BMO Harris Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

BMO Harris has a large ATM network and mostly free checking, but its regular savings is lackluster.
Spencer TierneySep 29, 2021

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Overall bank rating

BMO Harris Bank
  • Checking

  • Money market

  • Savings

  • CD rates

  • Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

BMO Harris Bank is a U.S. subsidiary of Canada’s Bank of Montreal with headquarters in Chicago. The bank has good checking options coupled with a large ATM network, but it has a low savings account interest rate and high overdraft fees.

 

Best for: Customers who are unlikely to overdraft and want a Midwest-based bank that offers basic checking with no monthly fees and access to plenty of free ATMs.

Pros

  • No monthly fee for checking account with online statements.
  • Network of more than 40,000 free ATMs.

Cons

  • Steep overdraft fees.
  • Low savings rate.

Full review

BMO Harris Bank Smart Advantage™ Account

BMO Harris Bank Smart Advantage™ Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$0

BMO Harris offers Smart Advantage checking, an account with no monthly fees as long as you opt for e-statements instead of paper statements. You need just $25 to open an account.

The checking account is part of the Allpoint ATM network, so you have access to more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.

The main downside to the account is that it earns no interest.

BMO Harris Bank Premier Money Market

BMO Harris Bank Premier Money Market

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.05%

With $0.01 minimum balance

The BMO Harris Premier Money Market account has a rate of 0.05% APY. (This account did not factor into the bank’s overall star rating; the savings account was considered instead.) You can open an account online, in person or by phone. The monthly fee is $10 but is waived if your daily balance is at least $10,000.

BMO Harris Bank Statement Savings

BMO Harris Bank Statement Savings

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.01%

With $0.01 minimum balance

BMO Harris' Statement Savings account has a low rate: 0.01% annual percentage yield. To compare, the national average savings rate is 0.06% APY. There’s no monthly fee and you can open an account with $25.

BMO Harris Bank CD

BMO Harris Bank CD

2.5

NerdWallet rating 
1-year APY

0.05%

3-year APY

0.10%

5-year APY

0.25%

Minimum Deposit

$5,000

BMO Harris' regular CDs range in term from three months to five years and require $1,000 to open. The rates tend to be better than those you'd find at brick-and-mortar banks. BMO Harris has CD specials as well, which have a higher minimum of $5,000 and better rates than its regular CDs.

Banking experience

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

BMO Harris has multiple support channels, including 24/7 live phone support and over 500 branches in the U.S., mostly in the Midwest. For the more tech-savvy, there are online savings tools as well as highly rated mobile apps.

Overdraft fees

2.5

NerdWallet rating 

BMO Harris charges a $36 overdraft fee per transaction, up to four times a day. And if an account remains overdrawn after five consecutive business days, there's an additional $7 fee per day, for up to 10 days. This is one of the more costly overdraft fee programs among banks.

The bank has two alternatives to avoid the worst overdraft fees. For $10 per transfer, you can set up an overdraft transfer service linking your checking account to another BMO Harris checking, money market or savings account. Or you can opt for a line of credit that covers overdrafts. This has a $10 fee per usage, plus interest on the overdrawn amount.

BMO Harris Bank Smart Advantage™ Account

BMO Harris Bank Smart Advantage™ Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Monthly Fee

$0

BMO Harris offers Smart Advantage checking, an account with no monthly fees as long as you opt for e-statements instead of paper statements. You need just $25 to open an account.

The checking account is part of the Allpoint ATM network, so you have access to more than 40,000 fee-free ATMs across the country.

The main downside to the account is that it earns no interest.

How does BMO Harris Bank compare?

Federally insured by the NCUA

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.50%

With $0 minimum balance

APY

0.40%

With $1 minimum balance

APY

0.55%

With $100 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

Bonus

N/A

RATING 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.