BMO Alto Review: Savings and CDs

BMO Alto offers competitive savings and CD rates but lacks some features other banks have, such as a mobile app and mobile check deposit.
Ruth Sarreal
By Ruth Sarreal 
Edited by Tim Manni

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BMO Alto
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at BMO Alto, Deposits are FDIC Insured

  • Savings
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Customer experience

Overall institution rating

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

BMO Alto is the online-only banking option that’s part of the BMO Financial Group. BMO Alto’s offering is limited without a checking account or access to branches and ATMs, but rates are highly competitive and the bank doesn’t charge any fees.

Since late June 2023, NerdWallet has received reader complaints relating to delays in customer support access, inability to access funds and denied account applications. Scroll down to the customer experience section for more details.

Best for: Customers looking to simply stash savings at competitive rates, who prefer to bank online and have a checking account elsewhere.

Pros

  • No monthly fees.
  • Competitive rates on savings account and CDs.
  • No minimum opening deposits.

Cons

  • No cash deposit.
  • No branch access.
  • Must already have another bank account to fund your account.
  • No mobile apps.

Full review

Savings

BMO Alto Online Savings Account

Savings

Deposits are FDIC Insured

4.5

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
APY
5.10%
With $0 min. balance for APY
Learn more

at BMO Alto

The BMO Alto Online Savings Account doesn’t have a monthly fee, a minimum opening deposit or a minimum balance requirement. On top of that, the high-yield savings account pays a competitive 5.10% annual percentage yield — many times higher than the national average rate of 0.46%.

There’s no limit to the number of transfers and withdrawals you make, which not all banks offer. Without access to ATMs or bank branches, the BMO Alto savings account requires an external bank account to transfer your money to — but that could be a plus if you’re trying to build up your savings.

» See how BMO Alto stacks up: Check our picks for the best high-yield online savings accounts

Certificates of deposit

BMO Alto Certificate of Deposit

CD

Deposits are FDIC Insured

5.0

/5
 NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY
5.15%
3-year APY
4.60%
5-year APY
4.60%
Minimum deposit
$0
Learn more

at BMO Alto

BMO Alto offers a simple choice of standard-term certificates of deposit. CDs are available in terms ranging from six months to five years. Rates are highly competitive, and there are no fees and no minimum opening deposit requirements, though you must fund your account within 10 days of opening.

CDs are automatically renewed, so it’s important to withdraw your funds when your CD matures. You’ll have a grace period of 10 days to take action before the bank puts the money in a CD with the same term length as the one that matured.

» COMPARE: See our picks for the current best CD rates

  • 6-month CD: 5.50% APY.

  • 1-year CD: 5.15% APY.

  • 2-year CD: 4.75% APY.

  • 3-year CD: 4.60% APY.

  • 4-year CD: 4.60% APY.

  • 5-year CD: 4.60% APY.

Customer experience

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

As an online-only bank, BMO Alto doesn’t have any branches. There’s also no mobile app. The bank offers account alerts by email and FAQs on the website.

The bank also doesn’t offer a checking account or ATM access. The only option for depositing funds is to transfer from another bank, so you must have an external bank account to both fund your account and withdraw from the account. BMO Alto doesn’t limit the number of transfers and withdrawals, which isn’t something all banks allow.

Customer issues with reaching customer support and accessing funds. BMO Alto launched in spring 2023, and in June, issues surfaced for potential and existing BMO Alto customers. Reported problems include not being able to access account funds, long hold times when calling customer support, and denied account applications for those with clear Chexsystems records.

NerdWallet reached out to BMO Alto for comment multiple times in January 2024. The bank was unable to provide an official statement.

How does BMO Alto compare?

Current Product

BMO Alto Online Savings Account

BMO Alto Online Savings Account

Deposits are FDIC Insured

NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.5

/5

APY 

5.10%

With $0 min. balance for APY

APY 

4.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

APY 

5.05%

With $5,000 min. balance for APY

Bonus 

N/A

Bonus 

$300

Earn up to $300 with direct deposit. Terms apply.

Bonus 

N/A

Learn more

at BMO Alto

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at SoFi Bank, N.A.

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at CIT Bank

Methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for banks and credit unions are weighted averages of several categories: checking, savings, certificates of deposit or credit union share certificates, banking experience and overdraft fees. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include rates and fees, ATM and branch access, account features and limits, user-facing technology, customer service and innovation. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.