All of BMO’s cards offers an 0% introductory APR for the first six months, starting on the date you open your account. BMO’s cards have an ongoing APR range of 12.24% to 22.24%, which falls in the average range for most credit cards offered by competitors. An APR comparison also showed that many companies do not offer 0% for every one of their cards—typically intro APRs are offered for certain cards. Where BMO falls short is in the introductory time frame. Most of the companies reviewed showed an average APR of 15 months (or 15 billing cycles respectively).
Annual fee range
When it comes to annual fees, BMO Harris Bank has a category of cards dedicated to no annual fees. ALL of their cards have zero annual fees—with the exception of their Premium Rewards MasterCard®, which carries an annual fee of $79 after the first year. It is rare for a company to offer no annual fees for almost all of their credit cards—particularly rewards cards, which typically have an annual fee. However, two of BMO’s rewards cards have no annual fees.
Any questions or concerns about BMO Harris Bank cards can be answered by their automated phone service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 24-7 service is the norm for credit card companies, although we found a few with limited phone support hours. They also offer a toll-free phone number for their cards with chip technology- and for cards without chip technology.
Foreign Transaction Fees
Customers using their BMO Harris credit card outside of the U.S. will pay a 3% Foreign Transaction fee in U.S. dollars for each purchase. This percentage is the same as almost every credit card company in the industry. Even better, BMO’s Premium Rewards MasterCard® has no foreign transaction fee.
BMO Harris Bank offers customers the following credit cards:
- BMO Harris Bank Platinum Rewards MasterCard®
- BMO Harris Bank Premium Rewards MasterCard®
- BMO Harris Bank Cash Back MasterCard®
- BMO Harris Bank Platinum MasterCard®
Options for Rewards
When it comes to rewards, BMO offers customers a BMO Harris RewardsSM
program. Here are the features we thought were worthwhile:
- BMO Harris Bank Premium Rewards MasterCard® offers new cardholders 15,000 bonus points when you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months of account opening and 3 points per $1 spent on dining, hotel and airfare card purchases, and up to $2,500 in combined money spent for each calendar quarter—and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- BMO Harris Bank Cash Back MasterCard® offers 2% cash back per $1 spent on gas and grocery purchases, up to $2,500 in combined spend each calendar quarter; 1% cash back on all other purchases and $100 cash back bonus when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
BMO Harris Bank offers both technical and customer-based technology to protect their credit cards from fraud or identity theft. The totality and combination of the following benefits makes BMO at the top of the food chain when it comes to credit card protection:
- Chip Technology-cards are embedded into BMO’s cards for increased identity protection with every purchase at chip-enabled terminals. The chips are encoded with specific information to the cardholder that is difficult to steal externally.
- Travel Accident Insurance: Covers you and your family against accidental death or dismemberment if you purchase common carrier travel tickets with your eligible MasterCard card (up to $1M benefit).
- Lost or Damaged Luggage Insurance: reimburses you for the actual cost of repairing or replacing your checked or carry-on luggage if it is lost or damaged while traveling on a common airline when you pay the entire cost of the tickets with your BMO card.
- World Travel Services/MasterCard Travel Services™: is a suite of benefits, amenities and upgrades, preferential treatment and premium travel offers from best-in-class travel companies. These services include complimentary travel planning and access to a professional travel advisor that will help you plan your trip 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Identity Theft Resolution Services: provides you with access to a number of services including, credit bureau notification and card replacement assistance, ID theft education and the opportunity to enroll in Identify Theft Alerts.
- MasterCard® ID Theft Alerts™: CSID’s proprietary Internet surveillance technology that proactively detects the illegal trading and selling of personally identifiable information (PII) online. System alerts you if it detects that your personal credit card information, Social Security Number, driver’s license number or other sensitive data is being bought or sold online.
- MasterCard Zero Liability: means that you are not on the hook for unauthorized purchases made using your BMO Harris card.
- Extended Warranty: when purchasing an item using your BMO card, you can double the original warranty for up to 24 months on most new items purchased in the United States.
- Price Protection: covers most purchases made entirely with your MasterCard card for 120 days from the date of purchase for the difference between the price paid for the item and the lower advertised price.
- Purchase Assurance: provides coverage for most items you purchase with your eligible MasterCard card if the item is damaged or stolen within 90 days of the date of purchase.
- Master Roadassist® Roadside Service: connects you with emergency roadside assistance such as jump-starts, tire change, towing and gas delivery if you get stuck on the road for pre-negotiated service fees, which are billed to your BMO card.
- MasterRental®: pays for covered damages (physical damage and theft) to a rental vehicle when your eligible MasterCard card is used to initiate and pay for the entire rental transaction and you decline optional collision/damage waiver offered by the rental company.
These security features are not the exact same for every card. Some companies have the same features for every one of their cards, while major companies, (i.e. Chase Bank Credit Cards) is a “mix and match” set of features similar to the above mentioned features.
We found that what sets BMO Harris Bank apart from other companies (in relation to credit cards) is anniversary points. Their BMO Harris Bank Premium Rewards MasterCard® gives cardholders a 15% anniversary bonus points every year on the date that they opened the account. This is an uncommon feature for other credit card companies to offer. We found that Chase also offers it for at least one of their cards, but not very many other companies do.
Also worthy of mentioning is BMO’s rewards page for their rewards program members to redeem points earned. BMO Harris RewardsSM members can find items they want to purchase with their points for:
Travel Awards—points that can be redeemed for travel on multiple airlines for any travel class and with no blackout dates
Merchandise—points that can be redeemed to purchase thousands of brand name merchandise items on their rewards page
Gift Cards—points that can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards or eCertificates from brand recognizable stores and restaurants.
Statement Credit—you can redeem your points or get cash back for a statement credit to be applied to your BMO Harris Rewards credit card.
We found their rewards members page is less common when looking at the overall credit card companies currently in the market, making BMO unique in this regard.
Late payments with BMO Harris can add up to as much as $37 for customers. This is a high cap for late fees, considering there are lower late fees charged by some competitors. PNC credit cards go up to as much as $35 while City National Bank’s credit cards only cost customers up to $15. Although late fees as high as $37 is average for major credit card conglomerates, we still cannot excuse such a high rate, especially considering that the Credit Card Act of 2010 specifically dictates that $25 should be the cap to avoid customers paying more in late fees than their minimum payment costs.
Building Credit/Student Cards
Those needing to build credit either because they’re a college student or they have poor credit, BMO Harris is not a viable option. The company does not offer student cards, secured cards or “starter” cards. This pales in comparison to the many companies who were found to offer these types of cards.