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?

Overall Score








Money Market


Customer Service


Mobile App

5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Free checking with eStatements
  • High APY for CDs
  • Good financial tools
  • Limited branches
  • Low savings APY

Bottom Line

Midwest bank with options for low and high-balance customers

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.

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 Platinum Money Market or CD specials.


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  • 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.

Compare Checking Account Promotions

    Member FDIC

    HSBC Advance Checking - $200 Welcome Deposit

    Expires 3/31/2021
    • Get a $200 Welcome Deposit for eligible new customers who open a new HSBC Advance checking account and complete the following qualifying activities.
    • Open your new HSBC Advance checking account online by March 31, 2021; and
    • Make recurring monthly Qualifying Direct Deposits totaling at least $500 from a third party to your HSBC Advance checking account(s) for 3 consecutive calendar months from the second full calendar month after account opening
    • You will automatically receive the $200 Welcome Deposit in your new HSBC Advance checking account approximately eight weeks after completing all qualifying activities. It's that simple.
    • Deposit products are offered in the U.S. by HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Member FDIC.
    Member FDIC

    Chase Total Checking® - $200 Bonus

    Expires 4/14/2021
    • Enjoy a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit
    • Access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches
    • Chase Mobile® app - Manage your accounts, deposit checks, transfer money and more -- all from your device.
    • Open your account online now
    • Available online nationwide except in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. For branch locations, visit locator.chase.com.
    Axos Bank
    Member FDIC

    Rewards Checking - Up to 1.25% APY

    • Up to 1.25% APY
    • No minimum balance requirements
    • No fees to open or maintain account
    • Overdraft Protection


  • 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.

Compare Savings Accounts

Money Market

  • Platinum Money Market Account: If you have more than $5,000 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. The money market account also includes online and mobile banking.

Compare Money Market Accounts

    CIT Bank
    Member FDIC

    CIT Bank Money Market Account

    • Earn over 7x the national average
    • New customers can apply online with a minimum of $100 to open an account
    • Fund the account with electronic transfer, mail in check, or wire transfer
    • No monthly service fees
    • Deposit checks remotely and make transfers with the CIT Bank mobile app
    • FDIC insured
    Discover Bank
    Member FDIC

    Money Market Account

    • Earn 0.35% APY for balances under $100,000
    • Earn 0.40% APY for balances $100,000 and over
    Axos Bank
    Member FDIC

    High Yield Money Market - 0.60% APY

    • 0.60% APY on all balance tiers
    • No minimum balance requirements
    • No fees to open or maintain account
    • Free Visa debit card
    • Free online bill pay, free limited checks, and free limited online check images
    • FDIC Insured


  • 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.

Compare CD Rates

    CIT Bank
    Member FDIC

    CIT Bank Term CDs

    • Up to 0.50% APY
    • $1,000 minimum opening deposit
    • No monthly maintenance fee
    • FDIC insured
    TermCD Rates
    6 Month0.30% APY
    1 Year0.30% APY
    13 Month0.30% APY
    18 Month0.30% APY
    2 Year0.40% APY
    3 Year0.40% APY
    4 Year0.50% APY
    5 Year0.50% APY
    Discover Bank
    Member FDIC

    Certificate of Deposit

    • 0.50% APY for 12-month term
    • 0.55% APY for 36-month term
    • 0.60% APY for 5-year term
    Continental Bank

    High Yield CD - Earn up to 0.80%

    • 0.80% APY for 45-month term
    • 0.70% APY for 13-month term
    • 0.60% APY for 6-month term


  • 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 locator 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 $5,000 to open the account.

  • 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.

Write to Kim P at daniela@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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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