October 19, 2018

BMO Harris Bank Review: Account Good for You?

Read more about BMO Harris Bank
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With almost a 200-year history, BMO Harris is a household name in the Midwest. They offer a large range of personal financial products to help consumers take control of their finances. But are their services worth it?

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BMO Harris has more than 600 branches throughout the United States and as many as 43,000 fee-free ATMs available. They offer a variety of personal deposit products that include checking, savings, money market, CDs, and IRAs. Their deposit products range from simple for beginners to accounts with complex features and higher (tiered) interest rates.

Is BMO Harris right for you or is it just another nationally-recognized bank offering low interest rates? Keep reading to find out more about BMO Harris.

Services Offered

BMO Harris offers a variety of personal deposit products that suit the needs of many. Whether you need a bank account quickly to have your employment paycheck deposited or you are trying to get a better handle on your savings, BMO Harris has several accounts to consider.

Checking

  • Smart Money Account: The basic BMO Harris checking account is best for students or young adults younger than 25 years old. That's the only group that can have the $5 monthly maintenance fee waived. BMO Harris doesn't offer the ability to waive the fee with a specific balance or direct deposit like many other banks offer. This account doesn't pay interest, and it doesn't allow overdrafts. If you don't have the money, the transaction will not go through. Note: BMO also charges a $2 fee per month for paper statements. If you opt for statements, this fee can be waived.

  • Smart Advantage Account: This is the most popular BMO Harris checking account and for good reason. As long as you opt for eStatements, there's no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance required for this account. As a tradeoff, though, your money doesn't earn interest in this account. You do get unlimited BMO Harris ATM transactions, can make mobile deposits, and can manage your account from your PC and/or phone.

  • Premier Account: This is the only BMO Harris checking account that earns interest. In exchange for the tiered interest rates, though, you'll pay a hefty monthly maintenance fee of $30. You can waive the fee if you have at least $25,000 in the account on a monthly basis or you have a combined average of $50,000 in two BMO Harris accounts (with a Relationship Waiver). You'll also receive up to a $25 rebate on ATM surcharges if you use a non-BMO ATM.

Savings

  • Statement Savings: With just $100, you can open a Statement Savings account at BMO Harris. With tiered interest rates, a $5 monthly fee that you can get waived, and unlimited in-person or ATM withdrawals, this account is a great way to put money aside. The Auto Save feature that automatically deposits the amount you specify in the savings account from your linked BMO Harris checking account can be helpful too. In order to waive the $5 fee, you'll need an average balance of $500 or have Auto Save set up with a minimum $25 deposit.

Money Market

  • Platinum Money Market Account: If you have more than $10,000 to put into a savings account, consider the Platinum Money Market account. You'll receive premium savings account interest rates with access to checks for times that you need to spend some of the money. If you don't have the minimum $10,000 average monthly balance, you will pay a fee of $20, so it's important to commit to that minimum balance to avoid the unnecessary fee. The money market account also includes online and mobile banking.

CDs

  • Standard CD: BMO Harris offers your standard CD with a variety of maturity dates and just a $1,000 opening deposit. You won't receive rate increases, but your earned interest automatically gets reinvested.

  • Add-on CD: With this CD, you can make additional deposits after you open the CD. You can deposit money as often as you like. The Add-on CD only comes in 1-year increments and requires a $1,000 opening deposit.

  • Special Rate CDs: BMO Harris also offers a variety of "special" CDs. You'll find higher interest rates and unique terms on these CDs. The largest difference, however, is the $5,000 minimum deposit requirement.

IRAs

  • CDs: BMO Harris offers IRA CDs for those who want to take the conservative route with their retirement funds. With just $1,000, you can open a retirement CD. The terms range from 3 months to 5 years. The longer the maturity date that you choose and the more money you invest, the higher the interest rate BMO Harris will offer.

  • IRA Premium Savers: This IRA allows you to make deposits as you can or even on an automated basis. You need $100 to open the account and you can make deposits as frequently or infrequently as you like. You can open the account as a traditional, ROTH, or SEP IRA.

What Is the BMO Harris Routing Number?
The BMO Harris routing number is 071025661.You can also see it on the bottom of your personal checks. It's the number on the left-hand side, before your account number.

Reasons We Like BMO Harris Bank

  • On the BMO Harris mobile app, you can link your external accounts. This gives you the chance to see all of your accounts in one place. This may help you stay more organized and give you a better idea of your full financial picture.

  • You have more than 40,000 ATMs to choose from when you need money. BMO Harris is in the AllPoint network, which is one of the larger networks in the US. This means you can withdraw your money free of charge, even if you are at a non-BMO Harris ATM.

  • You have a variety of CD maturity dates to choose from. If you want a standard CD, you can tie your money up for 3 months all the way up to 60 months. You also only need $1,000 to open a CD. If you have more money and a short time horizon, you can even get a maturity date of as little as 1 month, but you'll need $100,000 to open the CD.

  • You only need $25 to open any of the checking accounts at BMO Harris. This can make it easy to get an account established, especially if you are looking for a bank to send your direct deposit from your employer.

  • Most deposit products at BMO Harris include online banking, mobile banking, security alerts, unlimited ATM transactions at BMO or Allpoint ATMs, and the ability to pay friends/family instantly with PeoplePay. They do make it convenient to bank with them, especially if you use technology to stay up-to-date on your finances.

  • BMO Harris makes it easy to switch your bank accounts over to them with their Switch Kit. The kit provides access to a Direct Deposit Transfer form, Automatic Payment Change form, and Account Closing form. The kit's instructions walk you through step-by-step to get your accounts switched over and everything into one place.

  • You can make contributions at your desired frequency into your BMO Harris IRA "Premium Savers." You set up the frequency and deposit the money. You can also set up "Monthly Auto Save" to have money automatically transferred to your IRA account. Note: All deposits are subject to the IRS distribution and contribution rules.

  • The Total Look tab in BMO Harris' online banking helps you get control of all of your finances. You can link non-BMO Harris accounts for a consolidated view of your financial life. You can view transactions, track spending, set up savings goals, and create budgets, just to name a few of the benefits.

  • You can set up Overdraft Funding if you have a BMO Harris checking and savings account. This can help you prevent going over the limit of your checking account and facing hefty fees. BMO Harris does charge $10 per fee/one transfer per day to cover your overdrafts, but it's less than the $36 per overdraft they charge.

  • You can set up Auto Save. You set up the transfer once and BMO Harris automatically transfers the designated funds from your checking account to your savings account on the specified date. It takes the thinking out of saving and helps you avoid spending the money before you have a chance to save it.

Contacting BMO Harris Bank
You can reach BMO Harris Bank at 1-888-340-2265, 24 hours a day. They also offer the ability to send private messages via their Facebook and Twitter social media pages. You may also use their branch locater and set up an appointment in-person with a BMO Harris banker.

Reasons You May Want to Look Elsewhere

  • You have to live in one of the 8 states that BMO Harris services. BMO Harris isn't a nationwide bank. Unless you live in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, or Minnesota, you won't be able to bank with BMO Harris.

  • BMO Harris only has one savings account option. If you are in the market for a savings account with all of the bells and whistles, you won't find it at BMO Harris. While they do have a Money Market Account that offers higher interest rates, you need a minimum of $10,000 on a monthly basis to waive the monthly maintenance fee.

  • You may pay $50 if you close your account. BMO Harris charges this fee if you close your checking or savings account within the first 90 days of opening it. If you are unsure if the account will work for you, it may be better to wait until you are truly sure.

How It Compares

Fifth Third
Fifth Third is concentrated across the Midwest, South, and Southeast. Fifth Third tends to have higher minimum balance requirements, as their lowest requirement is $1,500. They do have a vast network of 50,000 fee-free ATMs and offer online/mobile banking.

Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo is truly a national bank, with a presence in more than 39 states. They have a network of 13,000 ATMs and a variety of account options. Like BMO Harris, they offer interest-free checking accounts with easy ways to avoid the monthly maintenance fee. They also offer 24/7 phone customer service.

Bottom Line

BMO Harris Bank is a full-service bank with a variety of features and benefits to offer. If you prefer in-person banking and like access to all of your accounts in one place, BMO Harris may offer just what you need. If you are in the market for high interest rates and low fees, though, you may want to stick to the online only banks that have less overhead and can offer higher yields.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on October 19, 2018. Information including rates, fees, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check the bank's website for updated information.

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