Best BMO High Interest Savings Accounts and Alternatives

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

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

BMO offers several savings accounts, including;

  • BMO Smart Saver Account: This account pays a 0.05% interest on your balance and includes one free transfer out per month.
  • BMO Premium Rate Savings Account: You earn up to 0.01%, and can share transaction limits with your chequing plan.
  • BMO Savings Builder Account: This HISA offers a tiered interest rate of up to 0.35% when you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • 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 bonus interest each month they increase their account balance by $200 or more.

You earn:

  • 0.05% base interest rate, plus
  • 0.30% bonus interest when your savings balance increases by at least $200.

The bonus interest is applicable 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.

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

The EQ Bank Savings Plus account offers one of Canada’s best high interest savings rates at 1.25%. 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.

Learn more in this detailed review.

GET A 1.25% RATE WITH EQ BANK

KOHO

KOHO Earn Interest pays a 1.20% interest rate on your balance when you set up direct deposit e.g. your paycheque to the account.

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

  • Access to early payroll: Get $100 of your paycheque 3 days early for free
  • Budgeting app
  • Free Interac e-Transfers and bill payments
  • CDIC protection
  • Automatic savings by rounding up your purchases and saving the difference
  • 0.50% to 2.00% cash back on all purchases when you pay with your KOHO prepaid card
  • $20 welcome bonus after making your first purchase

Learn more in this KOHO review.

GET A 1.20% RATE WITH KOHO

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

 BMO Savings Builder AccountEQ Bank Savings Plus AccountKOHO
Interest rateUp to 0.35%1.25%1.20%
Monthly account fee$0$0$0
Number of free transactions/month1 free transfer outUnlimited free transactionsUnlimited free transactions
Free Interac e-TransfersN/AUnlimited free Interac e-TransfersUnlimited free Interac e-Transfers
Extra fees/transaction$5$0$0
CDIC insuranceYesYesYes
Other featuresN/AAccess to cheap international money transfer; free mobile cheque depositsAccess to a cash back card, early payroll, joint accounts, and credit building
Learn moreRead reviewEarn 1.25% todayEarn 1.20%

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 August 2021, the best interest rate on the BMO Savings Builder account is 0.35%.

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. For high interest savings accounts, the current rates range from 0.05% to 1.25%.

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

Assuming the bank is offering 0.35%, you will get approximately $3.50 after 1 year. At a 1.25% interest rate, you get approximately $12.50 in return after one year.

How about other big banks?

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

Do you bank with the Bank of Montreal? What’s your take on their savings account rates?

Best Banking Offers this month

1.25% interest on every dollar.

Up to 125x interest more than other banks.

Combines savings and chequing account features.

No monthly fees and free unlimited transactions and Interac e-Transfers.

Free reloadable prepaid card and budgeting app.

Up to 2% cash back on all purchases and 10% at brand partners.

1.20% savings interest on your entire account balance.

Get 3-day early access to $100 of your paycheque.

Earn 2% unlimited cash back in three spending categories.

Get a $150 welcome bonus with $1,000 spending in first 2 months.

0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

Low balance transfer rate and insurance coverage benefits.

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, Credit Canada, MSN Money, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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