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Best BMO High Interest Savings Accounts and Alternatives (2024)

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BMO’s high-interest savings rate is one of the most competitive among Canadian big banks.

That said, you won’t earn much on your deposit, and after accounting for inflation, chances are that you are losing purchasing power over time.

A high interest savings account is very similar to regular savings with the additional benefits of higher rates and a chance to grow your money faster.

This review of BMO’s high-interest savings accounts (HISA) covers their features, savings account rates, fees, and alternatives.

BMO High Interest Savings Account

BMO offers several savings accounts, including;

  • BMO Savings Builder Account: This HISA offers a tiered interest rate of up to 2.50% when you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • BMO Savings Amplifier Account: This account pays a 1.90% interest on your balance.
  • BMO Premium Rate Savings Account: You earn up to 0.01% and can share transaction limits with your chequing plan.
  • BMO U.S. Dollar Premium Rate Savings: This account pays 0.05% interest on your USD savings.

BMO Savings Builder Account

The BMO Savings Builder Account rewards active savers with monthly bonus interest if they increase their account balance by $200 or more.

You earn:

  • 0.50% base interest rate, plus
  • 2.00% bonus interest when your savings balance increases by at least $200.

The bonus interest applies to balances of up to $250,000.

The Savings Builder account has no monthly fees; however, you pay a $5 fee for each withdrawal or transfer out.

One free transfer out per month is included in the plan, but it does not support bill payments or Interac e-Transfers.

Bank of Montreal Overview

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) was founded over 200 years ago in 1817. It is one of the top-5 banks in Canada based on assets and market capitalization.

BMO has more than 12 million customers and 40,000 employees.

Its stock trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BMO.”

BMO High Interest Savings Account Alternatives

For savings rates better than what the BMO Savings Builder account offers, you can consider the following options.

EQ Bank Savings Plus

EQ Bank Personal Account

EQ Bank tfsa.

Up to 4.00%* interest rate

Unlimited debits and bill payments

Unlimited Interac e-Transfers

No monthly account fees

The EQ Bank Personal Account offers one of Canada’s best high-interest savings rates. This hybrid account has both chequing and savings account features, including:

  • Free mobile cheque deposits
  • Free unlimited bill payments and electronic fund transfers
  • Free unlimited Interac e-Transfers
  • Eligibility for Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) protection up to $100,000 per insured category

Interest earned is calculated daily on your closing balance, and it is paid out monthly.

EQ Bank’s savings plus account has no monthly fees and no minimum balance requirement.

Neo Financial

Neo Savings Account

neo logo

4.00% non-promo interest rate

No monthly fees

Unlimited free transactions

Access to a no-annual-fee credit card

Neo Financial pays a 4.00% interest rate on your balance.

In addition to this high-interest savings rate, Neo users also enjoy access to the following perks:

  • Budgeting app
  • Free Interac e-Transfers and bill payments via a free Neo Money account
  • CDIC protection
  • Automatic savings
  • Up to 5% cash back on purchases when you pay with your Neo Money card

Best High Interest Savings Accounts in Canada (BMO vs. EQ Bank vs. Neo)

 BMO Savings Builder AccountEQ Bank Personal AccountNeo Financial
Interest rateUp to 2.50%Up to 4.00%4.00%
Monthly account fee$0$0$0
Number of free transactions/month1 free transfer outUnlimited free transactionsUnlimited free transactions via Neo Money
Free Interac e-TransfersN/AUnlimited free Interac e-TransfersUnlimited free Interac e-Transfers via Neo Money
Extra fees/transaction$5$0$0
CDIC insuranceYesYesYes
Other featuresN/AAccess to cheap international money transfer; free mobile cheque deposits; free ATM withdrawalsAccess to a cash back card
Learn moreRead reviewVisit EQ BankVisit Neo

Pros and Cons of a BMO High Interest Savings Account

The benefits and downsides of a BMO high interest savings account include the following:

Pros:

  1. Higher interest rates: You earn higher interest rates than a regular BMO savings account.
  2. Security: Your deposits are insured by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) up to $100,000. BMO is also one of the largest and oldest banks in North America.
  3. Flexibility: Savings accounts are designed to be easily accessible, allowing you to deposit and withdraw funds at any time.
  4. Automated savings: You can set up automatic transfers from your chequing account to your savings account, making it easier to save money regularly.

Cons:

  1. Limited transactions: Savings accounts may come with transaction limits, meaning you may be charged fees for exceeding a certain number of withdrawals or transferring funds to another bank.
  2. Lower interest rates: While BMO HISAs offer higher interest rates than their regular savings accounts, the interest rates may be lower than other online banks.
  3. Fees: Fees may apply to pre-authorized debits, cash withdrawals, and transfers made in the branch or through telephone support.
  4. Inflation risk: While your money earns interest in a savings account, the inflation rate may outpace your interest earnings, meaning your purchasing power could decrease over time.

How To Open a BMO Savings Account

If you’re interested in opening a BMO savings account, you have a few options. One way is to visit a BMO branch in-person, where you can speak to a customer service representative who will guide you through the account opening process. Alternatively, you can apply online through BMO’s website or call their customer service line to open an account over the phone.

Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll need to provide some personal identification, such as a driver’s license or passport. You may also need to provide additional documentation, such as your SIN and proof of address, if your government-issued ID does not have this information.

What is a High Interest Savings Account?

A high interest savings account in Canada is an excellent way to grow your deposits in a low-risk account. Also known as HISAs, these accounts, offered by banks, credit unions, and online-only banks, offer a higher interest rate than a standard savings account, allowing your money to earn more over time.

The interest rate on a high interest savings account varies depending on the financial institution, account features, and current market conditions. And they are insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) up to $100,000 per depositor per institution.

High interest savings accounts are also designed to be easily accessible. You can usually deposit and withdraw money from these accounts at any time without penalty, which makes them a great option for Canadians who want to keep their savings liquid and readily available.

It’s important to note that some high interest savings accounts may come with fees or restrictions, such as minimum balance requirements, transaction limits, or a fee when used for pre-authorized transactions or ATM deposits.

Savings Account vs Chequing Account

A savings account is designed to help you save money over time. These accounts typically offer a higher interest rate than chequing accounts, allowing you to earn interest on the money you deposit. While savings accounts are generally accessible, some have restrictions, such as transaction limits or minimum balance requirements.

On the other hand, a chequing account is designed for everyday transactions such as paying bills, making purchases, and withdrawing cash at ATMs. These accounts usually offer zero or very low interest rates, but they are more flexible and can be used for a wider range of transactions. Chequing accounts may also come with additional features such as overdraft protection and debit card access.

It’s also important to compare the fees and charges associated with each type of account. Canadian banks generally charge monthly maintenance fees for chequing accounts, although, they may waive this fee under certain conditions, such as a minimum balance.

That said, you can open no-fee chequing accounts with unlimited transactions at online banks like Simplii Financial.

BMO HISA FAQs

Does BMO offer a high-interest savings account?

BMO’s best savings account rate is offered by its Savings Builder account for active savers.

What is the interest rate on BMO’s high-interest savings account?

As of January 2024, the best interest rate on the BMO Savings Builder account is up to 2.50%.

Which Canadian bank has the best savings rate?

The rates on savings accounts change all the time, and a bank offering the best rate today may not be as competitive tomorrow. The best savings rates are usually from online banks and may exceed 3%.

How much interest will a savings account pay on $1,000?

Assuming the bank is offering 0.50%, you will get approximately $5.00 after one year. At a 1.50% interest rate, you get approximately $15.00 in return after one year.

How about other big banks?

I have reviewed the high-interest savings accounts for other big banks below:

Top Banking Offers for April

Stop paying monthly fees with a free chequing account + $400 bonus

Get $400 cash bonus when you direct deposit $100 for three months.

Unlimited debits, online bill payments and Interac e-Transfer transactions.

No monthly account or transaction fees.

Get a high interest rate on your savings (6.00% interest rate offer).

Get the TOP spending and savings account with 5% rewards and $20 bonus

Instant approval and a $20 welcome bonus when you make your first purchase.

Earn up to 5% unlimited cashback on purchases while paying no fees!

Earn 3.00% to 5.00% interest on your entire account balance.

Free debits, e-Transfers, bill payments, budgeting app, and access to credit building.

Earn a regular 4.00% interest on your savings account

Earn a non-promotional 4.00% high interest rate on every dollar.

Free access to a hybrid account with unlimited transactions & e-transfers.

Access to a prepaid card that pays an average cashback of 5% on purchases.

No monthly or annual account fees; free budgeting app.

Author

Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu, personal finance expert, author, and founder of Savvy New Canadians, has written about money matters for over 10 years. Enoch has an MSc (Econ) degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School and has completed the Canadian Securities Course. His expertise has been highlighted in major publications like Forbes, Globe and Mail, Business Insider, CBC News, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CTV News, TD Direct Investing, Canadian Securities Exchange, and many others. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and recently created a practical investing course for beginners. You can read his full author bio.

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