Editorial Review

BMO Harris Bank Review: Checking, Savings and CDs

BMO Harris has a good money market option and mostly free checking, but its regular savings is lackluster.

Spencer TierneyJune 5, 2019

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Overall bank rating

BMO Harris Bank
  • Money market

    Money market

  • CD rates

    CD rates

  • Savings

    Savings

  • Checking

    Checking

  • Banking experience

    Banking experience

  • Overdraft fees

    Overdraft fees

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

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

Pros

  • No monthly fee for checking account with online statements.

  • Good money market rate.

Cons

  • Steep overdraft fees.

Full review

BMO Harris Platinum Money Market Account

BMO Harris Platinum Money Market Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

1.25%

With $5000 minimum balance

The BMO Harris Platinum Money Market account, which did not factor into the bank's overall star rating, has a rate of 1.25% APY for balances between $5,000 and $999,999.99. It is available for accounts opened online and you won't qualify for it if you live in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri or Wisconsin.

If your balance falls below $5,000, the rate becomes 0.01% APY. There is no monthly fee.

BMO Harris Bank CD

BMO Harris Bank CD

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.80%

Minimum Deposit

$5,000

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

BMO Harris Bank Statement Savings

BMO Harris Bank Statement Savings

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

0.05%

With $1 minimum balance

BMO Harris's Statement Savings account has a low rate: 0.05% annual percentage yield. To compare, the national average savings rate is 0.06% APY. The Statement Savings account has a $5 monthly fee that's relatively easy to waive: Keep at least a $100 daily balance. And the account is free for those under 25 years old. You can open with at least $25.

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.

Banking experience

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

BMO Harris has multiple support channels, including 24/7 live phone support, online chat 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 high-rated mobile apps.

Overdraft fees

2.0

NerdWallet rating 

BMO Harris charges $36 overdraft fees per transaction, up to four times a day. That can add up to $144. And if an account remains overdrawn after three consecutive business days, there's an additional $7 fee per day, for up to 10 days. This is one of the most costly overdraft coverage programs among banks.

The bank has two alternatives to avoid the worst overdraft fees. You can set up an overdraft transfer service linking your checking to a savings account, which charges $10 per transfer. 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 Platinum Money Market Account

BMO Harris Platinum Money Market Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
APY

1.25%

With $5000 minimum balance

The BMO Harris Platinum Money Market account, which did not factor into the bank's overall star rating, has a rate of 1.25% APY for balances between $5,000 and $999,999.99. It is available for accounts opened online and you won't qualify for it if you live in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri or Wisconsin.

If your balance falls below $5,000, the rate becomes 0.01% APY. There is no monthly fee.

How does BMO Harris Bank compare?

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.