BMO Harris Bank Review

FT Contributor  | 

What Is BMO Harris Bank?

BMO Harris Bank is a commercial and consumer bank located in the United States. Established in 1882 originally as Harris Bank, it’s a subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal, which explains its name. The first U.S. bank location originated in Chicago, Illinois but it now has over 600 locations in:

  • Florida;
  • Wisconsin;
  • Missouri;
  • Kansas;
  • Minnesota;
  • Arizona;
  • Illinois;
  • Indiana.

In addition to commercial and consumer banking services, BMO Harris Bank also provides retirement planning and investment accounts.

BMO Harris is known for providing consumers with simple checking accounts and convenient ATM and banking locations. However, if you’re deciding whether it’s the right bank for you, it’s also important to note the high overdraft fees associated with some accounts.

BMO Harris Banking Features

ATMs

You can visit an ATM to deposit money into an existing account or withdraw money from your account. BMO Harris has a network of 1,400 ATMs throughout the U.S. The bank also partners with Allpoint ATMs so you may access your accounts at any Allpoint machine.

CDs

To open a certificate of deposit (CD) with BMO Harris Bank, you must deposit a minimum of $5,000. Your money is safe in the bank because BMO Harris is FDIC insured, so your money has backing from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Checking Accounts

Many consumers open checking accounts with BMO Harris Bank because it provides simple account options. The bank offers three types of checking accounts:

  • Smart Advantage Account: Most popular checking account that offers $0 fees when you sign up for paperless statements.
  • Smart Money Account: No overdraft fees but a $5 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived for consumers under age 25.
  • Premier Account: Charges a $25 monthly maintenance fee that may be waived for ATM surcharges.

Every checking account includes a debit card with direct access to funds. Checking account holders also have access to ATMs and customer support.

Digital Banking

All BMO Harris Bank customers can manage their accounts through online banking. They can also download the BMO Harris smartphone app to review account balances, make transfers, and conduct other business through mobile banking.

Interest Rates

Interest rates for savings accounts and other vehicles vary, depending on the type of account, your location, and your account balance. While savings accounts, CDs, and money market accounts yield interest, checking accounts do not.

IRAs

BMO Harris Bank offers retirement planning options, including two types of IRAs. An IRA Certificate of Deposit requires a minimum $1,000 deposit to open and allows you to lock in a fixed interest rate for three months to five years. An IRA Premium Saver account requires a minimum $100 deposit to open and allows you to slowly build funds.

Mobile Banking

The BMO digital banking app allows you to manage your money from your smartphone. When you create a mobile account, you can:

  • Transfer funds;
  • Check balances;
  • Manage your accounts;
  • View statements;
  • Pay bills.

After downloading the digital banking app and creating an account, you can manage funds from anywhere.

Money Market Accounts

BMO Harris Bank offers a platinum money market account. It works similar to a savings account but allows your funds to accumulate at a higher interest rate. There are no monthly maintenance fees associated with the money market account, allowing your money to grow quickly.

Mortgaging

If you’re planning on buying a home, you can shop for a mortgage through BMO Harris Bank. The bank offers:

  • Mortgages with low down payments;
  • Fixed rate mortgages;
  • Adjustable rate mortgages;
  • Jumbo mortgages.

You can also refinance a current mortgage through BMO Harris Bank. You must complete the mortgage application process with a lender and prove you meet specific qualifications before approval.

Online Banking

As a BMO Harris Bank customer, you can access and manage your accounts online once you create an account. This makes it simple and convenient to transfer funds between accounts and review account transactions and balances.

Savings Accounts

You can open a savings account with a minimum deposit of $25. BMO Harris Bank allows you to set up automatic contributions to your savings account so you can save money faster.

Pros of BMO Harris Bank

  • ATM access: There are many BMO Harris Bank ATM locations you can visit to withdraw or deposit money. You may also use any machine to withdraw money from your accounts, but you may be required to pay a fee when you use out-of-network ATMs.
  • Easy to avoid monthly fees: Most accounts require monthly maintenance fees but you can usually avoid these fees by meeting certain requirements, such as signing up for paperless statements or maintaining a minimum balance.
  • Top-yielding savings products in money market account: The current interest rate for a money market account is 1.5%, much higher than the national average of 0.15%. This allows the balance in your money market account to grow faster.

Cons of BMO Harris Bank

  • High minimum balance requirements: Some accounts require you to keep a high minimum balance to avoid monthly maintenance fees.
  • Limited locations: BMO Harris Bank branch locations are only in select cities, which can make it hard for customers to seek in-person support.
  • No competitive yields on savings products: Savings accounts currently yield 0.050% interest, which may be low when compared to other banks.

If you’re looking for a bank that offers checking, saving, or money market accounts and features online banking, BMO Harris Bank may be a good choice. Before you open an account, review the minimum balance requirements and ensure the bank has locations that are convenient for you if you prefer in-person banking.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/