BMO Harris Bank Business Checking: 2021 Review

BMO Harris offers strong branch access in certain areas, but its fees and transaction limits may be a turnoff.

Kelsey SheehyFebruary 20, 2021
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BMO Harris offers three main business checking accounts, including an interest-bearing option and a free checking account for nonprofit businesses. These options may appeal to a variety of business owners, especially if they can maintain a balance high enough to skirt the monthly maintenance fee. All BMO Harris business checking customers have access to free online and mobile banking.

BMO Harris business checking is best for small-business owners who:

  • Want the benefits of branch access with the convenience of online banking.

  • Run a nonprofit organization and can take advantage of the bank’s free checking option.

  • Don’t anticipate large volumes of transactions.

Pros & Cons


  • More than 500 branches across BMO Harris’ eight-state service area.

  • Free checking account option for nonprofit organizations.

  • Sign-up bonus for new customers who enroll in a BMO Harris Essential Business or Business Advantage checking account.


  • Limits on fee-free transactions for all checking account types.

  • Overdraft and other incidental fees could prove expensive for some business owners.

  • Monthly maintenance fees charged on Essential Business and Business Advantage accounts unless minimum balance requirements are met.

BMO Harris Bank business checking at a glance

Essential Business Checking

Business Advantage Checking

Non-Profit Small Business Checking

Monthly fee:

$15, waived with an average balance of $1,500 per monthly statement period.

$20, waived with an average balance of $5,000 per monthly statement period or $15,000 in combined balances when linked with other BMO accounts.


Minimum opening deposit requirement:






Tiered interest rates based on collected balance. Must contact BMO Harris for current rates.



Up to 200 fee-free transactions per statement period, including online banking transactions, then $0.40 per item.

Up to 500 fee-free transactions per statement period, including online banking transactions, then $0.40 per item.

Up to 200 fee-free transactions per statement period, including online banking transactions, then $0.40 per item.


$200 (with promo code) if you open your account at a branch.

$500 (with promo code) if you open your account at a branch.


How BMO Harris Bank business checking works

Headquartered in Chicago, BMO Harris has more than 500 branches across eight states — Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida and Wisconsin — but serves businesses in all 50 states via online banking.

You can open a BMO Harris business checking account over the phone or in person (if you're located near a branch). The bank offers three main account options: Essential Business Checking, Business Advantage Checking and Non-Profit Small Business Checking.

To open an account, you’ll need to provide:

  • Two forms of identification.

  • A tax identification number (an EIN for businesses and nonprofits, a Social Security number for individuals).

  • A physical address and date of birth for all owners, key executives and partners.

  • Depending on your business type, you may also need to supply additional documents, such as articles of incorporation or partnership agreements.

  • Nonprofit organizations need to provide a letter of authorization that notes who is authorized on the account. A certificate of good standing may also be obtained by BMO Harris for nonprofit corporations.

All BMO Harris Bank business checking accounts come with free online and mobile banking. Customers can use the bank’s app or online banking portal to pay bills and transfer money between accounts. Mobile check deposit is also available via the BMO Harris Bank mobile app, but will count toward your account’s transaction limit.

Where BMO Harris Bank business checking stands out

Sign-up bonus: New BMO Harris Bank business customers can earn a sign-up bonus of $200 (Essential Business) or $500 (Business Advantage) if they visit the bank’s website to request a promo code and redeem that code at a branch to open a new business checking account.

To get the bonus you must have at least 10 electronic transactions posted to the account within 90 days. You also need to reach a specific balance by day 31 and maintain it for an additional 90 days. The average monthly balance requirement is $1,500 for Essential Business customers and $5,000 for Business Advantage customers.

Branch and ATM access: BMO Harris has more than 500 branches across eight states, which can be appealing if you favor face-to-face banking. But research your closest branch before enrolling: In some states, BMO Harris branches are largely concentrated around major urban areas, like Chicago, Indianapolis and Kansas City, which could make it difficult for business owners in smaller cities to access brick-and-mortar locations. BMO Harris customers can also use more than 40,000 Allpoint and BMO Harris Bank ATMs for free.

Free checking for nonprofits: BMO Harris Bank’s Non-Profit Small Business Checking has no monthly maintenance fee, but otherwise mirrors the bank’s Essential Business Checking, with 200 free transactions, a $100 minimum opening deposit and up to $5,000 in free cash deposits.

Where BMO Harris Bank business checking falls short

Monthly maintenance fees: BMO Harris Bank offers a free checking account for nonprofit small businesses, but Essential Business and Business Advantage checking accounts are assessed a monthly maintenance fee of $15 or $20, respectively. You can avoid this fee by maintaining an average balance of $1,500 (Essential Business) or $5,000 (Business Advantage) per statement cycle. If monthly fees are a deal breaker, consider a free business checking account.

Transaction limits: BMO Harris Bank limits the number of free transactions allowed on its business checking accounts. Customers enrolled in Essential Business Checking are allowed up to 200 free transactions per cycle, while Business Advantage Checking customers are capped at 500. Nonprofit business checking account holders are also subject to a transaction limit of 200 items before fees kick in. Anything beyond your account limit is charged at 40 cents per item. Transactions that count toward your limit include non-ATM deposits, checks deposited, checks paid and ACH credits and debits. Digital banking transactions, such as transfers and online bill pay, count toward the limit.

While transaction limits are common on business checking accounts, there are several options that offer unlimited transactions. Consider Capital One Spark Business Checking or an online bank like BlueVine or Radius if you want to avoid transaction limits.

Incidental fees: Dig into the product disclosures for BMO Harris Bank business accounts and you’ll notice a slew of potential fees that could impact your account, should you request a stop payment ($35), use a non-BMO Harris ATM ($3 per transaction) or overdraw your account ($36).

Those overdraft fees kick in if your account is overdrawn by more than $5 after all items are posted to the account. No fee is charged if the account is overdrawn due to bank fees or service charges. A $7-per-day fee also applies if your account is overdrawn for three consecutive business days.

Additional charges include wire transfers — $15 per incoming and $30 per outgoing (domestic) for Essential Business Checking and Non-Profit Small Business Checking accounts. Business Advantage Checking customers enjoy free incoming wire transfers (domestic and international) but are charged $30 per outgoing wire transfer (domestic).

Compare business checking accounts

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