BMO Harris Bank Review 2021: Business Banking with BMO

Despite nice signup bonuses, limited availability and odd fees keep BMO Harris from being one of our top banks.
BMO Harris Bank logo
BMO Harris Bank
2.5 out of 5 stars
2.5
  • Check
    Bonuses for new customers
  • Check
    Many business accounts and services
  • X
    Availability in just 8 states
  • X
    Account closing fees

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?

In this review, we’ll show you what BMO can offer your business. We’ll explain its bank accounts, financing, and other business services―and we’ll give you our overall take on BMO business banking. 

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

BMO Harris has nice perks for new customers (in a few states)

As with pretty much any traditional bank, we need to start our BMO Harris Bank review by talking about 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.

For now, let’s assume you don’t mind BMO Harris’ geographic limitations. Then will you like everything else about BMO?

BMO Harris fast facts

FeatureM&T Bank
Online banking
Icon Yes  Dark
Mobile bankingIcon Yes  Dark
In-person bankingIcon Yes  Dark
Branch locationsOver 500
ATMs40,000
24/7 supportIcon No  Dark
Customer service optionsPhone, email
Learn more

Well, you’ll probably like some of the perks and discounts BMO Harris offers when you open a new business deposit account, get a business credit card, or take out a new business line of credit. For example, you can get bonus cash or a discounted interest rate. (We’ll dive into the specifics later.) BMO definitely wants to reward you for using its banking services.

Some things about BMO Harris give us pause though. It is, for instance, 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. 

We’ll talk about all this in more detail as we go on so you can make up your own mind about BMO Harris Bank.

But our brief take? BMO Harris isn’t one of our top-recommended banks, but it offers a nice spread of business accounts and services―and we do like those perks and discounts we mentioned. So if you’re looking for alternatives to the big banks in your state, BMO Harris could be a good option.

So let’s see if BMO Harris can work for your business.

BMO Harris checking and savings accounts

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

FeatureEssential Business CheckingBusiness Advantage CheckingBusiness Checking AnalyzedNon-Profit Small Business Checking
Min. opening deposit$100$100$100$100
Monthly fee
$15.00
$20.00
$20.00
$0
Monthly fee waivable?
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
No, but can be offset with earnings credit
N/A
Earns interest?
Icon No  Dark
Icon No  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon No  Dark
Free transactions200500N/A200
Additional transactions$0.40 each$0.40 each$0.18–$0.65 each$0.40 each
Free cash deposits$5,000$20,000N/A$5,000
Cash deposit fee$0.25 per $100$0.25 per $100$0.25 per $100$0.25 per $100
Overdraft fee$15.00 each$0.00 each$15.00 each$15.00 each
Open an account

Data effective 3/4/21. At publishing time, rates, fees, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

For a basic business bank account, you’ve got Essential Business Checking. It gives you a small number of free transactions and cash deposits each month. This checking account has a fairly average monthly fee, which you can waive by keeping an average checking account balance of just $1,500. 

If you need more transactions and deposits, you’ll probably prefer Business Advantage Checking. Aside from more free transactions and deposits, this bank account also gets you free incoming wire transfers. Even better, it earns interest (though BMO Harris doesn’t publish its interest rates). To waive the monthly maintenance fee, you’ll need to keep an average balance of $5,000 in your Business Advantage Checking account or $15,000 across your business BMO bank accounts.

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 Essentials 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 3/4/21. 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 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.

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$100
Monthly maintenance fee
$10.00
$15.00
Monthly fee waivable?
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
APYUnlistedUnlisted
Transactions per month66
Open an account

Data effective 3/4/21. 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 either account. That typically means the interest rate is nothing great. 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 bonuses and discounts

Now that you’ve seen your BMO Harris account options, let’s talk about those perks and discounts we mentioned before―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:

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

And remember, BMO Harris doesn’t let you sign up for new bank accounts or financing online―it has to be in a branch. So if, say, you want the reward for opening a business checking account, you need to go to the BMO Harris website and get the promo code for that offer―and then take that promo card to your local branch to actually sign up for your new account. 

Yes, we know, it’s unnecessarily complicated. Even so, to get sweet discounts and bonus cash from BMO Harris, it’s probably worth putting in a little extra effort.

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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

Data effective 3/4/21. 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. 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.

BMO Harris customer reviews

We’ve given you our take on BMO. But what do BMO’s customers have to say about their experiences?

Not a lot of good things, unfortunately.

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 1.06 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.

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.

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.

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