The Bank of Montreal (BMO) is one of the biggest banks in Canada and it offers its customers access to five different chequing accounts.
BMO chequing accounts cater to various banking needs, budgets, and lifestyle.
Similar to other banks in the Big 5 grouping, it also offers special discounts for students, seniors, and newcomers.
This BMO bank account review covers its chequing account features, fees, perks, and alternatives.
BMO Chequing Accounts Review
BMO has five chequing accounts, including the:
- Air Miles and,
- Practical Plans
All of them are available under a bank plan that groups your bank services together for one fixed monthly fee.
Customers who have a Performance or Premium Plan chequing account can invite family members to open their own separate account without having to pay a monthly fee.
BMO bank accounts have access to a mobile banking app available on the App Store and Google Play Store. You can use the app to deposit cheques.
BMO Premium Plan Chequing
This premium account is BMO’s most comprehensive chequing account with a $30 monthly fee. It is a great option for people who do not want limits on the free transactions in their banking package.
You can waive the monthly fee by maintaining a minimum balance of $6,000.
Its key features are:
- Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers
- Unlimited non-BMO ATM withdrawals worldwide
- It waives the overdraft protection standard monthly fee
- Credit card fee rebate up to $150 annually
- Free cheques, money orders, and drafts
Account-holders get a fee rebate on select credit cards including the BMO World Elite, BMO Air Miles World Elite, or BMO CashBack World Elite Mastercard.
You enjoy free OnGuard Identity Theft Protection (retails at $155.88/year) and get a discount on a safety deposit box rental.
BMO Performance Plan Chequing
The BMO Performance Plan is its most popular chequing account and costs $15.95 per month. This fee is waives when you keep a minimum balance of $4,000 throughout the month.
Its key features are:
- Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers
- 1 non-BMO ATM withdrawal each month
- Up to $40 fee rebate on a BMO Mastercard credit card
- Free identity theft protection ($155.88 value/year)
Related: Best CIBC Chequing Accounts
BMO Plus Chequing Account
This account is the middle-of-the-road option when you are balancing fees with features. It costs $10.95 per month, and this fee is waived if you maintain a $3,000 minimum balance.
The BMO Plus Plan offers 25 transactions per month. Additional debit transaction cost $1.25 each.
BMO Air Miles Chequing Account
If you like to collect Air Miles rewards, this BMO chequing is worth checking out. It has a fixed $15.95 monthly fee.
Here’s what you get:
- Unlimited debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers
- 1 Mile for every $30 spent using your BMO Debit card
- 25 bonus Miles each month when you pair your account with an eligible BMO credit card.
There is no option to waive the monthly fee on this account.
Related: Best Scotiabank Bank Accounts
BMO Practical Plan Chequing
If you don’t conduct a lot of banking transactions or are fee-conscious, the entry-level BMO Practical Plan is the cheapest option at the bank.
It has a $4 monthly fee and offers 12 transactions each month.
|BMO Premium Plan||BMO Performance Plan||BMO Plus Plan||BMO Air Miles Plan||BMO Practical Plan|
|Minimum balance to waive fee||$6,000||$4,000||$3,000||N/A||N/A|
|Number of free transactions||Unlimited||Unlimited||25||Unlimited||12|
|Cost per debit over limit||N/A||N/A||$1.25 each||N/A||$1.25 each|
|Non-BMO ATM withdrawal in Canada||Unlimited||1 free; $2 each after||$2 each||$2 each||$2 each|
|Non-BMO ATM abroad||Unlimited||$5 each||$5 each||$5 each||$5 each|
|Other perks||Up to $150 fee rebate on select credit cards;|
free identity theft protection; free cheques, money orders, and drafts
|Up to $40 rebate on select credit cards; free identity theft protection||–||Earn 1 Mile per $30 spent using BMO debit card||–|
BMO Chequing Account Discounts
Special discounts and fee rebates are available to students, seniors, youth, newcomers to Canada, and members of the Canadian Defence Community.
The eligibility requirements are:
Students: Available to students 19 years or older and enrolled in full-time post-secondary education. Annual proof of registration is required, or you can submit documents from your school showing your expected completion date. Recent graduates may be eligible for a fee discount for up to one year after graduation.
Canadian Defence Community: Military families, veterans, regular force personnel, reserves DND, RCMP, and the Canadian Coast Guard personnel may be eligible for specific discounts.
Newcomers: Available to immigrants who landed in Canada within the past 5 years. This includes permanent residents and foreign workers.
Learn more about BMO’s NewStart Program.
Seniors: For those aged 60 or older. Find out more about seniors’ chequing accounts. Beneficiaries of a Registered Disability Saving Plan enjoy the same discounts as seniors.
|Standard monthly fee||$30||$15.95||$10.95||$15.95||$4|
|Canadian Defence Banking fee||$14.05||Free||$10.95||No discount||No discount|
|Newcomers fee||$30 (no discount)||Free for 1 year||$10.95||No discount||No discount|
|Kids (13-18 years)||$19.05||$5||Free||No discount||No discount|
|Student fee||$19.05||$5||Free||No discount||No discount|
BMO Chequing Account Fees
When you exceed the debit transactions included in your plan, a $1.25 fees applies to each transaction over the limit. Interac e-Transfers cost $1 each.
Non-BMO ATM withdrawals on the Interac network in Canada cost $2 each and $5 abroad.
The monthly fee for standard overdraft protection is $5, and paper statements cost $2 per month.
Chequing accounts closed within 90 days of opening attract a $20 fee.
How to Open a BMO Bank Account
BMO chequing accounts can generally be opened online. You will need your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and an address in Canada. You must also be the age of the majority in your province.
Alternatively, you can visit a branch to open an account or use telephone banking.
Parents can open a kid’s account for children under the age of 12. When the child turns 13, BMO converts their account to the discounted Teen banking package.
Students must provide proof of registration in a post-secondary program and their expected graduation date. If they cannot provide an expected day of graduation, they must verify their student status by December 24 each year.
Is the Bank of Montreal Safe?
BMO is a top-5 bank that has been around since 1817.
It uses strong encryption to secure your accounts, as well as digital certificates and firewalls.
The bank’s 100% Electronic Banking Guarantee offers to reimburse you 100% for any losses you incur resulting from unauthorized transactions through online and mobile banking (subject to conditions).
Some BMO Chequing accounts (Performance and Premium) get free access to On Guard to protect their identity.
You can also use the free IBM Trusteer Rapport software.
BMO is a member of Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) so your account may be eligible for deposit insurance up to $100,000 per category.
BMO Chequing Alternatives
BMO’s most popular account offers unlimited transactions and it is fairly similar to “unlimited” chequing account offering at other big banks.
You can waive the monthly fee by keeping a minimum balance in your account throughout the month.
If paying a monthly fee is not palatable for you and you would rather earn interest on your balance, a digital chequing account with no fees is an option.
Below is a comparison of the BMO Performance Plan, Scotiabank Preferred Package, and Tangerine Chequing accounts.
|Chequing Account||BMO Performance Plan||Scotiabank Preferred Package||Tangerine No-Fee chequing|
|Minimum balance to waive fee||$4,000||$4,000||Not applicable|
|Free debit transactions||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Free Interac e-Transfers||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Non-bank ATM withdrawal in Canada||1 free; $2 each after||1 free/month; $1.50 – $3 each after||$1.50 each|
|Credit card fee rebate||Up to $40 annual fee rebate||1st year fee waived up to $139||N/A; Tangerine credit cards have no annual fee|
|Other perks||Identity theft protection||$300 cash bonus; |
Earn SCENE or Scotia Rewards; Get an extra 0.05% on savings; Cheap international money transfer
|First chequebook is free; Earn interest on your chequing account balance|
|Review||–||Learn More||Learn More|
BMO Chequing Account FAQ
All BMO chequing accounts have a monthly fee. You can waive this fee by maintaining a minimum balance in your account throughout the month. You can also take advantage of special discounts. For example, seniors get the BMO Practical Plan for free after applying a $4 rebate.
The BMO Premium Performance and Air Miles plans offer unlimited Interac e-Transfer transactions. Free Interac e-Transfers are also available on BMO’s other plans, subject to the monthly account limit. A $1 fee applies to each transfer over the limit.
Transactions that count towards the limit on your chequing include bill payments, debit card purchases, Interac e-Transfers, and withdrawals.
Do you a bank account with the Bank of Montreal? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.
BMO Chequing Accounts in Canada Review
Compare BMO chequing accounts in Canada including the BMO Performance, Premium, Plus and Practical plans. Learn about BMO account fees and alternative chequing options.
How do I change plan on my account?
To change your plan for your bank account, visit your nearest BMO Bank of Montreal branch or call us at 1 800 263 2263.
To book an appointment at your local branch, return to Online Banking and select the Book or Manage Appointments link in the Questions box in the bottom left of your screen.
Top 10 Questions
- How do I perform a wire transfer?
- How do I get a void cheque for a preauthorized deposit?
- How do I find my BIC and IBAN numbers?
- What are the abbreviations for the transaction types for personal accounts?
- How do I find the branch/transit or account number?
- How do I transfer money to another individual or small business?
- How do I set up Direct Deposit?
- How do I get a replacement bank card or a credit card?
- What are the different transaction codes and their meanings?
- How do I change my address, email or phone number online?
Bank of Montreal
BMO offers a variety of chequing accounts and has special rates for:
- Students/recent grads
- Newcomers to Canada
- Beneficiaries of an RDSP
- Individuals in the Canadian Defence
- Canadian Defence seniors
BMO also provides its customers with PlanShare, allowing you to open up to 20 Canadian or U.S. Dollar Primary Chequing, Premium Rate Savings or Interest Chequing Accounts for you and your spouse/partner for one monthly fee. For example, with PlanShare each person can have their own chequing and savings account, they can also have a chequing and savings account which are shared. That is a total of six accounts all of which are included in the one monthly fee with unlimited free transfers between accounts.
Out of BMO's five chequing accounts, the practical account is the only one which includes a monthly paper statement, all others have free e-Statements. A $2 monthly fee is required to get a paper statement. Compare Bank of Montreal chequing account offerings to that of other providers to find one which meets your needs.
BMO Premium Plan
BMO's Premium chequing account offers the most features at the highest monthly fee. This fee can be waived if the minimum balance requirement is met. With the Premium account you receive unlimited transactions, the ability to add up to 20 accounts for one monthly fee, 10 non-BMO ATM withdrawals per month, 5 outgoing Interac e-Transfers per month, the annual fee waived on the BMO World Elite MasterCard or the BMO World MasterCard, and one Air Mile for every $40 spent on your BMO Debit Card. With the dollar value of one Air Mile equal to $0.121 and a monthly fee of $30, you would have to spend approximately $9,900 a month to earn enough Air Miles to cover the monthly fee.
In the premium plan, the overdraft protection monthly fee is waived, with interest calculated on the daily overdraft balance and charged at the end of the month. Additional free features include cheques, money orders, drafts, safety deposit box discount, five withdrawals from ATMs outside of Canada, travellers cheques, preferred exchange rate on U.S. cash and U.S. dollar bill payments. However, any Interac e-Transfers or non-BMO ATM withdrawals above the allocated monthly amount will incur a fee per transaction.
BMO Performance Plan
Bank of Montreal's Performance account provides you with unlimited transactions, 1 non-BMO ATM withdrawal and the ability to add up to 20 accounts for a monthly fee. With up to 20 chequing accounts, you can set up individual accounts to budget for personal expenses. You can have an account for clothing, lunch, utilities and more; allowing you to separate and budget all of your needs. Additional fees are charged for Interac e-Transfers and non-BMO ATM withdrawals over the one free allocated.
BMO Air Miles Plan
Similar to the Performance chequing account, BMO's Air Miles account allows you to open up to 20 accounts for one monthly fee and have unlimited transactions. However, the monthly fee cannot be waived by meeting a minimum balance. Instead you are rewarded one Air Mile for every $30 spent on your BMO Debit Card. With the dollar value of one Air Mile equal to $0.121 and a monthly fee of $14.95, you would have to spend approximately $3,700 a month to earn enough Air Miles to cover the monthly fee.
BMO Plus Plan
BMO's Plus account provides you with the ability to add up to 20 accounts for a monthly fee, and 30 free transactions per month. With up to 20 chequing accounts, you can set up individual accounts to budget for personal expenses. You can have an account for clothing, lunch, utilities and more; allowing you to separate and budget all of your needs. The monthly free can be waived if you meet the required minimum balance of $2,500. Additional fees are incurred for non-BMO ATM withdrawals and debit transactions in excess of the allocated 30 per month and Interac e-Transfers.
BMO Practical Plan
BMO's Practical chequing account is for limited banking needs. The low monthly fee can be waived if the required minimum balance is met. With the practical account you get 12 free transactions per month, and can add up to two accounts for a monthly fee. A set fee is charged for any transactions above the monthly allocated amount in addition to fees for non-BMO ATM withdrawals and Interac e-Transfers.
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