July 18, 2024
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BMO Alto Review: Great Rates with Low Fees

BMO Alto Review: Great Rates with Low Fees

BMO Alto Review

BMO High logo

Product Name: BMO High

Product Description: BMO Alto offers online savings accounts and CDs with competitive interest rates, zero fees, and no minimum balance requirements.

Summary

BMO Alto provides a high-yield savings account and certificates of deposit (CDs). There are no account minimums or service fees that traditional banks may require to earn the best interest rates. It’s possible to earn a competitive interest rate with these online-only banking products.

Pros

  • Earns a competitive interest rate
  • No initial or ongoing deposit requirements
  • FDIC-insured balances
  • No account service fees

Cons

  • Online-only
  • No checking account or IRA CDs
  • No mobile app

BMO Alto is an online-only bank that offers high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs). Unlike many traditional banks, there are no account minimums or service fees, and you can earn a competitive interest rate. Find out how BMO Alto stacks up against other top online banking platforms.

At a Glance

  • Earn an above-average interest rate
  • High-yield savings and CD accounts
  • No fees or minimums
  • Online-only with personalized phone support
  • Individual and joint accounts

Who Should Use BMO Alto

Consider BMO High when you want a competitive yield on a high-yield savings account or CD without account fees or balance requirements. BMO Alto offers FDIC-insured individual and joint accounts with unlimited deposits and transfers.

You must be comfortable with an online-only banking platform, as you cannot access your BMO Alto account from a BMO branch location. However, personalized phone support is available along with a mobile-friendly website.

Get Started With BMO Alto

BMO Alto Alternatives

Table of Contents
  1. At a Glance
  2. Who Should Use BMO Alto
  3. BMO Alto Alternatives
  4. What Is BMO Alto?
  5. High-Yield Savings Accounts
  6. High-Yield Bank CDs
  7. Account Fees
  8. Unlimited Deposits and Withdrawals
  9. BMO Alto vs. Alternatives
    1. Quontic
    2. Barclays Bank
    3. Discover Bank
  10. FAQs
  11. Summary

What Is BMO Alto?

BMO High is the online banking arm of Chicago-based BMO Bank N.A. (FDIC cert# 16571), a subsidiary of the Canadian banking giant Bank of Montreal (BMO). Launching in the spring of 2023, BMO Alto offers individual and joint high-yield savings and CDs to U.S. citizens and resident aliens age 18 or older. The nationwide availability is appealing if you don’t live within BMO’s 24-state brick-and-mortar service area.

BMO Alto accounts are FDIC-insured at $250,000 for individuals and up to $500,000 for joint accounts.

BMO Alto homepageBMO Alto homepage
Screenshot

Unfortunately, BMO Alto doesn’t offer IRA CDs, business banking, or custodial accounts, which tend to be specialty products.

BMO Alto does not offer checking accountsIRA CDs, business banking products, or custodial accounts. The lack of options means it likely won’t serve all your banking needs.

You can fund your BMO Alto account via ACH transfer only, as its platform doesn’t support Zelle or wire transfers. This isn’t the quickest funding method, but you avoid service fees and many online high-yield savings accounts have similar ACH-only deposit policies.

It’s worth pointing out that BMO Alto has a less-than-stellar Trustpilot rating. In fairness, its score of 2.1 out of 5 is only based on 9 reviews and is comparable to several other high-yield online banks. Only a few, such as Raisin and SoFifare significantly better.

Here’s a closer look at BMO Alto’s products.

High-Yield Savings Accounts

The BMO Alto Online Savings Account earns an attractive APY with no minimum initial deposit or ongoing balance requirements. There are no monthly service fees, and your entire balance earns the same interest rate.

Estimating your earning potential with the bank’s savings calculator is easy. You can fine-tune the projections by specifying your starting balance, future contribution amount, and deposit frequency.

BMO Alto Online Savings Account screenshotBMO Alto Online Savings Account screenshot
Screenshot

You have 90 days to fund your brand-new savings account by linking an external account from your BMO Alto dashboard. Alternatively, you can add the BMO banking details to your external account to schedule a transfer.

It’s possible to earn over 5% interest on your entire balance (5.10% APY as of this writing), although it’s a variable rate and subject to change at any time. Although a handful of competing accounts may offer a slightly higher yield, the setup process is easy, and you can consistently earn one of the nation’s best rates.

Get Started With BMO Alto

High-Yield Bank CDs

BMO CDsBMO CDs
Screenshot

BMO Alto Online Certificates of Deposits (CDs) offer high yields without a minimum deposit. As a point of reference, it’s not uncommon for banks to require a $100 to $2,500 opening deposit for CDs.

You can purchase BMO Alto CDs with the following maturities:

CD APYs differ by term, with the best yield currently being the 6-month CD (5.15% APY). Unfortunately, BMO Alto doesn’t offer no-penalty CDs.

To open a CD, new funds must be deposited within 10 business days and remain until maturity to avoid forfeiting interest as an early withdrawal penalty.

Open a BMO Alto CD

Account Fees

BMO Alto does not charge monthly fees, and no minimum balance requirements exist. The zero-fee banking experience is one of the best advantages of using an online bank.

One fee that you could face is a withdrawal penalty for closing a CD term early, but that’s common.

Unlimited Deposits and Withdrawals

BMO Alto doesn’t limit the number of monthly withdrawals from its high-yield savings account. This is a nice feature, as other banks typically restrict withdrawals to six monthly in exchange for a higher interest rate (a holdover from the 6 ACH limit for convenience transfers).

While the savings account isn’t suitable for daily banking or paying the bills, it’s a feature worth noting if you regularly transfer funds in and out of your account.

BMO Alto vs. Alternatives

Quontic

Quontic is an online bank with a checking, savings, money market, and CDs. They also offer a wide array of mortgages.

Their checking account earns a solid interest rate and comes with a ring that allows you to make purchases with a tap. Perfect for when you don’t want to carry your phone or wallet, say when you are going for a run.

Their high-yield savings account has a $100 minimum deposit to open, but there are no monthly fees.

Get Started With Quontic

Barclays Bank

Barclays Bank offers zero-fee online savings accounts and high-interest CDs. There are no minimum opening balances for either product, and the yields may or may not be higher than BMO Alto.

Your deposits are FDIC-insured up to the eligible limits for individual ($250,000) and joint accounts ($500,000). Unlike BMO Alto, which only accepts ACH deposits, you can also deposit checks with your mobile device, giving you another option for easily accessing your money.

Read our Barclays Bank review for more.

Get Started With Barclays

Discover Bank

Discover Bank offers an online savings account without minimum opening deposits or ongoing balance requirements. They also have a no-fee checking account, a cashback debit card, and over 60,000 surcharge-free ATMs.

New members can also be eligible for bonus cash with the latest Discover Bank promotions. One notable downside is the minimum $2,500 deposit for CDs.

Read our Discover Bank review for more.

Get Started With Discover

FAQs

Is BMO Alto worth it?

BMO Alto is a solid choice for no-fee high-yield savings and CDs. You can make unlimited deposits and withdrawals while earning an interest rate higher than traditional savings accounts.

You will still want to compare interest rates to earn the most interest possible. Other online banks may offer higher yields along with more ways to fund your account besides ACH transfers.

Are BMO Alto and BMO Bank the same?

They are the same, except BMO Alto is online only and doesn’t provide local branch access. Another key difference is that Alto savings accounts and CDs can have higher interest rates than traditional products offered by BMO Bank.

Does BMO Alto have any fees?

There are no account service fees or minimum balance requirements, although early CD redemptions may result in forfeiting several months of interest.

Does BMO Alto have an app?

There isn’t a mobile app for BMO Alto although the website is mobile and tablet-friendly.

What are the BMO Alto customer service options?

Phone support is available 24/7, although wait times can be longer during peak business hours. Email support is currently available through the member dashboard.

Summary

BMO Alto will likely appeal most to existing BMO customers looking for a low-cost online savings option. However, even if you don’t already deal with BMO, compare its high-yield savings and term CD rates to similar online banks. If you require other banking products, such as a checking account or credit cards, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Get Started With BMO Alto

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