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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:

  • Premium
  • Performance
  • Plus
  • 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
Monthly fee
$30
$15.95
$10.95
$15.95
$4
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
Senior discount
$4
$4
$4
$4
Free
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.

Premium
Performance
Plus
Air Miles
Practical
Standard monthly fee
$30
$15.95
$10.95
$15.95
$4
Seniors fee
$26
$11.95
$6.95
$11.95
Free
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.

 
BMO
Scotiabank
Tangerine
Chequing Account
BMO Performance Plan
Scotiabank Preferred Package
Tangerine No-Fee chequing
Monthly fee
$15.95
$15.95
$0
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
Not applicable, Tangerine credit cards have no annual fee
Other perks
Identity theft protection
Earn SCENE or Scotia Rewards; Get an additional 0.05% on savings; Cheap international money transfer
First cheque book is free; Access to a high-interest savings account; Earn interest on your chequing account balance
Review
 
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BMO Chequing Account FAQ

Does BMO have a free chequing account?

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.

Does BMO offer free Interac e-Transfers?

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.

What counts as a debit transaction?

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
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Summary

Compare BMO chequing accounts in Canada including the BMO Performance, Premium, Plus and Practical plans. Learn about BMO account fees and alternative chequing options.