BMO Harris Bank Review 2022: Business Banking with BMO

We gathered all the info we could on BMO Harris and compared it to more than 30 other banks. Here’s what we think of it.
BMO Harris Bank logo
BMO Harris Bank
2.6 out of 5 stars
2.6
Checking from
$10.00/mo.
  • pro
    Bonuses for new customers
  • pro
    Many business accounts and services
  • pro
    Loans, credit cards, and more
  • con
    Account closing fees

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For business owners in a few (mostly Midwestern) states, BMO Harris offers an alternative to the big chain banks while still giving you a traditional banking experience. But does BMO Harris offer good business banking―or will you wish you’d gone with one of those bigger banks instead?

We think you’ll like BMO if you’re looking for business account choices, business financing products, and some nice perks and bonuses for new business customers. But if unusual account fees, bad customer reviews, or limited availability bother you, BMO Harris may not be a good fit.

Now, let’s see if your business has a future with BMO.


Banking built for small businesses: Bluevine

Set your business up for success with a checking account that has no monthly or overdraft fees and earns you up to $2,000 in interest each year.


Pros
pro Bonuses for new banking customers
pro Many kinds business accounts and services
pro Loans, credit cards, and more
Cons
con Availability in just 8 states
con Account closing fees
con Low customer reviews

BMO Harris bank account options and pricing

For starters, let’s talk about BMO Harris deposit accounts―specifically its checking account and savings account options.

Checking accounts

BMO Harris Bank has four different business checking account options, so you pick the one that aligns with your business needs.

Note that if you want to apply for any of these checking accounts, you’ll have to get in touch with your local BMO branch―you can’t open a BMO Harris account online. (Sigh.) Annoying, but not necessarily a dealbreaker. Fortunately, BMO does offer online banking and mobile banking after you’ve signed up.

So what are your banking options?

BMO Harris small-business checking accounts

FeatureBMO Digital Business CheckingBMO Simple Business CheckingBMO Premium Business CheckingBMO Elite Business Checking
Min. opening deposit$100.00$100.00$100.00$100.00
Monthly fee
$10.00
$10.00
$15.00
$20.00
Monthly fee waivable?
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Earns interest?
Icon No  Dark
Icon No  Dark
Icon No  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Free transactionsUnlimited100200500
Additional transactionsN/A$0.40 each$0.40 each$0.40 each
Free cash deposits$1,000$2,000$5,000$20,000
Cash deposit fee$0.25 per $100.00$0.25 per $100.00$0.25 per $100.00$0.25 per $100.00
Incoming wire transfer fee$0$15.00 each$15.00 each$0.00 each
Open an account

Data effective 11/15/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

If you don’t mind online banking and you don’t deposit much cash, the BMO Digital Business Checking account offers the best value. It gives you unlimited free transactions (almost unheard of for a physical bank!) and an average monthly fee (waivable with just $500 in your bank account). It just doesn’t give you much in the way of free cash deposits. But for mostly online businesses, that shouldn’t matter much. (But in that case, we’d recommend one of our best online banks for business instead.)

For a more deposit-friendly but still affordable account, there’s BMO Simple Business Checking. It keeps the low monthly fee, but it’s even cheaper to waive with this account―just a $100 balance will work. This account only gives you 100 free transactions and $1,000 in cash deposits. So for basic use, it’s affordable. But if you plan lots of transactions, the extra fees could add up fast.

BMO Premium Business Checking gives you more free transactions and cash deposits each month―about double what you get from Simple Checking. The monthly fee on this account is a bit higher, and you need an account balance of $1,500 to waive it. Still, the savings on transaction and deposit fees could easily make this the better value for your business.

If you need more transactions and deposits, you’ll probably prefer BMO Elite Business Checking. Aside from more free transactions and deposits, this bank account also gets you free incoming wire transfers. Even better, it earns interest (though at an unimpressive 0.01% interest rate). To waive the monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to keep an average balance of $5,000 in your Elite Business Checking account or $15,000 across your business BMO bank accounts.

Other BMO Harris small-business checking account options

FeatureBusiness Checking AnalyzedNon-Profit Small Business Checking
Min. opening deposit$100.00$100.00
Monthly fee
$20.00
$0.00
Monthly fee waivable?
No, but can be offset with earnings credit
N/A
Earns interest?
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon No  Dark
Free transactionsN/A200
Additional transactions$0.18–$0.65 each$0.40 each
Free cash depositsN/A$5,000
Cash deposit fee$0.25 per $100$0.25 per $100
Incoming wire transfer fee$15.00 each$15.00 each
Open an account

Data effective 11/15/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Then there’s Business Analyzed Checking. As the name suggests, this is an analyzed checking account. That means you don’t get any freebies. Instead, you get earnings credits based on your account balance, and you can use those credits to offset any account fees. Analyzed accounts like this one usually make sense for businesses that carry big account balances.

Finally, if you’ve got a non-profit, you can get BMO’s Non-Profit Small Business Checking. It has no monthly fee (woo!), but otherwise it works pretty much the same as the BMO Premium Business Checking account.

No matter which BMO bank account you go for, you’ll want to pay attention to a few specific fees.

BMO Harris small-business checking fees

FeatureFee amount
In-network ATM fees$0.00 per transaction
Out-of-network ATM fees$3.00 per transaction
Overdraft fee$36.00 per item
NSF fee$36.00 per item
Outgoing wire transfer fee (domestic)$30.00 each
Outgoing wire transfer fee (foreign)$50.00 each
Account closing fee$50.00
Open an account

Data effective 11/15/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Just like at most traditional banks, BMO Harris won’t charge you ATM fees for in-network ATM transactions. (It partners with a network of about 40,000 Allpoint ATMs.) But for out-of-network ATMs, BMO charges an ATM fee on top of whatever fee the ATM owner charges. So, uh, look for in-network ATMs.

Other fees, like overdraft fees, non-sufficient fund (NSF) fees, and wire transfer fees are pretty typical.

Except, as we said earlier, BMO charges one unusual banking fee: an account closing fee. This fee applies only to accounts closed within 90 days of opening. Again, we’re pretty suspicious of this unusual fee. To avoid it, we suggest you really make sure you’re ready to commit to BMO Harris before you open a bank account.

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Savings accounts

BMO Harris Bank also has a couple types of business savings accounts: a standard savings account and a money market account. (No certificates of deposit though.)

BMO Harris small-business savings accounts

FeatureBusiness SavingsBusiness Prime Money Market
Min. opening deposit$100.00$100.00
Monthly maintenance fee
$10.00
$15.00
Monthly fee waivable?
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
APYUnlisted0.05%
Transactions per month66
Open an account

Data effective 11/15/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Unfortunately, BMO doesn’t list an interest rate for its Business Savings Builder account. That typically means the interest rate is nothing great. And the 0.05% interest rate on the Business Prime Money Market account isn’t exactly stellar. But if you mostly need a separate deposit account for setting money aside, a low interest rate may work fine for you.

(If you really want a great interest rate on a business savings account, we recommend checking out Small Business Bank.)

For a cheaper savings account, you’ll want to go with Business Savings. It has the lower monthly maintenance fee, and you can waive that monthly fee with an average savings balance of justy $500. 

For a better interest rate, you’ll probably prefer the Business Prime Money Market account. (Money market accounts typically have higher interest rates than standard savings accounts.) It has a slightly higher monthly fee, and you need an average savings balance of $10,000 to waive it.

BMO Harris features

Now that you’ve seen your BMO Harris account options, let’s talk about those perks and discounts we mentioned up top―like the ones you can get for opening a new business checking account.

As of this writing, BMO Harris has quite a few signup perks for its different business products:

  • Waived monthly maintenance, coin, wire transfer, and transaction fees for 93 days after opening a new business bank account
  • 0% introductory APR on new business credit cards
  • Bonus signup points for BMO’s reward business credit card
  • Waived annual fee for one year when you open a business line of credit

Plus, BMO offers some other ways to get discounts:

  • 0.25% interest rate discounts on financing when you set up automatic payments from a BMO business checking account
  • Discounts on Paychex payroll services through BMO Harris Bank

Now, we can’t promise you that any of these specific offers will stick around forever. But given that BMO has so many ways to get bonuses and discounts, we expect it will always have some kinds of offers.

For example, in the past BMO Harris offered these bonuses:

  • $200 reward for opening an Essential Business Checking account
  • $500 reward for opening a Business Advantage Checking account

So with any luck, BMO Harris will continue to give customers great perks for joining up.

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BMO Harris vs. other banks for business

You know a decent amount about BMO Harris now. But how does it compare to other banking options for small-business owners?

BMO Harris vs. competitors

Bank
Monthly maintenance fee (checking)
Bank type
Availability
Get a bank account
From $10.00/mo.

Traditional

8 states

From $16.00/mo.

Traditional

37 states

$0.00/mo.

Online

All states

$0.00/mo.

Online

All states

From $10.00/mo.

Traditional

36 states

Data effective 11/12/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

BMO Harris is on the cheaper side for traditional banks, especially with its Digital Business Checking account (the one with no transaction fees). But when compared to online banks that tend to charge no fees, BMO Harris still ends up being the pricier option.

And of course, BMO Harris simply isn’t available in most states. No traditional banks are, but BMO has a very small footprint even for a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. That could be a problem if you want to expand business into other states.

In fact, that brings us to some of the drawbacks you should consider about BMO Harris.

BMO Harris drawbacks

BMO Harris has three big drawbacks we want you to know about: its availability (or lack thereof), the weird fees, and bad customer reviews.

Availability

As with pretty much any traditional bank, a big BMO Bank drawback is its availability―which in this case is pretty limited. BMO Harris operates in just eight states:

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

(If BMO Harris doesn’t service your state, we suggest you find the best bank for business in your state instead.)

That limited availability may not bother you if you’re looking for a local-ish bank in one of those states. But if, say, you’re planning on expanding your business into Colorado sometime soon, you might want a bank with a wider footprint.

Fees

Another thing about BMO Harris that gives us pause? It’s one of the only banks we’ve seen that advertises a closing fee when you close a bank account within 90 days of opening it. The fee alone is annoying enough―but the fact that BMO has such a fee makes us wonder just how many people switch to BMO only to decide it’s not all cracked up to be. Based on the poor customer reviews? Could be a lot.

Customer reviews

BMO Harris customers don’t have a lot of good things to say about the bank.

On Bank Branch Locator, BMO Harris earns a 2.7 out of 5.1 Mostly, you’ll find complaints about specific bank tellers and bad customer service (especially over the phone) at specific branches―though we did some positive reviews of specific branches and employees.

We found even worse BMO Harris Bank reviews on its Better Business Bureau profile (which, to be fair, is true of most businesses), where it earned a 1.07 out of 5.2 Again, it’s lots of customers complaining about poor customer service and how it can take a long time (weeks!) to get issues resolved.

What’s the takeaway here? Well, while we’d like to see more positive reviews, BMO Harris Bank reviews look a lot like the reviews you see for other traditional banks. Those numbers, while low, aren’t much lower than the ratings other banks get. And we didn’t see any particular red flags―just the mediocre customer service that, honestly, we’ve come to expect from lots of banks.

So while BMO Harris may not offer the banking experience of your dreams, it probably isn’t much worse than other traditional banks you’ve dealt with.

Other small-business products and services from BMO Harris

We told you that BMO Harris offers perks on things like credit lines, credit cards, and payroll. So let’s go ahead and cover all the business stuff BMO Harris offers aside from banking.

Small-business financing

As you’d expect from a traditional bank, BMO Harris offers a few different business loans and lines of credit.

(And remember, you can get a 0.25% discount on your interest rate when you make automatic loan payments from your BMO Harris checking account.)

Compare BMO Harris’ small-business lending

Loan
Min./max. loan amount
Lowest listed rate
Term
Get a loan
Line of Credit $10,000/$1 millionUnlisted (variable)Unlisted
Term Loan$100,000/$1 millionUnlisted (fixed)Unlisted
Business real estate loan$25,000/$1 millionUnlistedUnlisted
SBA loansUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted
Dental practice financingUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted
Trucking financingUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted
Equipment leasingUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted

Data effective 11/15/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Its line of credit, term loan, and SBA business loans should be versatile enough to work for all sorts of businesses.

But BMO also has financing for a couple specific industries: dental practices and trucking (the latter of which is pretty uncommon).

Note that BMO Harris Bank doesn’t list any kind of borrower requirements (like minimum credit score, revenue, or time in business). But since it’s a traditional bank, expect it to look for a credit score in the high 600s, $200,000 or so in revenue, and at least two years in business.

Small-business credit cards

BMO also offers a couple different business credit card choices. They’re both Mastercards, and neither charges an annual fee. (And like we said earlier, you can get a 0% introductory APR on these cards.)

One version is a rewards card, so you can earn when you spend. You get 1.5 points for each $1 you spend (comparable to some of our favorite small-business credit cards). The other version doesn’t offer any rewards (which usually means a lower APR).

Miscellaneous

Finally, BMO Harris Bank offers a handful of other business services:

  • Merchant processing
  • Payroll processing
  • Cash management
  • Health saving accounts (HSAs)

And that pretty much sums up BMO Harris Bank.

Get a better business bank account

Want affordable banking with great perks? With BlueVine, you can get a fee-free business checking account―and you can even earn interest on account balances over $1,000.

The takeaway

BMO Harris has some good things to offer businesses (in very select states). It’s got a nice range of bank account and business service options. Even better, BMO offers quite a few deals and bonuses when you sign up for those accounts and services.

Still, we have some reservations about BMO―especially its unusual account closing fees and less-than-ideal customer reviews.

Ultimately, we think BMO Harris Bank can offer decent banking for your business. Just make sure you know what you’re committing to so you don’t have to worry about those account closing fees down the road. 

Not sold on BMO? Find some alternative banking options on our rankings of the best banks for small business.

Related content

Sources

  1. Bank Branch Locator, “BMO Harris Bank.” Accessed March 4, 2021.
  2. Better Business Bureau, “BMO Harris Bank N.A.” Accessed March 4, 2021.

Methodology

We researched all sorts of facts about BMO Harris, like its business account options, banking fees, customer service availability, customer reviews, and more. We scored it on many of those factors, and then used those scores to compare it to dozens of other lenders and come up with our BMO Harris assessment.

BMO Harris FAQ

Is BMO Harris online banking safe?

Yes, BMO Harris online banking and mobile banking are safe. While we saw complaints about BMO Harris, none of them were about security issues with BMO digital banking.

How long do checks take to deposit at BMO Harris?

If you’re using mobile deposit, it will take one to two days for your check funds to show up in your BMO Harris account. 

More specifically, if you’re depositing a check into a checking account, up to $500 of your check will be available the next business day, and you’ll get the remaining balance the day after.

If you’re depositing your check into a savings account (including a money market savings account), it will take two days to get your funds.

Does BMO Harris have free checking accounts?

BMO Harris doesn’t have any truly free business checking accounts―they come with monthly fees, deposit fees, and transaction fees. But you can waive the monthly fee on most BMO Harris business checking accounts by maintaining a certain account balance. 

So depending on how you use it, you could end up with a more-or-less free checking account from BMO.

Related read:
FirstBank Colorado Business Banking Review
Flagstar Bank Business Account Review
M&T Bank Business Account Review

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources

  1. Bank Branch Locator, “BMO Harris Bank.” Accessed November 15, 2021.
  2. Better Business Bureau, “BMO Harris Bank N.A.” November 15, 2021.
Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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