January 2, 2024

BMO Smart Advantage vs Smart Money

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BMO's Smart Advantage has $0 monthly fees. Smart Money has no overdraft fees. Which one is a smarter choice? Read on to find out.

BMO offers several checking options worth considering. They have Smart Advantage, a popular free checking account with little to no fees. But, they also have Smart Money which gives peace of mind with no overdrafts.

When you're budgeting every dollar, both are good options. But which one suits you best? Read on to learn more about both accounts before you decide.

What feature do you prioritize when choosing a bank account?


BMO Smart Advantage vs Smart Money Checking

BMO's Smart Advantage and Smart Money do not earn any interest. But here's how the two checking accounts differ:

  • BMO Smart Advantage: has no monthly maintenance fee and no minimum balance. It has a $15 overdraft fee for each item, but you can get overdraft protection to avoid it. Find out more.

  • BMO Smart Money: offers no overdraft fees and no minimum balance. It does have a $5 monthly fee, but it can be waived if you are under 25 years old. Find out more.

How often do you encounter overdrafts on your checking account?

Both accounts require a $25 opening deposit and have fees if you request paper statements. But when you choose to go paperless, the fees can be waived.[1][2]

Which Account is Best for You?

Both BMO Smart Advantage and Smart Money can give you some peace of mind from certain fees and easy access to your money when you need it.

Take a look at these points to help you decide between the two:

  • Choose BMO Smart Advantage: if you simply want a place to store your money without thinking about any monthly fees. This is best to have if you won't be using it for your recurring transactions and expenses.

    That way, you won't have to worry about any possible overdrafts. It doesn't earn any interest though, so don't expect your money to grow in the account.

  • Choose BMO Smart Money: if you will be using it for your day-to-day expenses or recurring payments. Having no overdraft fees is very helpful when you need to use every dollar in your account. Transactions that may overdraw will simply be declined.

Be careful with clearing out your balance though. Your account may be closed if it has zero balance for too long.

With that, let's check out the pros and cons of both checking accounts to get a better picture.

Is BMO Bank legit?
Yes. BMO Bank is a legitimate bank based in Chicago, Illinois. They were formerly named BMO Harris Bank and renamed to a simplified BMO in September 2022.[3] Your deposits are also insured for up to $250,000 as they are an FDIC-member bank (FDIC# 16571).

Compare Free Checking Accounts

Smart Advantage Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • No minimum balance
  • Access to 40,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Optional overdraft protection
  • Complimentary Debit Mastercard

Cons:

  • Doesn't earn interest
  • $15 overdraft fee
  • $25 opening deposit
  • $3 out-of-network ATM fee
  • $35 stop payment fee per request
  • $50 account closing fee
  • $3 for paper statements

Learn more about Smart Advantage.

Smart Money Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No overdraft fee
  • No minimum balance
  • Access to 40,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Complimentary Debit Mastercard

Cons:

  • Doesn't earn interest
  • $5 monthly maintenance fee
  • $25 opening deposit
  • $3 out-of-network ATM fee
  • $35 stop payment fee per request
  • $50 account closing fee
  • $2 for paper statements

Learn more about Smart Money.

Bottom line

BMO Smart Advantage and Smart Money are good checking account options with fewer fees. Both are good choices if you want easy access to your money for spending.

However, neither earns interest, so they may not be the best choice to park your money for a long time. Consider your financial needs and preferences before choosing between them, as they have some differences.

References

BMO Bank
Member FDIC

BMO Smart Advantage Checking

  • No minimum balance required
  • Fee-free transactions at more than 40,000 Allpoint® network ATMs nationwide
  • $2 monthly fee for paper statements and $3 monthly fee for check images are waived with paperless statements
BMO Bank
Member FDIC

BMO Smart Money Checking

  • No minimum balance required
  • Fee-free transactions at more than 40,000 Allpoint® network ATMs nationwide
  • $5 monthly maintenance fee ($0 if you're under 25 years old)
BMO Bank
Member FDIC

BMO Smart Advantage Checking - $250 Cash Bonus

Expires 5/3/2024

Open a new BMO Smart Advantage Checking account and get a $250 cash bonus when you have a cumulative total of $4,000 in qualifying direct deposits within 90 days of account 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 4/17/2024
  • 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.

Rue Atanacio is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a bank comparison and reviews website. Write to Rue Atanacio at rue.atanacio@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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About CreditDonkey
CreditDonkey is a bank comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy decisions.

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.

†Advertiser Disclosure: Many of the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.

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