BMO Harris Bank Review of Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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Updated on Wednesday, July 1, 2020


BMO Harris Bank checking account options

Harris Premier™ account

Earn a tiny amount of interest, but receive perks like ATM refunds and the ability to waive the maintenance fee.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.01%

$0.01

0.05%

$5,000

0.05%

$10,000

0.10%

$25,000

0.10%

$50,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $30 (waived if you meet certain conditions)
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: Up to $25 per statement cycle
  • Overdraft fee: $36 each item when you opt into overdraft protection

This account is great for those who intend on making a large number of transactions and keeping a large sum of cash across all BMO Harris Bank accounts. If you have a minimum daily balance of $25,000, a BMO Harris Financial Advisors investment account or have $50,000 across all your linked accounts with their Relationship Waiver program, the monthly maintenance fee is waived.

While you’re not earning a whole lot of interest, you do get a free pack of checks and half off certain styles should you need to order more. You also get ATM fee refunds and overdraft funding fees waived if money is transferred into the account. Other free services include money orders, cashier’s checks and paper statements.

How to get Harris Premier™ Account

Opening an account online can take you 20 minutes or less. Head over to the online application form and first enter in your ZIP code. The rest of the form asks you to enter your personal details such as your name, address, employment information, Social Security number and state ID/driver’s license if you’re a new customer. Then you’ll need to fund the account and consider the option to add on other features like overdraft protection.

If not, you can always call customer service, or head to your local branch to open the account. The process could be a lot smoother (aka faster) if you make an appointment beforehand.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Smart Money™ account

No monthly maintenance fees, but at the expense of earning interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (this can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $3 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: None. $36 per transaction if you opt into overdraft protection

The Smart Money account is a no-frills checking account that’s great for those who are opening an account for the first time. That’s because the monthly maintenance fee is waived for primary account holders under 25 years old. If you opt for paper statements, the $2 monthly statement fee is also waived.

Although this account doesn’t earn any interest, you do get a few free perks. All account holders get a debit card and their first pack of checks for free. Also, unless you opt into overdraft protection – either by linking a BMO Harris Bank savings account or line of credit – any transaction will be denied if it’s over your bank account balance. There’s also mobile banking, which includes nifty features like People Pay, a service that lets you send money to anyone with a U.S. bank account with their email address and Mobile Cash, where you can withdraw cash at any ATM without using your debit card.

How to get a Smart Money™ account

You can open account in less than 20 minutes by heading to the BMO Harris website and filling out an online application. Applicants will be asked to provide their Social Security number and ID (a driver’s license counts) if you’ve never banked with BMO Harris Bank before. You’ll also need to provide personal details such as your name, address and employment information. After agreeing to their disclosures and provide a way to fund your account, you can then add on features like overdraft protection.

Alternatively, you can also an account by calling the bank, or going to at any one of their branches. To save time, search on the site and book an appointment ahead of time.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Smart Advantage™ account

No monthly fees if you enroll in eStatements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $3 for out of network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $36 each item when you opt into overdraft protection

This account isn’t that much different from the Smart Money™ account, except that there are no fees for account holders, no matter the age. You get the same perks like your first free pack of checks, a debit card and free checking imaging if you enroll in eStatements.

Unfortunately, this account isn’t interest-bearing. But for those who are looking for a basic checking account and aren’t too concerned with earning interest, this is a good option. You don’t need to worry about overdrawing your account (unless you link it to a savings account or line of credit, then there’s a fee per transfer) and you get benefits such as mobile banking, which you can use to manage external accounts.

With both checking accounts, you may be able to get rate discounts if you take out a mortgage or home equity line of credit through the bank for account holders.

How to get a Smart Advantage™ Account

Head to the BMO Harris Bank website and fill out an online application. You’ll first need to enter in your ZIP code then provide your Social Security number and ID (a driver’s license counts) if you’ve never banked with BMO Harris before. Afterward, provide your personal details such as your address and employment information, and then agree to their disclosures. Fund the account and add on any additional services. The entire process should take about 20 minutes or less.

Otherwise, call customer service, or go to your nearest branch and open an account there. You may be able to save a bit of time by booking an appointment ahead of time.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

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How BMO Harris Bank’s checking accounts compare

Unfortunately, BMO Harris Bank’s checking accounts fall short when it comes to rates. Other online banks offer much higher rates, no balance minimums and some even offer unlimited ATM reimbursements.

Where these checking accounts do shine is their mobile banking feature. The app is intuitive and has a host of features, such as a money management option where you can link external accounts. You can also securely send money to anyone with a U.S. bank account if they have an email address and withdraw cash from an ATM using just your phone.

If you’re just after a basic checking account with the highest rates, you’re better off considering another bank.

BMO Harris Bank savings account options

Statement Savings

A no-frills savings account with a low monthly maintenance fee.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.05%

$0.01

  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5 (waived if you meet certain requirements)
  • ATM fee: $3 for out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $10 per transfer to a checking account

Considering its low monthly maintenance fee and opening deposit amount, this BMO Harris Bank savings account is best for those who either want to open their first account or want a cheap option to link to a checking account for overdraft protection.

You do get a free ATM card with this account, but because it’s a savings account, you’re limited to six withdrawals/transfers per month thanks to Regulation D. Unlike other banks where you’re charged an excessive withdrawal fee, BMO Harris Bank will simply deny your request if you attempt to make more than six.

In order to waive the monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to maintain a minimum daily balance of $500, opt to automatically transfer a minimum of $25 each month into the account and the primary account holder is under 18 years old.

How to get a Statement Savings account

The most efficient way to open an account is doing so online. Go to the online application form and enter your ZIP code. Then, you’ll be asked to provide personal identifying information such as address, employment information, Social Security number and an ID if you’re a new customer. After agreeing to the disclosures and providing funding information, you’ll be asked whether you want any extra features like linking your account for overdraft protection.

If not, you can always call customer service or head to your local branch to open an account. The process could be a lot smoother (aka faster) if you make an appointment beforehand.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BMO Harris Bank’s savings account compares

Sadly, the APY falls way short just like other big banks when compared with savings account competitors. Other places offer more than 10 times what BMO Harris Bank is offering in terms of rates, and many don’t have monthly maintenance fees.

The only thing that really stands out is that you do get a debit card and ATM access. You’re also not at risk of paying any excessive withdrawal fees like at other places since this bank will outright deny you once you make more than six withdrawals/transfers a month.

BMO Harris Bank CD Rates

Fixed Rate CD

Get some of the best rates out there with the online promotional rates.

Term

APY

Minimum Balance to Earn APY

1 month

0.05%

$100,000

2 months

0.05%

$100,000

3 months

0.05%

$1,000

6 months

0.05%

$1,000

9 months

0.10%

$1,000

12 months

0.80%

$1,000

18 months

0.25%

$1,000

24 months

0.30%

$1,000

30 months

0.35%

$1,000

36 months

0.40%

$1,000

48 months

0.50%

$1,000

60 months

0.75%

$1,000

Special CD Rates

18 months

2.65%

$5,000

30 months

3.00%

$5,000

60 months

2.80%

$5,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Fees depend on length of term:
    • 1 month: all interest earned
    • 2 months: 11 months’ interest
    • 2 to 11 months: 90 days’ interest
    • 12 to 23 months: 180 days’ interest
    • 24-35 months: 270 days’ interest
    • 36 – 47 months: 365 days’ interest
    • 48 months and up: 545 days’ interest
    • Special Rate CDs (short-term): 180 days’ interest
    • Special Rate CDs (long-term): 365 days’ interest

Technically, the minimum opening for its fixed-rate CDs is $1,000, and you can only qualify for the online promotional rates if you have a $5,000 minimum deposit. If not, you’re looking at some pretty abysmal rates at a maximum of 0.75% APY for a 60 month term.

Interest is compounded daily and will be credited to your account at maturity for CDs less than a year and quarterly if your term is longer. You’ll get a reminder when your CD is about to mature, then when it does, you get a 10-day grace period to decide what to do. If you do nothing, your account will automatically be renewed.

How to get a Fixed Rate CD

If you apply for a CD online, you cannot open it as a joint account. You’ll need to do so at your nearest branch. For single account owners, head over to the online application form, enter your ZIP code and pick which CD term you want. Provide your personal details such as name, address, employment, Social Security number and government-issued ID if you’re a first-time customer. All you need to do afterward is to fund your account.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Step Rate CD

Earn a competitive rate with automatic rate increases each year.

Term

APY

3 years

2.74% Blended

  • Minimum opening deposit: $5,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $5,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: 365 days’ interest

With the Step Rate CD, you get a rate increase each each year, resulting in the blended APY you see above. You’ll get guaranteed rate increases automatically each year.

Just like the fixed rate CD, interest is compounded daily and credited every quarter. Before maturity, you’ll get a reminder and a 10-day grace period in which to either withdraw funds, add more or renew for another term. Otherwise, your CD will automatically be renewed.

How to get a Step Rate CD

You can only open a Step Rate CD in person or by calling the bank. To find a location nearest you, do search on their site on their locations page by entering your ZIP code or city and state.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BMO Harris Bank’s CD rates compare

The promotional rates for the fixed rate CDs are some of the best out there. While some of its competitors offer slightly higher rates, BMO Harris Bank has a lower minimum opening deposit at $5,000. The Step Rate CD is also a great choice as it offers a great rate and automatic increases to boot.

On the other hand, if you’re comparing the bank’s regular CD rates, then those fall way short. If you’re interested in CDs with shorter terms, you’re better off looking for CDs elsewhere.

BMO Harris Bank money market account options

Platinum Money Market

Low minimum opening deposit, but needs a high deposit amount to waive monthly maintenance fee.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0%

$0.01

1.25%

$10,000

1.25%

$25,000

1.25%

$50,000

1.25%

$100,000

1.25%

$250,000

  • Minimum opening deposit: $25
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $20 (this fee can be waived)
  • ATM fee: $3 for out of network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $10 if linked to a checking account

While the rates aren’t anything to rave about, they are higher than the savings accounts and you do get check writing capabilities. Just like other accounts, you also get online and mobile banking which as mentioned before, comes with some pretty snazzy features.

This account is probably best for those who intend on stashing more money. You can skip paying the monthly maintenance fee if you keep a minimum balance of $10,000. Or else you’ll be paying the steep fee.

Because this is a savings account, Federal Regulation D limits withdrawals to six per month. If you go over this amount, you will be charged $15 per transaction.

How to get a Platinum Money Market account

You’re only allowed to open a money market account by calling or going to your nearest branch. To find a location nearest you, do a search on the BMO Harris Bank’s website and enter in your ZIP code. It may help to speed up the application process of you book an appointment beforehand.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BMO Harris Bank’s money market accounts compare

Like most traditional banks that pay minuscule rates, BMO Harris Bank is no exception. Although it’s higher compared to big banks, with online banks and credit unions, the rates fall flat. However, many competitors require high minimum balances in order to waive the maintenance fees, much like BMO Harris Bank. Some even offer limited check writing capabilities, though not all have ATM access.

All this to say, if you insist on finding the best rates, it’s a good idea to check out our list of the best money market rates to do some comparison shopping.

BMO Harris Bank IRA account options

IRA CD rates

Earn a more competitive rate the higher the minimum deposit.

Term

APY (with a $1,000 minimum deposit amount)

3 months

0.05%

6 months

0.05%

9 months

0.10%

12 months

0.15%

18 months

0.25%

24 months

0.30%

30 months

0.35%

36 months

0.40%

48 months

0.50%

60 months

0.75%

Term

APY (with a $5,000 minimum deposit amount)

3 months

0.05%

6 months

0.30%

9 months

0.40%

12 months

0.15%

18 months

2.65%

24 months

0.30%

30 months

3.00%

36 months

0.40%

48 months

0.50%

60 months

2.80%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000 or $5,000
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $1,000 or $5,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Depends on length of CD term:
    • 1 month – all interest earned
    • 2 months – 11 months interest
    • 2 to 11 months – 90 days interest
    • 12 to 23 months – 180 days interest
    • 24-35 months – 270 days interest
    • 36 – 47 months – 365 days interest
    • 48 months and up – 545 days interest

Like the fixed rate CDs, some of the APYs you see above aren’t great. But if you take advantage of the 18, 30 and 60 month CDs with the $5,000 minimum deposit, you can get some really stellar rates.

You’ll want to make sure you’re not exceeding your annual limits for IRA contributions. In 2018, the maximum is $5,500 for individuals and $6,500 if you’re 50 or older. Additionally, if you make early withdrawals, you’re subjected to BMO Harris Bank’s early withdrawal penalties and will be taxed an additional 25% by the IRS if you’re younger than 59.5 years old.

BMO Harris Bank also offers jumbo CDs, but they’re the same rates as the $5,000 minimum deposit.

How to get BMO Harris Bank’s IRA CDs

You can only open a IRA CD in person. Click on the “Locations” tab on its website or call customer service to find a branch closest to you.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How BMO Harris Bank’s IRA CD rates compare

While many of its competitors require the same minimum opening deposits, BMO Harris Bank’s rates fall way short when you look at them side by side. That is, unless you’re talking about the 18, 30 and 60 month CDs with the $5,000 minimum deposit. These three terms have some of highest rates offered.

If you’re interested in higher rates for different terms than the ones mentioned above, then you’ll want to look at our list for the current best offers on IRA CDs.

IRA savings account

Low opening deposit and no monthly maintenance fees.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: None
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: none
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

This is your run-of-the-mill savings account that you can either open as a traditional, Roth or SEP IRA. If the rates are anything like the Statement Savings Account, they’re not spectacular, but you have more flexibility than the IRA CDs in that you can withdraw funds at any time. Remember, you may have to pay a tax penalty if you take out cash before you’re 59.5 years old with a traditional IRA.

Your IRA savings account compounds interest daily and will be credited quarterly, whenever statements are sent to you. Contact the bank to request the rates for this account.

How to get BMO Harris Bank’s IRA savings account

The only way to open an IRA savings account is in person at a local branch. Click on the “Locations” tab on its website or call customer service to find one closest to you.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on BMO Harris Bank’s secure website

Overall review of BMO Harris Bank’s banking products

For those looking for basic savings and checking accounts with minimal fees, BMO Harris Bank stands out as a decent choice. You’re not earning much in interest so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re after higher rates. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to do a little comparison shopping to see what’s out there.

Where the bank does shine is its CD and IRA CD accounts. Their promotional rates are some of the best ones we’ve currently seen and the minimum opening balance isn’t too shabby. BMO Harris Bank also has some nice bells and whistles with its mobile app. For those who want to get ATM access, pay bills and manage external accounts all in one place, you’ve got a winner right here.

Unfortunately, not all of the bank’s products are available to be opened online, so you may be out of luck if there isn’t a branch near you. However, the accounts that you do need to open in person don’t have the best rates, so you’re probably not missing out on much.

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