The Bank of Montreal

BMO Reviews: An overview of its banking products and services

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Fact Checked: Amy Tokic

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Updated: June 03, 2024

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BMO (also known as the Bank of Montreal) is one of Canada’s oldest banks—over 200 years old. Because of its history and reputation as one of Canada’s most trusted big five banks, it’s a popular financial institution for all things money-related—from bank accounts and mortgages to insurance, loans and investments. 

We’ve dug into the nitty gritty of BMO and laid out everything you need to know about how it operates and what it offers. Read on for our in-depth BMO review.

BMO Bank of Montreal reviews

Product What it is Who it’s for
BMO Investorline Accounts: RRSPs, TFSAs, RESPs, FHSAs, RRIFs, RDSPs. BMO has options to invest online and with a professional Anyone interested in long-term savings, whether that’s for a home, schooling or retirement
BMO chequing accounts 5 different chequing accounts, ranging from $4 per month to $30.95 per month
There’s an account option for everyone, whether they have a high balance or a low balance, conduct a lot of monthly transactions or just a handful
BMO savings accounts 4 different savings accounts, all with no fees There are savings accounts to help with all types of savings goals. One even offers the ability to save in US dollars
BMO credit cards BMO offers 2 types of cash back cards, 3 no annual fee cards, 3 low interest/low fee cards, 4 BMO rewards cards, 2 Air Miles rewards cards, 5 travel cards, 2 student cards and 3 cards for Canadian newcomers Those looking to earn cash back, travel, or other rewards and anyone interested in no fees or low interest rates
BMO mortgages Fixed and variable interest rate mortgages as well as mortgages with a bundled line of credit. BMO offers 130 day rate guarantees Canadians looking to purchase a home
BMO loans Personal loans, home equity lines of credit and RRSP loans Loans can typically be used for debt consolidation, big-ticket purchases, travel and investing
BMO insurance Creditor, life, critical illness and travel insurance For those looking to protect themselves and their family

BMO Pros and cons of BMO

Like any bank or financial institution, BMO has its positives and its negatives. We’ve broken those down for you.

Pros

Pros

  • A solid history

  • Well-respected

  • A wide range of products

  • Affordable banking, investing, credit, mortgage and insurance options

  • Over 900 branches across the country

  • Access to over 3,000 ATMs

  • Discounts for youth, students, seniors, newcomers, people with disabilities and Indigenous Canadians

Cons

Cons

  • Lack of innovative, free chequing accounts

  • Higher fees than newer fintech companies

  • Lower savings rates than newer fintech companies

How to open a BMO bank account

You can open a BMO account either online by simply clicking any of the apply now buttons or by visiting one of their branches.

You can find a BMO branch here

Required documents: 

Proof of identity: passport, driver's license or Canadian permanent resident card

Proof of address: recent utility bill, rental agreement, or a letter from your employer showing your current address. Some banks may also accept a notice of assessment from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). 

Social insurance number (SIN) & employment information: For tax purposes, you'll need to provide your SIN. Depending on the type of account you're opening, you may need details of your current employment status. 

BMO web and app insights

BMO’s app was ranked #1 by Insider Intelligence’s Canada Mobile Banking Emerging Feature Benchmark study. And a big reason was its Manage Money Insights. This feature allows users to manage their money using personalized insights about their monthly spending, bill payment tracking and AI cash flow predictions. 

With BMO’s Insights, users can keep an eye on their spending, save more and get alerts if anything seems off with their account. 

BMO customer service

BMO employee reviews appear to be strong, and its customer service earns rewards within the industry. J.D. Power ranked it #1 in customer satisfaction among the big five banks in its 2023 Canada Retail Banking Satisfaction Study1.

Customer service can be contacted in various ways, including online, by telephone or in-branch. 

BMO investing products

  • BMO Investorline review 

BMO Investorline Self-Directed is for the experienced investor interested in managing their own portfolio. Read the full BMO Investorline review

  • BMO SmartFolio review

BMO SmartFolio is a way to invest online with a low-fee professionally managed portfolio. Fees range from 0.4-0.7%. Read the full BMO SmartFolio review here. 

  • BMO adviceDirect review

A mix of self-directed and managed investing. adviceDirect gives users insights, advice and access to investment professionals.

BMO insurance products

Insurance is one of those unavoidable things in life, like taxes. It might be a pain to pay for, but it's always a relief to have it when needed. 

As with all Canadian banks, BMO offers a comprehensive range of insurance products, including life insurance, travel insurance, mortgage insurance and credit protection insurance. While we don't advocate for the latter two, life and travel insurance are often essential, ensuring you're well-prepared for life's unexpected turns. 

Let's learn more about what BMO offers in this quick BMO travel insurance and BMO life insurance review.

Life insurance

For life insurance, BMO offers term and permanent life insurance for those who want to protect their families financially in the event of their death. Term life insurance covers a set amount of time, whereas permanent life insurance covers life. 

Term life insurance is available to anyone aged 18 to 75, and coverage ranges from $100,000 to $30 million. Coverage terms can be 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years.

Permanent life insurance is available to anyone up to 80, and coverage amounts range from $50,000 to $35 million.

Travel

Another popular insurance option, BMO also offers several different travel insurance plans—five in total, to be exact. There are options for multi-trip plans and single-trip plans, and there’s something for everyone, whether they want travel medical, travel protection or a mix. 

Benefits can include emergency hospital and medical expenses, private duty nursing, emergency air transportation or evacuation, emergency dental expenses, trip cancellation and trip interruption.  

BMO Bank reviews: chequing and saving accounts

Performance chequing account

  • Fees: $17.95 per month (or $0 with a minimum balance of $4,000)
  • Limits: Unlimited transactions
  • Features: No-fee daily banking for your family, up to $40 rebate on annual fee for certain credit cards
  • Who it’s for: Working professionals or families who have a balance of at least $4,000 who need an account that offers unlimited transactions
Apply for the Performance Chequing Account

Premium chequing account

  • Fees: $30.95 per month (or $0 with a minimum balance of $6,000)
  • Limits: Unlimited transactions
  • Features: No-fee daily banking for your family, up to $150 rebate on annual fee for certain credit cards
  • Who it’s for: The high balance account holder who also has – or wants – a BMO credit card
Open a BMO Premium Chequing Account

Plus chequing account

  • Fees: $11.95 per month (or $0 with a minimum balance of $3,000)
  • Limits: 25 transactions per month
  • Features: Canada and US dollar savings accounts at no cost, unlimited no-fee debits for public transit
  • Who it’s for: With it’s free savings account add-on and unlimited public transit transactions, this account might be enticing for students or Canadian newcomers who require less than 25 transactions per month

Practical chequing account

  • Fees: $4 per month
  • Limits: 12 transactions per month
  • Features: Premium rate savings account at no cost
  • Who it’s for: Seniors or anyone else who doesn’t require a high number of transactions per month

AIR MILES chequing account

  • Fees: $17.95 per month
  • Limits: Unlimited transactions
  • Features: Earn 1 mile for every $30 spent on your BMO debit card, 25 bonus miles each month if you have a BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard
  • Who it’s for: The traveller who also has – or wants – a BMO Air Miles World Elite Mastercard

Savings amplifier savings account

  • Fees: No monthly fee
  • Interest rate: 1.9% 
  • Features: Unlimited transfers to your other BMO accounts, no minimum balance
  • Who it’s for: Anyone who wants an account for short-term savings or anyone who wants a savings account to keep their emergency fund

Savings builder account

  • Fees: No monthly fee
  • Interest rate: 0.5% base or 2% if you save at least $200 per month
  • Features: One transfer to another BMO account per month
  • Who it’s for: The super saver who saves at least $200 per month, which might be especially geared toward new Canadians

Premium rate savings account

  • Fees: No monthly fee
  • Interest rate: 0.010%
  • Features: Pay one monthly plan fee for multiple accounts
  • Who it’s for: Anyone who already has a BMO chequing account and wants to add a savings account – great for students who want to stack two affordable accounts

US dollar premium rate savings account

  • Fees: No monthly fees
  • Interest rate: 0.050% 
  • Features: Save in US dollars
  • Who it’s for: Someone who travels often to the US or has family in the United States that they’d like to send and receive money to and from

BMO Credit cards reviews

It’s become a cliche, but when it comes to BMO credit cards, there is something for everyone. It’s impressive how many they offer. We’ll break them down by category for easy scanning: scroll down to the type that interests you most or peruse all the BMO credit card reviews at your leisure.

BMO no fee credit cards

BMO offers three different no fee credit cards: BMO Eclipse Rise Visa, BMO Cashback Mastercard and BMO AIR MILES Mastercard. 

BMO CashBack® MasterCard®

Apply now

5% cash back

Good

Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Cardholders earn 3% (up to a monthly max of $500) cash back on groceries

3%

Cardholders can earn 1% (up to $500 per month) on any recurring bill payments*

1%

Cardholders can earn 0.5% (no monthly max) on all other eligible purchases*

0.5%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000

Pros

  • No Annual Fee: A rare find in Canada for a cash back card

  • A generous 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 monthly)

  • Easily redeem from $1, set up automatic redemptions, or use as a statement credit

  • Additional perks include discounts on rentals, free supplementary cards and show discounts

Cons

  • Outside of groceries and recurring payments, the standard earn rate drops to 0.5%

  • Monthly caps on top earn rates for groceries and recurring payments

  • A 2% balance transfer fee applies

  • The interest rate on the remaining balance transfer amount increases after the introductory period

BMO AIR MILES®† MasterCard®*

Apply now

4.2

800 AIR MILES

Good

Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles!* That’s enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Get 3 Miles for every $25 spent with AIR MILES Partners.

3 miles

Get 2x the Miles for every $25 at grocery stores and supermarkets.

2 miles

Double up your Shell Go+ Miles on eligible fuel and in-store purchases.

4 miles

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000

BMO low interest credit cards

If low interest is what you’re after, look no further than BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard or BMO Prepaid Mastercard.

BMO Preferred Rate Mastercard®*

Apply now

0.99% rate

Good

Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee and BMO will waive the $29 annual fee in your first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 9 months with a 2% transfer fee and BMO will waive the annual fee on your first anniversary.*

0.99%

Purchase APR

13.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

0.99%

Cash Advance APR

15.99%

Annual Fee

$29

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • Low-interest rate: Offers a competitive purchase interest rate

  • Introductory balance transfer offer for the first nine months

  • First-year annual fee waiver

  • BMO PaySmart™ Installment plans: Turn new credit card purchases into small, interest-free monthly payments with a small fee.

  • Additional cardholder: You can add an additional cardholder for free

Cons

  • No rewards: Your focus is paying down debt, not collecting miles.

  • Foreign transaction fee: Charges a 2.5% fee on foreign transactions.

  • Balance transfer fee: While normal, it’s a bit painful to have to fork over a 2% fee on balance transfers.

BMO® Prepaid Mastercard®*

about new welcome offers by email

There are no rewards with the BMO Prepaid Mastercard

N/A

Purchase APR

0.00%

Annual Fee

$6.95

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Fair

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

BMO Cash back credit cards

Want to line your pockets with a little extra money each time you use your card? BMO Cashback Mastercard or BMO Cashback World Elite Mastercard might be the perfect companion for you. 

BMO CashBack® MasterCard®

Apply now

5% cash back

Good

Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Cardholders earn 3% (up to a monthly max of $500) cash back on groceries

3%

Cardholders can earn 1% (up to $500 per month) on any recurring bill payments*

1%

Cardholders can earn 0.5% (no monthly max) on all other eligible purchases*

0.5%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000

Pros

  • No Annual Fee: A rare find in Canada for a cash back card

  • A generous 3% cash back on groceries (up to $500 monthly)

  • Easily redeem from $1, set up automatic redemptions, or use as a statement credit

  • Additional perks include discounts on rentals, free supplementary cards and show discounts

Cons

  • Outside of groceries and recurring payments, the standard earn rate drops to 0.5%

  • Monthly caps on top earn rates for groceries and recurring payments

  • A 2% balance transfer fee applies

  • The interest rate on the remaining balance transfer amount increases after the introductory period

BMO CashBack® World Elite® Mastercard

Apply now

up to 10%

Excellent

Get up to 10% cash back in your first 3 months and the $120 annual fee waived in the first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Groceries: 5% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($25 in cash back)*

5%

Transit: 4% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($12 in cash back)*

4%

Gas: 3% cash back up to $300 spent per month ($9 in cash back)*

3%

Recurring Bills: 2% cash back up to $500 spent per month ($10 in cash back)*

2%

Everything Else: 1% cash back, unlimited*

1%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.90%

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Valuable sign-up bonus

  • High 5% cash back rate on groceries

  • Free roadside assistance

  • Excellent extended warranty and purchase protection terms

Cons

  • Restrictive spending limits for most cash back categories

  • Sign-up bonus structure is head-scratchingly complicated

  • High minimum income requirements

BMO rewards credit cards

If it’s BMO rewards you’re after, you can choose between BMO Eclipse Rise Visa or BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite. 

BMO Eclipse Visa Infinite

Apply now

up to 60K pts

Very Good

Get up to 60,000 points worth $400 in travel rewards, a $50 lifestyle credit and the $120 annual fee waived in the first year - that's a $570 value in your first anniversary!*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

the points for every $1 spent on groceries, gas, dining in and out and transit.*

5x

Earn 10% more points when you add an authorized user to your account.*

10%

annual lifestyle credit to spend however you want*

$50

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Recommended Credit Score

Very Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$60,000

Required Annual Household Income

$100,000

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer: Get up to 60,000 points and a $50 lifestyle credit

  • Good earn rate in top spending categories

  • First year annual fee waiver* (Value: $120)

  • Includes new mobile device insurance: Up to $1,000 in coverage**

  • Annual $50 lifestyle credit to spend however you like*

  • Includes comprehensive travel insurance

  • Access to exclusive Visa Infinite benefits

Cons

  • High minimum annual income: Minimum $60,000 (individual) or $100,000 (household)

  • Insurance doesn't include trip cancellation coverage

BMO travel credit cards

BMO offers two different types of travel rewards cards: Ascend and AIR MILES. Depending on which program suits you, you can choose between BMO Ascend World Elite Mastercard, BMO AIR MILES Mastercard or BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard.

Read more: Best AIR MILES credit cards

BMO Ascend™ World Elite®* Mastercard®

Apply now

up to 90K pts

Excellent

Get up to 90,000 points and the annual fee waived in your first anniversary for both the primary cardholder and authorized users.*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

5x the points for every $1 spent on eligible travel purchases*

5x

3x the points for every $1 spent on eligible dining and entertainment purchases and recurring bill payments*

3x

1 point for every $1 spent everywhere else*

1x

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$150

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.50%

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • High-value welcome offer

  • Flexible airport lounge access

  • BMO Rewards points can be used to cover flight taxes and fees

  • Great for those who frequently rent cars

  • Good for Costco and No Frills shoppers

Cons

  • So-so earn rates relative to its annual fee

  • Points have low redemption value compared to other travel rewards programs

  • Charges foreign transaction fees

  • Relatively high minimum income requirements

BMO AIR MILES®† MasterCard®*

Apply now

4.2

800 AIR MILES

Good

Get 800 AIR MILES Bonus Miles!* That’s enough for $80 towards purchases with AIR MILES Cash*

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Get 3 Miles for every $25 spent with AIR MILES Partners.

3 miles

Get 2x the Miles for every $25 at grocery stores and supermarkets.

2 miles

Double up your Shell Go+ Miles on eligible fuel and in-store purchases.

4 miles

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

22.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$15,000

BMO AIR MILES®† World Elite®* MasterCard®*

Apply now

2,000 miles

Excellent

Get 2,000 AIR MILES Bonus Miles and BMO will waive the $120 annual fee for the first anniversary*.

Expires

Nov 30, 2024

Cardholders earn an accelerated 3x the Miles per $12 spent at participating AIR MILES partners*,

3x

2x the Miles for every $12 spent at any eligible grocery store*

2x

reward mile for every $12 in credit card purchases, everywhere you spend*

1x

discount on one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption during the calendar year.*

25%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Balance Transfer Rate

23.99%

Cash Advance APR

23.99%

Annual Fee

$120

Recommended Credit Score

Excellent

Required Annual Personal Income

$80,000

Required Annual Household Income

$150,000

Pros

  • Offers the largest Air Miles sign-up bonus on the market with a waived annual fee for the first anniversary*

  • High earn rates of up to 3x the Miles on eligible purchases

  • Exclusive travel discounts like 25% off one worldwide AIR MILES flight redemption annually

  • Airport lounge access through complimentary Mastercard Travel Pass membership

  • Comprehensive insurance package which covers medical, trip, flight delay, lost luggage and more

  • Additional Perks include Boingo Wi-Fi, BMO Concierge, digital subscriptions, and cash back promotions

Cons

  • An $80,000 personal/$150,000 household income is needed to qualify

  • Ideal for AIR MILES loyalists, may not suit those with a casual approach

  • The fixed redemption value for flights may not appeal to everyone

  • Optimal value only when frequently shopping at AIR MILES partners

BMO student credit cards

If you’re a student, you might be interested in the Student BMO Cashback Mastercard or Student BMO AIR MILES Mastercard. 

BMO CashBack® Mastercard®* for students

Apply now

5% cash back

Good

Get 5% cash back in your first 3 months.*

Earn 3% cash back on groceries

3%

Earn 1% cash back on recurring bill payments like your mobile phone, streaming and subscription services

1%

Earn 0.5% cash back on all other purchases

0.5%

Purchase APR

20.99%

Cash Advance APR

22.99%

Annual Fee

$0

Recommended Credit Score

Good

Required Annual Personal Income

$0

Required Annual Household Income

$0

Pros

  • No annual fee: this makes it cost-effective for students looking to build credit without incurring additional expenses.

  • Earn cash back on everyday purchases, including up to 5% cash back on every purchase in your first three months.

  • Credit building: If you’re responsible, you can build a positive credit history, which helps you get better credit cards and more

Cons

  • Higher interest rates: If you can’t pay off your balance in full, opt for a low interest credit card

  • Limited additional benefits: While there are some benefits, it’s not the full suite of perks, but then again, there’s no annual fee.