Updated July 27, 2023

BMO Bank Review: Account Good for You?

Read more about BMO Bank
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BMO offers low fees and a large ATM network. But savings rates are low. However, the strong features can still make it a good bank for you. Read on.

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Free checking with eStatements
  • Large ATM network
  • Good financial tools
  • Limited branches
  • Low savings APY

Bottom Line

Midwest bank with options for low and high-balance customers

BMO Bank Overview

BMO is one of the oldest national banks in the Midwest with almost a 200-year history. It's headquartered in Chicago and has over 1,000 branches. Though it's mostly located in 22 states, it has fee-free transactions at more than 40,000 Allpoint® network ATMs nationwide.[1]

They offer a variety of personal deposit products, including checking, savings, CDs, and IRAs.

We like that there's a free checking option for low-balance customers. And if you have more to save, you can get higher interest rates with its Relationship Plus Money Market or CD specials.

Keep reading to learn more about BMO.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Free checking option with no balance requirements
  • Only $25 to open checking accounts
  • Fee-free transactions at more than 40,000 Allpoint® network ATMs nationwide
  • Frequent cash bonuses for new customers
  • Good digital tools to help manage your finances

Cons:

  • Branches only in 22 states
  • Low savings interest rates

BMO Promotions

Smart Advantage Checking

This is the most popular BMO 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.[2]

Other features include:

  • Choose your debit card from several options
  • Get cash from ATMs with just your smartphone
  • Mobile check deposits, bill pay, and Zelle
  • Personalized support via chat, phone and in branch

Note that this account has a $15 overdraft fee. It applies if the account is overdrawn by more than $50.[3]

Smart Money Checking

The Smart Money checking account is meant to be a safe account with no overdraft fees. It doesn't allow overdrafts - if you don't have the money, the transaction simply will not go through.

It has a $5 monthly service fee that cannot be waived. However, this account is free for young adults under 25 years old.[4]

Note: BMO also charges a $2 fee per month for paper statements. If you opt for eStatements, this fee can be waived.

Relationship Checking

This is the only BMO checking account that earns interest. In exchange for interest and other perks, it requires a high balance in order to waive the hefty $25 monthly maintenance fee.[5]

Some other perks include:

  • $25 monthly rebates on ATM fee surcharges by other banks
  • Free incoming wires
  • No annual rental fee for a 3"x5" Safe Deposit Box
  • Interest rate discounts on lending products

Compare Checking Account Promotions

Savings Builder Account

BMO Savings Builder Account has $0 monthly fee and requires just $25 to open. However, like most national banks, the interest rate is pretty low.

But a pretty cool perk is that during the first year of the account, BMO will reward you with an extra $5 for each month you save $200 or more.[6] This gives you the opportunity to earn an extra $60 for your savings.

Compare Savings Accounts

Relationship Plus Money Market

With just $25, you can open a Relationship Plus Money Market account. There is a $10 monthly service fee unless you maintain a minimum daily balance of $5,000.

They may offer higher interest rates when you bundle it with a BMO Relationship Checking Account Relationship Package. The more money you deposit, the higher your interest rate can be.

Compare Money Market Accounts

CDs

  • Standard CD: BMO offers your standard CD with a variety of maturity dates and just a $1,000 opening deposit. Terms range from 3 months to 5 years.[7]

  • 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 terms and requires a $1,000 opening deposit.

  • Special Rate CDs: BMO also offers a variety of "special" CDs. You'll find higher interest rates and unique terms on these CDs. It also has a $1,000 minimum deposit requirement.

Is BMO insured?
Yes — BMO is FDIC-insured. Your money is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per depositor.

Compare CD Rates

IRAs

  • CDs: BMO 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 will offer.[8]

  • 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.[9]

What Is the BMO Routing Number?
The BMO 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.

Banking Features

  • Total Look
    You can link your non-BMO financial accounts. This gives you the chance to see your full financial picture in one place. You can view transactions, track spending, set up savings goals, create budgets, and more.[10]

  • Mobile Cash
    This feature lets you withdraw cash from ATMs with just your smartphone. You don't need to bring your debit card.

  • Overdraft Funding
    If you link a BMO checking and savings account, they will automatically transfer money from your savings to cover overdrafts. This can help you avoid hefty overdraft fees.

  • Auto Save
    You set up the amount and frequency, and BMO will automatically transfer into your savings account for you. It takes the thinking out of saving and helps you avoid spending the money before you have a chance to save it.

  • Large ATM network
    Aside from their own ATMs, BMO is also in the AllPoint network, with over 40,000 ATMs across the US. You can withdraw your money free of charge, even if you're not near a BMO service area.

  • Card Monitor
    You can turn your debit card on and off at any time within the app. Plus, you can control spending by setting restrictions by location, merchant type, and transaction amount.

Contacting BMO Bank
You can reach BMO 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 locator and set up an appointment in-person with a BMO banker.

BMO Downsides

  • Located in mostly 22 states
    Unless you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, or WY, you won't be able to bank locally with BMO.

  • Low savings rates
    As typical of national banks, BMO' savings interest rates are pretty abysmal. Don't expect your money to grow much. But there are some CDs with decent rates if you're willing to lock up your funds for a certain term.

  • $50 to close your account
    BMO 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.[11]

How It Compares

Fifth Third Bank
Fifth Third is concentrated across the Midwest, South, and Southeast. There is no minimum balance required, no monthly service charge and no minimum deposit to open the traditional checking account, although you will need to fund it within 45 days.[12] 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 37 states. They have a network of 12,000 ATMs and a variety of account options. Like BMO, 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 is a full-service bank with a variety of features and benefits to offer. If you're looking for basic checking and savings with low requirements, BMO may offer just what you need.

But if you're looking for high interest rates, you may want to consider online only banks that have less overhead and can offer higher yields.

References

  1. ^ BMO Bank Facts, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  2. ^ BMO Smart Advantage, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  3. ^ BMO Smart Advantage Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 2/14/2022
  4. ^ BMO Smart Money, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  5. ^ BMO Relationship Checking, Retrieved 7/20/2023
  6. ^ BMO Bank. Savings Builder Account, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  7. ^ BMO Bank. Certificate of Deposit (CDs), Retrieved 2/13/2022
  8. ^ BMO Bank. IRA Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Retrieved 2/13/2022
  9. ^ BMO Bank. IRA Premium Savers, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  10. ^ BMO Total Look - Add Accounts to Total Look, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  11. ^ BMO Bank. Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 2/13/2022
  12. ^ Fifth Third Bank. Compare Checking Accounts, Retrieved 4/5/2022
BMO Bank
Member FDIC

BMO Smart Advantage Checking - $350 Cash Bonus

Expires 9/9/2024

Get a $350 cash bonus when you open a new Smart Money Checking or Smart Advantage Checking account and have a cumulative total of $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of opening. Offer is limited to one per customer and is not available for existing BMO personal checking customers (including signers on joint accounts) or those who have closed a BMO personal checking account within the past 12 months. Conditions apply.

Chase
Member FDIC

Chase Total Checking® - $300 Bonus

Expires 7/24/2024
  • New Chase checking customers enjoy a $300 bonus when you open a Chase Total Checking® account with qualifying activities
  • Access to more than 15,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
  • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC
  • Open your account online now
  • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.
  • Chase Overdraft Assist℠ - no overdraft fees if you're overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the business day or if you're overdrawn by more than $50 and bring your account balance to overdrawn by $50 or less at the end of the next business day*
Bank of America
Member FDIC

Bank of America Advantage Banking - $200 Bonus Offer

Expires 5/31/2024
  • The $200 bonus offer is an online only offer and must be opened through the Bank of America promotional page.
  • The offer is for new checking customers only.
  • Offer expires 5/31/2024.
  • To qualify, open a Bank of America Advantage Banking account through the promotional page and set up and receive qualifying direct deposits totaling $2,000 or more into that new account within 90 days of opening.
  • Bank of America will attempt to pay bonus within 60 days.
  • Additional terms and conditions apply. See offer page for more details.
  • Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.
Discover Bank
Member FDIC

Online Savings Account - Earn 4.25% APY

  • No fees
  • No minimum opening deposit
  • No minimum balance required
CIT Bank
Member FDIC

CIT Bank Platinum Savings - 5.00% APY

  • 5.00% APY with a balance of $5,000 or more
  • 0.25% APY with a balance of less than $5,000
  • $100 minimum opening deposit
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Member FDIC

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Note: This website 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. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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