customer Service

Digital Leader

In states outside of where it has its branches, BMO Harris’ money market account offers one of the highest yields available and supports great accessibility options, with both check-writing privileges and an ATM card.

  • Savings
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    2.6
  • MMAs
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    4.5
  • CDs
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    2.6
  • Checking
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    3.7
  • MORE HIGH-YIELD OPTIONS

    Overall

    3.4

    Bankrate Score

    BMO Harris offers a competitive yield on its money market account. The $5,000 minimum balance requirement is higher than some accounts, but if you have that much to deposit, it’s worth consideration.

    What we like

    • BMO Harris has its own ATM network with more than 1,400 ATMs and partners with Allpoint.

    • One of the highest APYs available on its Platinum Money Market account.

    • Statement Savings account has only a $25 minimum requirement to open the account.

    • Can avoid monthly fee by keeping at least $100 in the Statement Savings account.

    What we don't

    • Other banks have a lower minimum balance requirement for a high-yield account.

    • If you go below $5,000 in the Platinum Money Market account, you’ll receive an APY that’s around one-fifth of the national average.

    • BMO Harris has brick-and-mortar locations in only eight states.

    Savings accounts

    2.6

    Bankrate Score

    The BMO Harris Statement Savings account is available online nationally. The account has a low minimum opening deposit amount of $25. You need a daily ledger balance of just $100 or more to waive the monthly maintenance fee. If you’re under 25 years old, the maintenance fee is also waived. These are the easiest ways to avoid the monthly maintenance fee.

    But the APY is only half the national average on all balances, so there are better options out there for savers.

    What we like

    • Statement Savings account has a minimum balance requirement of a $100 or more.

    • If you’re under 25 years old and the primary owner of a Statement Savings account, the $5 monthly maintenance fee is waived.

    • All balances earn the account’s top APY.

    What we don't

    • There are higher-yielding options available at other banks.

    • You’ll be charged a $50 fee if you close the Statement Savings account within 90 days of opening it.

    Money market accounts

    4.5

    Bankrate Score

    The Platinum Money Market offers a top-tier APY. These APYs are offered nationally in states outside of Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. The account offers accessibility features that some other money market accounts don’t, including check-writing privileges and an ATM card.

    What we like

    • No monthly maintenance fee on the Platinum Money Market account.

    • Platinum Money Market account has check-writing privileges.

    • You can make withdrawals from an ATM if you have the Platinum Money Market account.

    • You get a statement that includes check images.

    What we don't

    • Balances under $5,000 earn only around a quarter of the national average APY.

    • There’s a $50 closing fee if the account is closed within 90 days of opening.

    • Minimum balance requirement of $5,000 is higher than some other accounts.

    • There is a $3 fee for transactions made on a non-BMO Harris ATM. Plus, the ATM operator may also charge a fee.

    • The Platinum Money Market account may have a lower APY in the states where it has branches.

    CD rates

    2.6

    Bankrate Score

    BMO Harris offers CDs across terms ranging from three months to five years. Yields vary depending on the market and how much you deposit into the account. If you deposit at least $5,000 in a 12-month CD, you will earn a competitive rate. However, that payout significantly decreases if you deposit less than that amount.

    In some cases, however, it’s possible to earn a slightly higher yield through a CD special.

    The bank offers several types of CDs, including an add-on CD that allows account holders to make multiple deposits. CDs can be purchased online, over the phone or in a local branch.

    What we like

    • For all CDs, interest is compounded daily.

    • CDs are available across all standard terms.

    • A relatively low minimum deposit is required for most of the CDs.

    • CDs featured on the website are available nationwide.

    What we don't

    • Interest is credited to accounts quarterly for CDs maturing in one year or more.

    • Interest is credited to accounts at maturity for CDs maturing in less than a year.

    • Yields may be lower depending on where you live.

    • Early withdrawal penalties are harsh for long-term CDs.

    Checking accounts

    3.7

    Bankrate Score

    The BMO Harris Premier Account offers interest on all balances greater than zero. The best rate is offered to those with a balance of $50,000 or more. The account can be opened online or in a branch with a $25 minimum deposit. A $30 monthly maintenance fee will be charged if the minimum daily ledger balance for the account falls below $25,000. The fee can be waived for those who link their accounts and carry a combined balance of $50,000 or who maintain a BMO Harris Financial Advisors Inc. investment account.

    Other non-interest-bearing options include the BMO Harris Smart Advantage which does not have a monthly fee and the BMO Harris Smart Money Account which does not charge overdraft fees but does come with a $5 monthly maintenance fee. Both can be opened with a $25 minimum deposit.

    What we like

    • BMO Harris Premier Account offers tiered interest rates for all balances greater than zero.

    • Low minimum deposit needed to open an account.

    • Account can be opened online.

    • $25 rebate monthly on ATM surcharge fees from other banks with Premier Account.

    What we don't

    • $30 monthly maintenance fee charged if requirements not met.

    • $36 charged for each overdraft.

    Bank experience

    BMO Harris Bank pairs some of the best in-person banking features with useful digital banking functionality.

    BMO Harris Bank boasts a large ATM network. It offers more than 1,400 ATMs and partners with Allpoint so that you will have free access to your cash at tens of thousands of ATMs across the country. You will also have the option to do in-person banking at more than 590 branches.

    You will also have access to several digital money management features. The bank lets you link non-BMO bank accounts so that you can see your full financial picture under one portal. The bank also offers customers card controls. Not only can you turn your card on and off from the app, but you can set spending parameters on your card using the digital functionality. For example, you could restrict a card payment by merchant type.

    As a customer, you can contact someone at the bank’s call center 24/7.

    About BMO Harris

    BMO Harris has more than 500 branches in eight states. Its customers have access to more than 43,000 ATMs. Its branches are in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.

    The Bank of Montreal is BMO Harris’ parent company, and BMO Financial Corp. is its U.S. holding company.

    BMO Harris has its roots dating back to N.W. Harris & Co. (1882) and Samuel Marshall & Co., Exchange Brokers (1847).

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg Twitter Created with Sketch. @MATTATBANKRATE

    Matthew Goldberg is a consumer banking reporter at Bankrate. Nearly his entire career has either been as a reporter or working in financial services, in banking and insurance. His writing has been featured on MSN, appeared in Sports Illustrated On Campus, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Buffalo News and other publications. He has been honored by both the Illinois Associated Press Editors Association and the Illinois Press Association. Matthew is currently on the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) Board of Governors. He has previously served on conference planning committees, the training committee and the finance committee for SABEW, which is the world's largest and oldest organization of business and financial journalists. His reporting career has included working as a staff reporter at two daily newspapers. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University and an MBA at William Paterson University.