January 19, 2024

Is BMO a Safe Bank?

Read more about BMO Bank
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Wondering about the security of your funds with BMO Bank? They have a Financial Crimes Unit backing you up, for one. Read on for more details.

BMO Bank is a full-service retail bank based in Chicago, Illinois. Before rebranding, they were better known as BMO Harris Bank.

BMO provides different deposit products like checking, savings, and CDs. They serve over 4 million customers through about 1,000 branches in the U.S.[1] They also provide access to a network of more than 40,000 Allpoint® ATMs.[2]

With that, learn more about BMO and whether they are a safe bank to work with.

What is BMO Harris new name?
BMO Bank was formerly named BMO Harris Bank. They changed their legal name and branding to a simplified "BMO" in 2023.[3]

Have you ever experienced or noticed any potential security issues while banking with BMO?

Is BMO Bank Safe?

Yes, BMO Bank is safe being one of the largest banks in the US with over $263 billion in assets. They are owned by Bank of Montreal in Canada which is the 8th largest bank in North America with about $1.29 trillion in assets.[4][5]

While their current size makes it unlikely for the bank to close down, they also have a history in the US that goes back to 1947. Its parent company goes even further back in 1817. Their years in the industry can give insight into the stability of BMO as a bank.

Also, big credit rating agencies like Fitch, Moody's, and S&P do report stable outlooks for the BMO in general. You can rest assured that the future of BMO Bank is positive.

In fact, BMO has recently acquired Bank of the West which bolstered their presence in the US with more branches to serve its customers.

Is My Money Safe with BMO?

BMO Bank is FDIC-insured (Cert #16571). So like other FDIC bank members, your deposits at BMO are covered for up to $250,000 in the unlikely event that the bank fails.

But BMO does its part too in protecting your money and personal information through its Financial Crimes Unit.[6]

What will happen to my deposits at Bank of the West?
Accounts from Bank of the West should be transferred to BMO by September 5, 2023. You should have received notification about it before it was transferred. Check BMO's disclosures and transition guides for the next steps.[7]

Is BMO a Trusted Bank?

BMO Bank has over 4 million customers in the US. The number can speak for their trustworthiness to some extent. But BMO does have some awards and recognition that live up to their commitment to "boldly grow the good in business and life".

Recently, BMO was recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies for the sixth year in a row. This means that they are one of the companies that are committed to doing business with ethics and integrity.

BMO Bank Security Measures

The Financial Crimes Unit is BMO's answer to keep your information, transactions, and money secured. The unit is a team of cybersecurity, fraud, physical security, and crisis management experts.

Here are some of the security features that BMO provides:

  • BMO Alerts via email, text, or in-app notifications
  • BMO website, Mobile App, and Message Center encryption
  • Verification codes or one-time passwords (OTP)
  • Session timeouts after 15 minutes of inactivity
  • Secured firewalls and email security software
  • BMO Digital Banking and Bill Pay Service guarantees
  • Global operations for 24/7 fraud detection and security

BMO also encourages its customers to take proactive steps to protect themselves from cybercrime and scams.

BMO Digital Banking and Bill Pay Service guarantees
BMO will reimburse you for losses on your bank accounts from unauthorized transactions on their online and mobile platforms. Delayed process of scheduled bill payments will also receive late fee reimbursements. But take note that these must be validated with BMO to be reimbursed.[8]

How important is the existence of a Financial Crimes Unit to your perception of a bank's safety?

BMO Bank Accounts

BMO Bank is a great choice if you want a bank that offers a wide range of services. They provide checking and savings accounts, CDs, loans, credit cards, and investment options.

Here's a list of BMO's deposit products:

  • BMO Smart Advantage Checking
  • BMO Smart Money Checking
  • BMO Relationship Checking
  • BMO Savings Builder
  • BMO Relationship Plus Money Market
  • BMO Certificate of Deposit (CD)

You can open an account online or visit a branch near you.

Which BMO account should I choose?
If you are a former customer of Bank of the West, your deposit accounts are automatically transitioned to a BMO account with similar features. You should have received a Customized Account Summary detailing the changes. Contact BMO customer support if you need any assistance.

What Fees Does BMO Charge?

Depending on the account you have with BMO, it may be subject to some type of fee. Here are the common fees you might get on a BMO deposit account.

  • $5-$25 monthly fee (can be waived or may not apply for some accounts)
  • $35 stop payment fee
  • $50 account closing fee
  • $3 paper statements
  • Check order fees
  • $15 overdraft fee per item
  • $15 transaction limit fee

For a full disclosure of the fees and charges applicable to your BMO account, check out their schedule of fees.

BMO Bank Customer Complaints

It's hard to find a perfect bank. BMO Bank may have its downsides too. Here are the common complaints about BMO.[9]

  • Inconsistent customer support
    BMO seems to have its fair share of customer support lapses. Some customers say that they did not receive any helpful resolution or advice when they reached out to BMO customer support.

  • Erratic service standard and processes
    Some customers report that their deposit accounts were frozen or closed with no notification. Some say their loan payments were delayed despite processing them on time, thus affecting their credit score.

  • Bank of the West integration lapses
    Some former Bank of the West customers say that the bank could have done better on the transition. Some report having lost access to their accounts or couldn't find proper help to resolve their concerns.

Should You Open a BMO Bank Account?

BMO Bank is a good option if you're comfortable banking with a large traditional bank. They have a wide selection of financial products that may answer all your banking needs.

However, note that some deposit products might not have the best APY. So if you're looking for higher rates, you might be better off looking at online banks and credit unions.

BMO Alto
If you're looking for a high-yield savings account and competitive CD rates, BMO has launched BMO Alto—an online-only banking platform with impressive high-yield savings and CDs.

Bottom Line

BMO is a well-established retail bank with a significant presence in the US. They have a dedicated team of experts implementing industry-standard security measures to protect customer information and accounts, earning them awards and recognition for their commitment.

They may not be perfect but, if you are looking for a traditional bank like BMO, they are a good option. But, if you want higher returns, consider online banks or credit unions instead.


  1. ^ BMO. At a Glance, Retrieved 12/04/2023
  2. ^ BMO. Branches & ATMs, Retrieved 12/04/2023
  3. ^ BMO. Our legal and brand name are changing, Retrieved 12/04/2023
  4. ^ Federal Reserve. Large Commercial Bank, Retrieved 11/01/2023
  5. ^ BMO. Who we are, Retrieved 11/01/2023
  6. ^ BMO. Security Center - how we protect you, Retrieved 09/30/2023
  7. ^ BMO. Transition Guide Personal Deposit Accounts, Retrieved 12/04/2023
  8. ^ BMO. BMO Digital Banking Agreement, Retrieved 09/30/2023
  9. ^ Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Consumer Complaint Database, Retrieved 11/01/2023
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