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BMO Bank Review

Regional bank that offers competitive interest rates on higher balances

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BMO Bank

BMO Bank is a traditional retail bank headquartered in Chicago that offers a full range of deposit, lending, and investment products. Founded in 1882 and now a subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal—hence, the "BMO" in its name—it is the eighth largest bank in North America, with $169 billion in assets (for only the BMO division), 12 million consumer and business customers, and more than 500 branches across eight states. This in-depth review of this major regional bank can help you decide if its deposit accounts are right for you.

  • Pros & Cons
  • Company Overview
Pros & Cons
  • No, low, or easy to avoid fees

  • Low minimums to open accounts

  • Several debit card options

  • High balances required to earn competitive interest rates

  • Limited geographic footprint

Company Overview
  • Year Founded 1882
  • Official Website
  • Banking Products Offered Savings, Checking, CDs, MMA, Credit cards, Mortgages, Loans
  • Customer Service Phone: 1-888-340-2265, Email form

Pros Explained

  • No, low or easy to avoid fees. BMO has one savings account option with no monthly fee. There is one checking account that lets you avoid the fee easily with paperless statements. Other accounts have low fees or certain balance requirements to avoid them.
  • Low minimums to open accounts. There are three checking accounts and one savings account that can be opened with as little as $25.
  • Several debit card options. BMO offers three debit card options. When using your debit card to make purchases, you'll enjoy a variety of perks, including purchase protection, return protection, and extended warranties on eligible items.

Cons Explained

  • High balances required to earn interest. Although you can open a savings account with just $25, the account earns an absurdly small interest rate. To earn a decent rate you'll need to open the Premier Money Market account. This account begins by paying 1% which is not so special, but charges you $10 a month unless you have at least $5,000. There are three higher rate tiers that begin at $25,000. The highest requires you to have $250,000 in order to earn the best rate of 3.00%. Other banks, particularly online banks, allow you to earn equal or better rates without the absurd balance requirements.
  • Limited geographic footprint. The bank is regionally focused: while it boasts numerous branches, they're restricted to eight states in the South, Southwest, and Midwest. If you live outside these states, your ability to transact business in person is limited.

Who Is BMO Bank Best For?

BMO Bank is best for customers who live in one of the states where it has physical branches: Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, or Wisconsin.

The bank may also be a good fit for customers who:

  • Want to open a checking or savings account with a small opening deposit
  • Can maintain a six-figure account balance to earn the most interest
  • Use a debit card for everyday purchases
  • Want to a large, full-service bank that can meet all of their financial needs
  • Are 25 years old or less

What Does BMO Bank Offer?

BMO has its own ATMs and partners with Allpoint to offer over 40,000 ATMs nationwide that customers can use without a fee. If you use an ATM outside its network, BMO charges $3 per transaction.

As you might expect from a financial institution of its size, BMO Bank offers a wide array of all the usual banking products and services for consumers and businesses, including:

  • Checking accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Credit cards
  • Loans and mortgages

Checking Accounts

Customers have three checking account options to choose from.

  • The Smart Advantage Account is monthly-fee-free if you sign up with paperless statements.
  • The Smart Money Account carries a $5 monthly service charge but waives overdraft or non-sufficient funds fees. The fee is waived for customers who are under 25 years old.
  • The Premier Account earns interest, waives non-BMO ATM fees, and reimburses up to $25 in ATM fees charged by other banks. However, it charges a $25 monthly fee unless you have a high balance.

Each checking account offers three different debit cards to choose from. The BMO Bank Debit Mastercard provides return protection up to $250 and extended warranty on eligible items. The World Debit Mastercard adds purchase protection in case your item is damaged or stolen within 90 days. Sports fans can show their pride and save 20% on team gear with Bulls, Blackhawks, or Bucks-themed Debit Mastercards.

Smart Advantage Account $25 $0 (with paperless statements) None
Smart Money Account $25 $5 None
Premier Account $25 $25 0.01%
as of September 19, 2023

Money Market Account

The Premier Money Market Account from BMO Bank has a $10 monthly fee unless you have at least $10,000 in the account. It requires a minimum deposit of just $25. It has a base interest rate and higher rates for large balances.

Premier Money Market Account $25 $10 (waived with a $5,000 minimum balance) Base rate: 1.00%. If balance is $25,000–$99,999.99: 2.02%. If balance is $100,000–$249,999.99: 3.04%. If balance is $250,000+: 3.56%.
as of September 19, 2023

Savings Account

A BMO Bank Savings Builder Account can be opened with a minimum of $25. There is no monthly fee and it pays a tiny interest rate.

Savings Builder $25 $0 0.01%
BMO Alto Online Savings $1 $0 5.10%
as of September 19, 2023

Certificates of Deposit

Certificates of deposit (CDs) are available from three to 60 months with a minimum deposit of $1,000.

The bank occasionally offers special-term CDs with attractive interest rates to meet its funding needs. An Add-On CD is also available for customers that want to augment an existing certificate, without affecting its maturity date.

At maturity, CDs automatically renew at the current market rate. Customers are sent a notice of maturity by mail and have 10 days from the maturity date to withdraw funds without penalty.

Early withdrawal penalties vary based on the CD's term and can be waived if the owner passes away or is judicially declared legally incompetent.

TERM APY with $1,000 minimum
3-month 0.05%
6-month 0.05%
9-month 0.05%
12-month 0.05%
18-month 0.05%
24-month 0.05%
30-month 0.05%
36-month 0.10%
48-month 0.15%
60-month 0.25%
as of September 19, 2023
<59 Days All interest earned
60-364 Days 90 days interest
12-23 Months 180 days interest
24-35 Months 270 days interest
36-47 Months 365 days interest
48+ Months 545 days interest
as of September 19, 2023

BMO Bank also offers special rates for certain terms with a minimum $1,000 deposit. As of September 19, 2023, these rates are:

  • 13-month: 5.25%
  • 25-month: 5.00%
  • 35-month: 4.75%
  • 45-month: 4.75%
  • 59-month: 4.75%

Credit Cards

BMO Bank has several credit card options, all of them part of the Mastercard network. These choices include cards that earn cash back, rewards credit cards, and balance transfer cards. Here are some of the cards it offers:

Rewards Credit Cards

  • BMO Bank Platinum Rewards Mastercard
  • BMO Bank Premium Rewards Mastercard

Cash Back Credit Cards

  • BMO Bank Cash Back Mastercard

Balance Transfer Credit Cards

  • BMO Bank Platinum Mastercard

Other Financial Products Offered by BMO Bank

BMO Bank offers additional financial products, including:

  • Car loans
  • Purchase mortgages
  • Refinance mortgages
  • Home equity loans
  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs)
  • Personal loans
  • Personal lines of credit
  • CD-secured loans
  • IRAs
  • Managed investment portfolios
  • Private banking
  • Financial advisors
  • Business loans

BMO Bank Customer Service

To connect with BMO Bank customer service, you have several options. You can visit any of the over 500 branches in Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, and Wisconsin. Customer service can be reached by phone at 1-888-340-2265. Live customer service is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends. Automated phone banking is also available 24 hours a day.

You may also contact BMO Bank through online banking and its mobile app. The high-ranking mobile app is available for both Apple (where it scores 4.8 out of 5, based on around 50,000 ratings) and Android (4.6 out of 5, based on around 17,000 ratings). Through the app, you can also pay bills, view transactions, deposit checks, and more.

How to Bank With BMO Bank

To open an account with BMO Bank, the best options are in-person or online. If you live in one of the eight states where BMO has branches, you can open an account in-person. Opening an account online from anywhere is also available.


Given its full menu of financial products and accounts, BMO Bank offers a truly one-stop-shopping experience. And it appeals to a variety of consumers, from those who can invest five or even six figures in a CD to those who have only $25 to open a checking or savings account with. Its modest minimums, fee waivers for those under 25, and some no monthly fee accounts, suggest that it's appealing to students and young savers, and wants to encourage them in building good financial habits.

On the other hand, while there are no and low-fee deposit options, if you want the best perks and highest interest rates, you'll need to deposit some serious money—and maintain account balances in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

Also, while BMO can handle almost every banking need under one roof, it doesn't offer that many roofs—if you live outside the eight states with branches. As a regional bank, it is most appealing for customers located in one of the states where it has a brick-and-mortar presence. Although accounts can be opened online and serviced through the mobile app, there are better digital banking alternatives that offer competitive rates without the high minimums BMO requires.


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