This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

High interest savings accounts (HISA) are not a big bank’s most popular product and this is because the rates on offer are rarely “high” nor are they competitive.

It’s no secret that the best high interest savings rates in Canada right now are being offered by virtual banks.

That said, when HISA offerings among the Big Five banks are compared, the BMO Savings Builder Account is not so bad after all.

It is also set up to encourage and reward savers who set money aside on a regular basis.

This BMO Savings Builder review covers its features, benefits, fees, and alternative savings products from online banks.

About Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) is Canada’s oldest bank, having been founded in 1817.

It is one of the largest banks in North America and services more than 12 million customers.

BMO offers a full suite of financial services including personal banking (savings, chequing, mortgages, loans), wealth management, small business and institutional banking.

It is publicly traded on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol ‘BMO’.

bmo savings builder account

BMO Savings Builder Account

The Savings Builder Account is BMO’s high-interest savings account. It offers a 0.05% base interest rate plus a bonus interest rate of 0.45% when you add at least $200 to your savings each month.

Here’s what if offers:

  • $0 monthly account fee
  • 0.05% base interest rate when eligibility requirements are met
  • 1 free transfer out to a personal BMO deposit account
  • Limited to one account per customer

To enjoy the bonus interest rate, you must increase your account balance by $200 or more each month.

The maximum account balance eligible for bonus interest is $250,000. Funds exceeding this threshold only earn the base 0.05% interest rate.

Bill payments, pre-authorized debits, debit card purchases, cheques, and Interac e-Transfers are not permitted on this account.

Compared to the 0.01% to 0.05% currently being offered by some banks, BMO’s best savings account is a fair deal.

That being said, if you are looking for a great rate, you will have to look elsewhere. An offer that exceeds the 1% threshold is from EQ Bank. Its Savings Plus Account is currently offering 1.50% on every dollar in your account!

BMO Savings Accounts

In addition to the BMO Savings Builder Account, the bank has 3 additional savings accounts that are worth checking out.

BMO Smart Saver Account: This account pays 0.05% interest on your balance and includes 1 free transfer out to your other BMO accounts. Debit transactions and Interac e-Transfers are not permitted.

BMO Premium Rate Savings: This account is opened in conjunction with one of BMO’s chequing accounts and offers a 0.01% interest rate. Transaction limit can be shared with the chequing account in your banking plan.

BMO U.S. Dollar Premium Rate savings: Frequent travellers to the United States can use this account to hold U.S. funds.

It pays a 0.05% interest rate and can be paired with a chequing account.

BMO Savings Builder Account
BMO Smart Saver Account
BMO Premium Rate Savings
BMO U.S. Dollar Premium Rate Account
Regular Interest rate
0.05%
0.05%
0.01%
0.05%
Bonus interest rate
0.45%
N/A
N/A
N/A
Savings requirement for bonus rate
Save at least extra $200/month
N/A
N/A
N/A
Number of transactions/month
1 free transfer out to another BMO account; $5 each after
1 free transfer out to another BMO account; $5 each after
Transaction limit based on chequing plan limit
Based on chequing plan limit
Interac e-Transfer
Not permitted
Not permitted
Based on plan limit; $1.25 each after
N/A

BMO Savings Account Fees

While BMO Savings Accounts do not have a monthly fee, transaction fees may apply as follows:

  • Pre-authorized debit: $5 each
  • ATM withdrawal: $5 each
  • In-branch withdrawal: $5 each
  • Telephone banking funds transfer: $5 each
  • Online Bank funds transfer: $5 each
  • Paper statement: $2 per month

BMO high Interest Savings Account Alternatives

For the most competitive savings accounts rates, you should compare BMO’s rates with online banks, credit unions and financial technology companies.

Online banks have a lower overhead and are able to pass on these savings to their customers in the form of higher interest rates.

Some of the best offers available as of this writing include:

EQ Bank Savings Plus: EQ Bank is the online banking arm of Equitable Bank. Its savings account offers a regular 1.50%* rate on your entire balance.

In addition to a great rate, this account also works like a chequing account with unlimited free debits, Interac e-Transfers, and bill payments.

Open an EQ Bank Savings Account

Tangerine Bank Savings Account: Tangerine Bank is the online banking arm of Scotiabank. Its savings account has a 0.15% interest rate and new clients enjoy 2.15% interest rate for the first 5 months. You can easily pair your Tangerine Savings account with a non-fee unlimited transaction chequing account.

Get a Tangerine Savings Account

Wealthsimple Cash: Wealthsimple is Canada’s largest online wealth manager. The Wealthsimple Cash account offers a 0.75% interest rate and free transfers/withdrawals to your linked bank account.

Wealthsimple Cash clients can also access low-cost ETF portfolios, a free brokerage account, and socially-responsible investments.

Open a Wealthsimple Cash Account

We compare these accounts with the BMO Savings Builder below:

BMO Savings Builder Account
EQ Bank Savings Plus Account
Tangerine Savings Account
Wealthsimple Cash
Base Interest rate
0.05%
1.50%*
0.15%
0.75%
Bonus interest rate
0.45%; must add at least $200 per month
N/A
2.15% for first 5 months
N/A
Monthly fee
$0
$0
$0
$0
Number of transactions/month
1 free transfer
Free and unlimited
Free transfers to linked bank account
Free transfers to linked bank account
Number of free Interac e-Transfer
N/A
Free and unlimited
N/A; available with free chequing
N/A; upcoming
Fee per transaction
$5 each
$0
N/A
N/A
Insurance coverage
CDIC
CDIC
CDIC
CIPF
Maximum balance
$250,000 for the bonus interest
$200,000 for personal savings; $500,000 for joint accounts
$1 million for the promo interest rate
N/A
Apply

BMO Savings Builder FAQs

What is the best BMO Savings Account?

This will depend on how you plan to use the account and how often you set money aside. Frequent savers benefit from the bonus interest offered by the BMO Savings Builder.

If you conduct transactions directly from your savings, a Premium Rate Savings account may save you money on transaction fees.

Is the BMO Savings Builder Account eligible for the Family Bundle?

No. The Savings Builder can’t be included in any BMO bank plan, including the Family Bundle.

How do I open a BMO Savings Builder Account?

You can open an account online or book an appointment to chat with an advisor at one of their branch locations.

What’s your take on BMO’s high interest savings account?

BMO Savings Builder Account Review
3.7

Summary

The BMO Savings Builder Account is BMO’s high interest savings account. This review covers its features, benefits, fees, and alternatives in Canada.