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BMO Harris Bank Review

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We maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments. This post contains links from our advertisers, and we may receive compensation when you click these links. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone. | Advertiser Disclosure
BMO Harris Bank Savings
0.05% APY

BMO Harris Bank is a full-service financial entity running hundreds of branches around the country, with a particular concentration of branches in the Midwest. The bank offers checking and savings accountscertificates of deposit (CDs), IRAs and various other investing and loan options.

The BMO Harris mobile banking app provides some distinct features like a service that links all your accounts, including non-BMO ones, to give you a full picture of your financial situation. You can also use it to withdraw money from some BMO Harris ATMs without your debit card.  

Its savings accounts don’t offer the strongest savings rates, but its checking accounts are generally affordable and offer several ways to waive fees. You can also access your money at more than 43,000 ATMs.   

BMO Harris has been around for more than a century, and you’re likely to find something that suits your banking needs here.

Products Offered

Product Key Details
Savings Accounts
  • One account
  • Low-earning APY
  • Low monthly maintenance fee, but several options to waive it
Certificates of Deposit
  • Multiple CDs with competing rates
  • Promotional CDs with higher rates
  • CDs with rates that increase at predetermined levels
Money Market Account
  • One account
  • Decent APY
  • No fees
Interest Earning Checking Accounts
  • One account
  • No monthly maintenance fee
  • Minimum opening balance of $25
Retirement Planning Solutions
  • IRA CDs, money market accounts and brokerage accounts
  • Competing interest rates and terms

BMO Harris Bank Interest Rate Comparison

BMO Harris Bank Overview 

BMO Harris Bank opened its doors in Chicago in 1882 as N.W. Harris & Co., which eventually became Harris Bank. Today, it operates hundreds of branches throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. It also runs affiliates in other states, including New York and Massachusetts. BMO serves clients from consumers to small businesses and corporations by providing a range of banking, investing and wealth management services. 

With BMO Harris, you can find just about anything you’d expect from a major bank, including checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs and IRAs. The bank also offers range of personal loans and mortgages, as well as credit and investing options. 

BMO Harris’ parent company is the Bank of Montreal, which operates as the holding corporation BMO Financial Group.

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BMO Harris Bank Account Features

BMO Harris doesn’t offer savings accounts with the strongest rates. But it does give you several ways to waive monthly maintenance fees. Its PlMoney Market Account and Smart Money Checking Account are also inexpensive, and most accounts require small opening balances. In addition, the bank is very friendly to young people by often waiving specific fees for those under the age of 25. 

You also have access to more than 43,000 ATMs, including AllPoint machines outside the states where the bank operates. Some accounts waive out-of-network ATMs, and the Premier Account offers a very generous $25 rebate of fees charged by non-BMO ATMs per statement cycle. 

Overall, BMO Harris offers an array of checking and savings accounts to meet your specific needs, and some come with perks you may find particularly valuable.

Compare BMO Harris Bank to Other Competitive Offers

Statement Savings Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $100
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile, over the phone and at physical branches
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $5 monthly service fee unless you meet one of the following requirements:
  • Maintain a daily ledger balance of at least $500
  • Are younger than 18-years-old at the time the fee is charged
  • Have a BMO Harris banker request an Auto Save waiver and transfer at least $25 per month for two years max
  • Link this account to a BMO Harris Select Checking Account and maintain a minimum combined balance of $10,000
  • Link this account to either a BMO Harris Portfolio Checking account or a BMO Harris Wealth Checking Account and maintain a minimum combined balance of at least $25,000
Current Terms and Rates Rate based on zip code 60007: 0.05% APY

Even with a large balance, you likely won’t get a strong interest rate with a BMO Harris Statement Savings Account. And waiving the monthly maintenance fee is a bit complex when compared to savings accounts at other banks. Still, the fee is relatively low at $5, and you can waive it as long as you maintain a daily ledger balance of at least $500. 

You can link it to a BMO Harris checking account for overdraft-fee protection. In addition to transferring any available funds from the checking account to prevent you from sinking into the negative, however, the bank will also charge a $10 overdraft funding fee. This isn’t the case with many major banks. 

Furthermore, you’ll owe a relatively large $3.00 fee for using out-of-network ATMs. This would be in addition to any fees the ATM operator may charge. You’ll also be charged a $50 fee for closing the account within 90 days, which is common for many banks.

Withdrawals and transfers are unlimited if you make them at a branch or via an ATM. However, BMO Harris would limit all others, including those you make by Point of Sale (POS) transactions, Automatic Clearing House (ACH), wire, automated telephone, banking and online banking, to a combined total of six per month or monthly statement period. This is common with all financial institutions, as these rules are set by federal law.

Overall, this account is not really one you should store your money in if you expect it to grow significantly. This is a pretty basic savings account with low fees, but it’s not the strongest offering by BMO Harris. 

BMO Harris Platinum Money Market Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $5,000
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and physical branches
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees No monthly maintenance fees
Current Terms and Rates (Rates below based on zip code 60007)
  • $5,000 - $9,999.99: 0.25% APY
  • $10,000 - $24,999.99: 0.50% APY
  • $25,000 - $249,999.99: 1.00% APY
  • $250,000 and up: 1.25% APY

The Platinum Money Market Account from BMO Harris is a solid money market option, specifically for prospective customers that can afford to meet the bank's large, $5,000 opening deposit. If you can manage to set that much money aside, you'll gain eligibility to the bank's 0.25% to 1.25% APY. Where you fall on this interest rate scale depends on your account balance. While these clearly aren't the best rates on the market, they certainly offer decent growth potential, especially if you remain an account holder for years at a time. This is also a fee-free account, which helps to keep your money in your wallet.

BMO Harris Certificates of Deposit (CDs)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit
  • Special Rate CDs: $5,000
  • Standard CDs: $1,000
  • Step Rate CDs: $5,000 
Access to Your CD Online, through a branch or over the phone
Security FDIC insured up to the maximum allowed by law
Fees No maintenance fees, but you will incur an early-withdrawal penalty if you take your money out before the term ends.
Current Terms and Rates: Special CDs
  • 12 Month: 2.00% APY
  • 60 Month: 2.25% APY
Current Terms and Rates: Standard CDs (Rates below based on zip code 60007)
  • 3 Month: 0.05% APY
  • 6 Month: 0.05% APY
  • 9 Month: 0.10% APY
  • 12 Month: 0.15% APY
  • 18 Month: 0.25% APY
  • 24 months: 0.30% APY
  • 30 months: 0.35% APY
  • 36 months: 0.40% APY
  • 48 months: 0.50% APY
  • 60 months: 0.75% APY

BMO Harris offers a variety of CDs at competing rates depending on term length and balance amount. It currently offers special rates for its 18-month and 30-month term CDs. However, you’d need to deposit at least $5,000 to earn those rates. You can deposit at least $1,000 to get standard-rate CDs. 

You have 10 calendar days from the end of your CD term to withdrawal your money before it renews to another CD with the same term and current applicable interest rate. If the CD carries a balance less than $1,000, it will automatically renew for the same term with an interest rate and APY set by BMO Harris that reflects the numbers shown on the then-current rate sheet.

However, if you withdraw your money during maturity or before the term ends, you'll face an early-withdrawal penalty and lose all or some interest. The penalty is calculated using the interest rate applicable to the CD at the time of withdrawal. If the amount of the penalty exceeds the amount of your accrued and unpaid interest, then BMO will reduce your principal to cover the cost. Penalties are calculated as follows:

CD Term Interest Penalty
1 month (7 – 59 days) All interest earned
2 months – 11 months (60 days – up to 364 days) 90 days interest
12 – 23 months 180 days interest
24 – 35 months 270 days interest
36 – 47 months 365 days interest
48 months or longer  545 days interest
Short Term CD Special (2 – 11 months) 180 days interest
Long Term CD Special (12 months or longer) 365 days interest

BMO Harris Smart MoneyTM Account

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit $25
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and physical branches
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees $5 monthly maintenance fee unless you’re under age 25

The BMO Harris Smart MoneyTM Account is a pretty straight-forward checking account. The monthly service fee is low at $5 unless you’re under the age of 25. In that case, it’s waived. It’s a nice little perk that would add up in savings especially if you’re a young person looking to open your first real checking account. 

In addition, you’ll get fee-free access to all BMO Harris ATMs as well as those in the AllPoint network. That brings the number of ATMs at your disposal to more than 43,000. But if you have no choice but to use an out-of-network ATM, the charge from the bank will be $3. This does not include any charge the ATM operator or other bank could make. 

The other basic checking account fees are also low or on par with those at major banks. Paper statements are $2 unless you opt for free online-only statements or are under the age of 25. The bank also charges a $10 fee for cashier’s checks, a $5 fee for money orders and $35 for stop payments. Incoming wire transfers cost you nothing, but outgoing wires are $30. The foreign transaction is your standard 3% on each transaction.  

You also get a free welcome package of checks. From there, check prices depend on style. 

As with its savings accounts, you can link this account to others you hold with BMO Harris for overdraft protection. If funds are available from either another BMO checking or savings account, the bank will automatically transfer money to your checking account in order to prevent an overdraft charge. However, this account will also incur the $10 overdraft funding transfer fee. 

This checking account doesn’t earn interest. Still, it’s a relatively simple and inexpensive checking account for someone who doesn’t need any bells and whistles. 

BMO Harris Smart AdvantageTM Account

Key Features  Details
Minimum Deposit $25
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and physical branches
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law
Fees No monthly maintenance fee

The Smart AdvantageTM Account is a pretty solid banking account that carries no monthly maintenance fee and requires a manageable opening deposit of just $25. You can also waive the paper statement fee by enrolling in BMO Harris Online Banking and switching to electronic statements. This move would also waive the $3 fee for check images with statements. 

All other standard fees that apply to the Smart Money AccountTM are also in effect for the Smart AdvantageTM one as well. These include stop payment fees and out-of-network ATM fees, as well as cashier’s checks and money order fees. However, this one includes a $36 overdraft fee. You can avoid this by requesting to link to another BMO Harris checking or savings account to initiate automatic transfers of any available funds when your account drops into the negative. However, the overdraft transfer fee of $10 would apply here too. You’re limited to one such transfer per business day. 

Overdraft fees don’t apply to ATM and everyday debit card transactions unless you have authorized the bank to cover those transactions. The bank also doesn’t charge overdraft fees for bank fees and service charges that overdraw your account unless it has a negative balance for more than one business day. In that case, the bank would apply a $7 consecutive day overdraft fee as it would with any other kind of overdraft for a maximum of 10 days. 

The bank will also charge a $36 returned item fee for every payment that didn’t go through, such as a returned check, automatic bill payment and other transaction made using your account number. No more than four overdraft fees and/or item returned fees will be charged per business day.

BMO Harris Premier Account

Key Features  Details
Minimum Deposit $25
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and physical branches
Security FDIC insurance up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
Fees $30 monthly maintenance fee unless you meet one of the following requirements:
  • Maintain a minimum $25,000 daily balance
  • Request a relationship waiver and maintain a minimum combined balance of $50,000
  • Maintain a BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. investment account
Current Terms and Rates (Rates below based on zip code 60007)
  • Account balances of $0.01 - $4,999.99: 0.05% APY
  • Account balances of $5,000 - $9,999.99: 0.10% APY
  • Account balances of $10,000 - $24,999.99: 0.15% APY
  • Account balances of $25,000 - $49,999.99: 0.20% APY
  • Account balances of $50,000 and over: 0.25% APY

The BMO Harris Premier Account is the bank’s premium checking account. It provides you with fee-free access to any non-BMO ATM. The bank will also refund you up to $25 per statement cycle in fees charged by other banks or ATM operators. That’s a potentially significant benefit considering how out-of-network ATM surcharges can add up. 

You can take a few steps to waive the $30 maintenance fee. You can keep a daily ledger balance of at least $25,000. Or you can request that a BMO banker grant you a relationship waiver by linking your account to another checking or savings account by BMO. You must then maintain a combined balance of at least $50,000. Or you can keep a BMO Harris Financial Advisors, Inc. investment account and request a waiver.

If you can’t maintain that balance but can still stomach the $30 monthly fee, this account may score on its exclusive benefits alone, even though the basic fees mentioned above remain in place. This account also collects a bit of interest.

BMO Harris Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

Key Features Details
Minimum Deposit
  • BMO Premium Savers IRAs: $100
  • IRA CDs: $1,000
Access to Your Savings Account Online, mobile and physical branches.
Security FDIC Insured up to the maximum amount allowed by law.
Fees No monthly maintenance fee, but you could face an early withdrawal penalty
Current Terms and Rates 0.05% to 3.00% APY depending on location, term and opening balance

BMO Harris Bank offers IRA CDs as well as Premium Savers IRAs. You can treat either option as a traditional IRA, Roth IRA or SEP-IRA. You have the ability to lock a fixed interest rate on your IRA CD for a term ranging from three months to five years. Variable interest rates depend on your location, term length and balance. 

The following tables list current APYs for CDs opened within the zip code 60007:

Minimum Balance to Obtain APY: $1,000

Term Length  APY
3 months 0.05%
6 months  0.05%
9 months  0.10%
12 months  0.15%
18 months  0.25%
24 months  0.30%
30 months 0.35% 
36 months  0.40% 
48 months  0.50%
60 months  0.75% 

Minimim Balance to Obtain APY: $5,000 

Term Length APY
3 months 0.05%
6 months  0.05%
9 months  0.10%
12 months 0.15%
18 months  0.25%
24 months 0.30%
30 months  0.35%
36 months  0.40%
48 months  0.50%
60 months  0.75%

Minimum Balance to Obtain APY: $100,000

Term Length  APY
1 month 0.05%
2 months  0.05% 
3 months  0.05%
6 months  0.05%
9 months  0.10%
12 months  0.15%
18 months  0.25%
24 months  0.30% 
30 months  0.35%
36 months 0.40% 
48 months  0.50% 
60 months  0.75%

For CDs with terms ranging from three months to six months, interest is compounded daily and paid on maturity. For IRA CDs with terms of at least a year, interest is paid quarterly. 

Unless you specify otherwise, your IRA CD will automatically renew at maturity to a CD with the same term length and current interest rate for the term and balance. BMO Harris will send you reminders when maturity is nearing. 

However, you will face an early withdrawal penalty if you take your money out from these accounts before the term ends. The BMO Harris early withdrawal penalty is applied as follows:

  • CDs with terms of 1 month (7 to 59 days) are charged loss of interest
  • CDs with terms of 2 to 11 months (60 days up to and including 364 days) are charged loss of 90 days interest
  • CDs with terms of one year or longer are charged loss of 180 days’ interest

In addition, you can also open a Premium Saver account with a $100 minimum deposit. This account carries no monthly maintenance fees, but you will face an early closure fee of $50 if you close the account within 90 days of opening it. With this option you can contribute to your IRA weekly, monthly or in one lump sum. With the bank’s Auto Save feature, you can set recurring transfers from your BMO checking account. 

As with any IRA, you will generally face any applicable Internal Revenue Service (IRS) penalties for withdrawing money before age 59.5 unless you’re withdrawing contributions from a Roth IRA or meet a hardship requirement.

Where Can I Find BMO Harris?

BMO Harris Bank operates more than 570 full-service branches in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Arizona and Florida. You can also access your accounts at more than 43,000 ATMs throughout the country through the Allpoint Network. BMO Harris offers online and mobile banking, and you can reach the bank by calling 1 (888) 340-2265 or by getting in touch via email or online chat.

What Can You Do Online With BMO Harris? 

With BMO Harris online banking, you can do just about everything you’d expect to cover your basic banking needs. You can view your balance, track your expenses, set up alerts, pay bills, transfer funds and more. Its Total Look feature also allows you to view all your finances in one place, including non-BMO accounts. The bank claims you can use this feature to create a budget in minutes. You can also schedule an appointment with a banker via the app. 

With its BMO Harris Mobile Cash option, you can use your mobile banking app to withdraw funds from most BMO Harris ATMs without your debit card. You can also use the app to deposit checks via your mobile phone or tablet. Funds may not be immediately available, however. 

The app is also compatible with Apple Pay. In addition, you can set Touch ID to make your fingerprint the access point to your account through compatible devices. You can also set a four-digit passcode to access your accounts.

How Can I Save More Money With BMO Harris?

BMO Harris’ promotional CDs tend to be its most powerful savings offerings. However you can save in monthly fees with any account by engaging in one of several activities to waive these charges such as maintaing a certain balance. Switching to online statements can also help you dodge the paper statement fee. In addition, you can take advantage of the mobile banking app’s Total Look feature to create a healthy budget and stay on top of your finances.

What’s the Process for Opening an Account With BMO Harris?

The easiest way to open an account is by visiting a branch or signing up for one online. Just have your Social Security number and government-issued personal ID ready. You’d also be asked to provide some basic information like your email address, phone number and residence location. The entire online application should take a few minutes. However, you may need to visit a branch or call customer service if you want any kind of relationship waiver.

What’s the Catch? 

BMO Harris Bank won’t give you the best interest rates on its savings and money market accounts. However, its current promotional rate CDs are promising if you invest at least $5,000 in some of the longer-term options. The bank also gives you a range of opportunities to waive several fees on its checking and savings accounts. You also have access to hundreds of branches in the Midwest and more than 43,000 ATMs throughout the country. Minimum opening balances are also low across the board. 

The BMO Harris mobile banking app is also fairly impressive with its wealth of features including mobile deposit, debit-card free ATM withdrawals and its Total Look feature, which brings all your BMO and non-BMO accounts to one place. 

Bottom Line

BMO Harris is a full-service bank with a variety of products to meet your budget and needs. While not the best place for basic savings accounts, it offers some promising investment products. If you live in the Midwest, you have the convenience of access to hundreds of branches. Overall, it’s the right option if you want all your financial accounts handled in one place and if you appreciate face-to-face customer service.

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