BMO Harris bank has been around since 1882. It was first known as N.W. Harris and Co., but after a series of changes, this bank merged with Bank of Montreal and became BMO Harris, as it’s known today.  BMO Harris is headquartered in Chicago, but this bank also has over 500 branches in eight states. If you are not in one of those states, though, you can still open a BMO Harris account online.

One of the things that makes BMO Harris stand out is its outstanding money market rates, even in states where the bank does not have a physical presence. With the ability to write checks and withdraw funds at an ATM, the money market account offers more flexibility than similar ones offered elsewhere.

What we like about BMO Harris

At a rate of 2.05% APY, the Platinum Money Market account definitely sets BMO Harris apart. With 1,400 of their own ATMs and a partnership with Allpoint, you can access your money, free of fees, from nearly 43,000 locations. If you opt for eStatements, checking is free and only requires a small minimum balance to open.

The bank also offers some great financial tools, from savings and investment tools to other convenient features via their mobile app. The APY on their CDs is also pretty impressive, and they offer special CDs with some significant returns.

BMO Harris Critiques

BMO Harris has three types of checking accounts. Two of the three can be fee-free, but they do not earn any interest. Overdraft fees are significant at $36 each, and there is no overdraft offered with their Smart Money checking. If you don’t have the money, the item will not be paid.

Statement savings rates are low, and the Platinum money market account requires a minimum balance of $5,000 — not the highest around for a money-market account, but certainly not the lowest, either. Unless you have substantial funds that you can leave untouched, you won’t earn interest in money market or checking accounts.

BMO Harris checking accounts

There are three types of checking accounts offered by BMO Harris. The first is the Smart Money account, which is best for young people and students. The only way the $5 maintenance fee can be waived is if you are under 25 and opt for paperless statements. Paper statements will cost you $2, and you will age out of the fee exception at 25.

The second and most popular account is the Smart Advantage account. As long as you opt for eStatements, you won’t incur a fee, but you also don’t earn any interest with this account, either.

The third and final account type is the Premier Account, which does earn interest. However, if your balance falls below $25,000, you will pay a hefty $30 maintenance fee. This fee can also be waived if you have more than $50,000 in two BMO accounts combined. The tiered interest rates are good, but you’ll need some cash you can leave alone to avoid any fees.

BMO Harris savings accounts

Statement Savings accounts can be opened with just $100. Interest rates are relatively low when compared nationally, and if you don’t have a $500 minimum balance or at least a $25 a month in the bank’s Auto Save program from your checking account, you’ll get hit with a $5 account maintenance fee.

If you have other BMO Harris banking products and can park a minimum balance in this account, it’s a great place to put some money aside.

BMO Harris money market accounts

The Platinum Money Market account is perhaps BMO’s best offering. With a rate of 2.05%, which is high above than the national average — even in states where it does not have any branches – this account is well worth looking into.

You’ll need a $5,000 minimum to open an account, but that is not the highest around. It’s also not the lowest, but the account does come with check writing and ATM options, which other similar accounts often do not offer.

The bottom line

If you have money to invest, or plan to, or if you’re looking for a great money market solution, BMO Harris may be right for you. You’ll reap the greatest benefits if you live in one of the states where the bank has physical branches.

If you tend to have simple banking needs, typically maintain low account balances or are looking for high-yield savings accounts, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.

For investors, young people just starting out, and those looking for specific investment services, BMO Harris may just be the bank you’re looking for.