Updated September 29, 2022

Is BMO Harris a Real Bank

Read more about BMO Harris Bank
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BMO Harris, is a U.S bank, part of the Bank of Montreal. It offers solid basic checking options and a large ATM network. But, is it legit? Read on to find out.

With BMO Harris being one of the largest national banks, it is most definitely a legitimate bank. It is also one of the oldest banks in North America.

The bank offers an array of different accounts and has fee-free transactions at more than 40,000 Allpoint® network ATMs nationwide. However, it's only located in 8 states. If you are from the Midwest, you'll be in luck as it is located in that area.

What is BMO Harris?

BMO Harris is a fully functional retail bank. Founded in 1882 with headquarters in Chicago, the bank is currently the 8th largest by assets in North America. They provide a range of services, from deposits and loans to investment options.

A little history: BMO Harris, first established by Norman Wait Harris in 1882 and was named Harris Trust and Savings Bank in 1907. Fast-forward to 1960, the bank merged with Chicago National Bank. A few years later, in 1972, it was rebranded as Harris Bank, N.A. Finally, in 1984, it was re-established as BMO Harris Bank.

Being a fully functional bank, it offers numerous services and benefits to different customers. So, let's dig into that.

BMO Harris: Pros and Cons

If you don't want to read in detail about the bank, here's a scoop of what's good and not so good about BMO Harris.


  • Low/avoidable fees
  • Debit card options
  • Cash bonuses for new customers
  • Low minimum for account opening


  • Limited locations
  • High balances needed to gain high-interest rates
  • Overdraft fees

What is BMO Harris Best For?

BMO Harris is best for people looking for checking accounts with low fees. It's also suitable for those looking for different CD options to suit their interests.

And lastly, it's best for people who live in the Midwest, considering it's only open in 8 states.

BMO Harris banking is not for you if you are likely to overdraft. Either you get an account that doesn't offer overdraft, or you will pay fees of $15 and upwards.[1]

What Services Does BMO Harris Offer?

As with most banks as big as BMO Harris, it offers various services and accounts. As a result, the bank will be beneficial for many people, considering the CDs they have to offer.

To give you an idea of what you can do with a BMO Harris account, here are some services they offer:

  • Car, personal, business, & CD-secured loans
  • Purchase & refinance mortgages
  • Home equity loans & lines of credit (HELOCs)
  • Personal lines of credit
  • IRAs
  • Managed investment portfolios
  • Private banking
  • Financial advisors
  • Customer service
  • Money market, checking, savings, certificates of deposit & credit cards

BMO Harris Accounts

There is a variety of bank accounts you can open with BMO Harris. You have numerous choices at BMO Harris, from savings to credit accounts. A recommendation for you: go for a checking account (and don't overdraft if you can help it).

Below we will elaborate and explain what kind of accounts BMO Harris has and what they offer.

Money market accounts
Money market accounts can be opened with as little as $25. However, expect to pay a fee for a balance under $10,000.[2] These accounts are good if you keep high amounts of money in them, as interest rates go up the more money you have.

Checking accounts
You can open three types of checking accounts at BMO Harris:

  • The Smart Money Account: $5 in monthly fees for people over 25. Overdraft is not possible; the transfer doesn't go through in case of insufficient funds.[3]

  • The Smart Advantage Account: No monthly fees as long as you opt for paperless statements. A $15 fee if you overdraft over $50. It doesn't apply if you are under 25.[4]

  • The Premier Account: $25 monthly fee that can be waived with a high balance. Takes up to $25 of non-BMO Harris ATM charges and allows earning interest.[5]

Savings accounts
BMO Harris' Savings Builder Account has $0 monthly fee and requires just $25 to open. BMO Harris will reward you with an extra $5 for each month your balance grows by at least $200.[6]

Credit cards
BMO Harris offers four types of credit cards:

  • Platinum Rewards Mastercard
  • Cash Back Mastercard
  • Platinum Mastercard
  • Premium Rewards Mastercard

Certificates of deposit
BMO Harris offers three types of CDs:

  • Standard CD: The opening deposit minimum is $1,000 and offers numerous maturity dates.

  • Special Rate CD: The opening deposit minimum is $5,000. You can choose from many options and get high-interest rates.

  • Add-on CD: The opening deposit is $1,000. They come in one-year terms and you can add as much money as you want after opening it.

Mobile Cash
BMO Harris offers a feature that allows you to directly withdraw from ATMs using your phone. This is especially handy for those who tend to go out with just their phones!

Which of the BMO Harris products interest you the most?

What Bank Owns BMO Harris?

BMO Harris was acquired by the Bank of Montreal (BMO) in 1984, hence the name BMO Harris. Since then, BMO Harris has acquired a number of banks across America and grown into the 24th largest by assets in America.[7]

Although they operate under the same name, BMO and BMO Harris are not to be confused.

Is BMO Harris part of the Bank of America?
No, BMO Harris is part of the Bank of Montreal (BMO). BMO acquired BMO Harris back in 1984, hence the name BMO Harris.

What is the Difference Between BMO and BMO Harris?

BMO Harris is a subsidiary of the BMO bank. It's the oldest Canadian bank operating in Montreal, Quebec. In addition, it's also the fourth-largest bank by assets in Canada.

Essentially, they provide the same services and cater to the same people. There are no distinct differences other than the fact that BMO is larger and operates at a higher level. Also, BMO operates in Canada, and BMO Harris operates in the U.S.

Bottom Line

BMO Harris is a legitimate and full-service bank. It operates in 8 U.S. states with a variety of features and benefits to offer to different customers. BMO Harris may be the right bank for you, if you're looking for basic checking and savings with low requirements.

However, if you're interested in savings account with high interest rates, or you're likely to overdraft, consider other options which offer less overhead and higher yields.


  1. ^ BMO Harris Bank. Overdraft Services, Retrieved 6/2/2022
  2. ^ BMO Harris Bank. Premier Money Market Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 6/2/2022
  3. ^ BMO Harris Bank. Smart Money Account Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 6/2/2022
  4. ^ BMO Harris Bank. Smart Advantage Account Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 6/2/2022
  5. ^ BMO Harris Bank. Premier Account Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 6/2/2022
  6. ^ BMO Harris Bank. Savings Builder Deposit Account Disclosure and Bank Fee Schedule, Retrieved 6/2/2022
  7. ^ Federal Reserve Board. Large Commercial Banks, Retrieved 6/2/2022
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Which of the BMO Harris products interest you the most?
39% Money market accounts
4% Checking accounts
17% Savings accounts
9% Credit cards
30% CDs
Source: CreditDonkey. Totals may not add to 100% due to rounding.
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