BMO Business Checking Review 2024: Pros, Cons, & Pricing

BMO Business Checking Review 2024: Pros, Cons, & Pricing

A good business checking account is essential for business owners. Depending on your needs, BMO, formerly known as BMO Harris, might have the right account for you. Although BMO doesn’t offer free business checking unless you run a non-profit, it provides a variety of accounts tailored to businesses at every stage.

With hundreds of branches in eight states, an extensive ATM network, and online banking, BMO is accessible to business owners everywhere. BMO is ideal for businesses that want to grow with one institution and take advantage of the bank’s range of accounts, from basic to premium. 

However, it may not suit business owners looking to minimize fees or needing unlimited deposits and transactions. This BMO review focuses on its business checking products.

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BMO Business Bank Overview

BMO Bank operates over 1,000 branches and, as part of the Allpoint network, offers fee-free access to more than 40,000 ATMs. BMO branches are located in 32 states. With over $265 billion in assets, BMO Bank was ranked No. 13 in the country as of December 31, 2023. 

The bank offers a variety of financial services, including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit, credit cards, health savings accounts, mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, business banking, insurance, financial planning, and wealth management.

Headquartered in Chicago and founded in 1882 as Harris Bank, BMO Bank’s parent company is the Bank of Montreal. The Bank of Montreal and Harris Bank merged in 1984. In 2023, BMO acquired Bank of the West, doubling its footprint in the United States.

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Pros & Cons of BMO 


  • Only $100 average collected balance required to waive the $10 basic account monthly fee
  • 100 fee-free transactions for the basic account
  • Online account opening available for select business entity types
  • More than 500 branches across BMO’s eight-state service area
  • Free checking account option for nonprofit organizations
  • Fees temporarily waived after account opening


  • Only 0.01% APY for interest-earning accounts
  • $3 per out-of-network ATM transaction, plus third-party operator fees
  • $30 fee for outgoing domestic wire transfers; $50 for outgoing international wire transfers
  • Just $2,000 per month in fee-free cash deposits
  • Monthly maintenance fees on all accounts unless minimum balance requirements are met
  • Several types of one-time banking fees


  • Free debit Mastercard
  • Digital banking
  • Unlimited incoming wire transfers (BMO Digital Business Checking and BMO Elite Business Checking)
  • Unlimited ACH credits (BMO Digital Business Checking)
  • BMO Elite Business Checking relationship packages
  • Specialty business checking accounts
  • Business savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Robust lending options, such as Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, lines of credit, equipment leasing, real estate lending, and specialty financing
  • Discounted payroll services through Business Online Payroll® and Paychex

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Account Basics

BMO offers four business checking accounts: Digital Business Checking, Simple Business Checking, Premium Business Checking, and Elite Business Checking. These accounts provide various features at different price points to suit business owners’ needs. All accounts require a $100 minimum opening deposit.

BMO Digital Business Checking Account

The BMO Digital Business Checking account is ideal for business owners who prefer online banking and digital payments. It offers unlimited free ACH transactions and incoming wires but only $1,000 in free cash deposits per month. This account is not suitable for businesses handling a lot of cash payments.

The monthly maintenance fee for this account is $10, which can be waived by maintaining an average collected balance of $500 or more each statement period.

BMO Simple Business Checking Account

The BMO Simple Business Checking account is designed for small business owners seeking low-fee, basic checking without sacrificing essential features. It includes 100 free transactions per month, making it better suited for businesses with a lower volume of monthly transactions.

This account allows up to $2,000 in free cash deposits each month and has a $10 monthly fee, which can be avoided by maintaining an average collected balance of $100 or more.

BMO Premium Business Checking Account

The BMO Premium Business Checking account is tailored for moderately-sized businesses that do not require a large volume of transactions or plan to maintain high checking balances. It allows for 200 fee-free transactions and up to $5,000 in free cash deposits each month.

This account has a $15 monthly maintenance fee, which can be waived by maintaining an average collected balance of $1,500 or more.

BMO Elite Business Checking Account

The BMO Elite Business Checking account is the top-tier option in BMO’s suite. It offers higher limits on free transactions and cash deposits, with up to 500 free transactions and $20,000 in free cash deposits each month. This account earns interest, though the rate is not disclosed online and must be obtained by calling or visiting a branch. Interest compounds daily and is credited monthly.

This account has a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which can be waived by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Maintaining an average collected balance of $10,000 or more
  • Maintaining a monthly combined balance of $25,000 or more

Like the Digital Business Checking account, Elite Business Checking includes free domestic and foreign incoming wires. Customers also gain access to Relationship Packages, which offer additional benefits such as rebates and higher interest rates based on account balance.

Other BMO Business Checking Accounts

In addition to BMO’s four primary business checking accounts, the bank offers two more tailored options: one for large businesses and another for non-profits.

  • BMO Business Checking Analyzed Account: Ideal for businesses with large balances and high transaction volumes. This account offers earnings credits based on the balance to offset fees that would otherwise apply due to a variety of activity charges.
  • BMO Non-Profit Small Business Checking Account: A free account for non-profit organizations, which includes up to 200 free transactions per month and $5,000 in free cash deposits.

When BMO Is a Good Fit

  • Your business has a low transaction volume: Small businesses with a low transaction volume can benefit from BMO’s Simple Business Checking, which offers up to 100 free transactions and $2,000 in cash deposits per month.
  • You can maintain an average collected balance of $1,500 or less: BMO accounts have relatively low average collected balance requirements to waive monthly maintenance fees. The required average balance is $100 for BMO Simple Business Checking, $500 for BMO Digital Business Checking, and $1,500 for BMO Premium Business Checking.
  • You receive wire transfers frequently: BMO offers free incoming wire transfers with its Digital Business Checking and Elite Business Checking accounts, leading to potential savings.
  • You make ACH transactions regularly: The Digital Business Checking account provides unlimited fee-free ACH transactions.

How BMO Business Checking Works

Headquartered in Chicago, BMO operates more than 500 branches across eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida, and Wisconsin, while serving businesses in all 50 states via online banking.

You can open a BMO business checking account over the phone or in person (if you’re near a branch). The bank offers four main account options: Digital Business Checking, Simple Business Checking, Premium Business Checking, and Elite Business Checking. Additionally, there’s a Non-Profit Small Business Checking account, which is a variation of Premium Business Checking without a monthly fee.

To open an account, you’ll need to provide:

  • Two forms of identification
  • A tax identification number (an EIN for businesses and nonprofits or a Social Security number for individuals)
  • A physical address and date of birth for all owners, key executives, and partners

Depending on your business type, additional documents may be required, such as articles of incorporation or partnership agreements. Non-profit organizations need to provide a letter of authorization that notes who is authorized on the account. BMO may also obtain a certificate of good standing for non-profit corporations.

All BMO business checking accounts come with free online and mobile banking. Customers can use the bank’s app or online banking portal to pay bills and transfer money between accounts. Mobile check deposit is also available via the BMO mobile app and counts toward your account’s transaction limit.

BMO Bank Alternatives


Small business owners deserve a checking account that enhances their daily operations. Bluevine Business Checking accounts could be the ideal solution for some. While no fees and unlimited transactions are standard for online business checking accounts, Bluevine stands out with one of the highest interest rates available: 2.00% on account balances up to $250,000.

It’s important to note that Bluevine is a financial technology company, not a bank. Its banking services are provided by Coastal Community Bank, which is insured by the FDIC and participates in the Insured Cash Sweep program via the IntraFi network.

>> Get Started With Bluevine >>


Lili is a financial technology company offering business checking accounts tailored for digitally savvy business owners who rarely use checks. Lili partners with Choice Financial Group for its banking services, insuring deposits up to $250,000 via the FDIC.

Initially designed for freelancers in 2018, Lili has since expanded its online business checking accounts to include most business entity types. The company has also increased deposit and transfer limits to accommodate larger businesses.

>> Get Started With Lili >>


With few fees, interest-bearing accounts, and an expansive ATM network, Axos Bank is an excellent choice for those who prefer digital banking. Axos offers a wider range of accounts than many online banks, helping you save on fees. While it may not offer the highest savings rates, its checking account yields and rewards are hard to beat.

The Axos Bank Rewards Checking account has no monthly maintenance fee and includes unlimited domestic ATM fee reimbursements. Additionally, it features a maximum APY that surpasses many savings account rates. The amount you earn depends on how you use the account and any other Axos Bank accounts you hold.

>> Get Started With Axos Bank >>

Frequently asked questions

Yes, BMO is insured by the FDIC (FDIC #16571). FDIC insurance protects your money up to $250,000 per depositor, per ownership category, in case of bank failure.

BMO branches are primarily located in the Midwest, with some branches in other areas of the country. You can find BMO branches in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The bank’s ATM network is extensive, offering fee-free withdrawals at more than 40,000 ATMs across the U.S.

In addition to personal information and identification, you’ll need business documentation, including business formation documents. The specific materials required depend on your business entity type. Use BMO’s checklist to ensure you have all the necessary information before starting an application.

Bottom Line

BMO combines the accessibility of in-person banking with the convenience of digital banking. It distinguishes itself from competitors with multiple business checking options, a welcome bonus, free incoming wire transfers, and easy-to-waive monthly maintenance fees.

Microbusinesses can start with basic checking accounts and transition to the high-tier BMO Elite Business Checking account as they grow to maximize the benefits of relationship banking. However, if you seek a higher free cash deposit limit, unlimited transactions aside from ACH, and a substantial APY, consider the alternatives mentioned above.


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Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.