BMO Alto is the online-only division of BMO, one of the biggest banks in North America that recently got even bigger when it acquired Bank of the West. BMO Alto hasn’t been around long – it launched in the spring of 2023 – but it currently pays some of the best savings rates available.
While BMO Alto specializes in online services, it falls short of competitors by not offering a mobile banking app. You also don’t get any crossover benefits with BMO’s retail locations, which can only service customers with a BMO bank account. You’ll only be able to get customer assistance online or over the phone.
If you don’t need a brick-and-mortar bank to stash your savings, BMO Alto may be worth considering.
What we like
- High savings rates
- No minimum deposits
- No fees
What we don’t like
- No mobile app
- No ability to access in-person help at BMO locations
- Only offers savings accounts and CDs
Who is BMO Alto best for?
BMO Alto is a good option if you want to get one of the best rates available on savings accounts and certificates of deposit and you simply want to park your money so it can grow. It’s a no-frills savings option, and BMO Alto’s lack of overhead expenses allows it to pay more interest. And since it’s fully online, it’s available to anyone in the US.
Just be aware of this bank’s shortcomings. The best online banks tend to offer more products and services, such as checking accounts, money market accounts and other financial services. BMO Alto’s lack of a mobile app is also a huge gap that places it behind other online banks and credit unions with more robust digital tools.
BMO Alto only offers one type of savings account, so you don’t have much to compare. The good news is that it’s a high-yield savings account with no minimum deposit requirements and no monthly maintenance fees. And unlike some other high-yield savings accounts, you’ll earn a 5.1% annual percentage yield -- one of the most competitive rates around right now -- on your full savings balance.
But you won’t be able to withdraw cash with an ATM card or at a bank branch, like some other online banks. Instead, you’ll need to transfer money to another account with ATM or branch access to get cash. And since there’s no mobile app, there isn’t a mobile deposit feature, either.
*Rates as of October 18, 2023.
BMO Alto’s CD offerings range from 6 months to 5 years. Like most banks and credit unions right now, BMO Alto is paying the best rates for short-term CDs (1 year or less). You don’t have to meet minimum deposit requirements to open a CD.
While the lack of a mobile app at BMO Alto is a downside for savings accounts, CDs are a bit of a different ballgame. Since you’re just parking your money in this account, the lack of a digital tool might not matter much. The bank offers some of the best earning potential available. But you’re limited to high-yield CDs. BMO Alto doesn’t offer flexible CD options such as no-penalty or bump-up CDs.
*Rates as of October 18, 2023.
BMO Alto’s early withdrawal penalties are easy to understand, and they’re comparable to the rest of the banking industry:
|11 months or less
||90 days of interest
|12 months or more
||180 days of interest
No minimum deposit requirement
Some of the highest rates available
Wide range of term lengths
If you’re thinking about opening an account at BMO Alto, it’s important to know what you won’t find with the customer experience: no mobile app, no in-person assistance, no ATM access and no mobile deposit tools.
Additionally, while you won’t be able to access any of the BMO bank locations, FDIC insurance limits apply across both of the divisions. So, for example, if you have cash deposited in a CD at BMO and you also open a CD at BMO Alto, you get only $250,000 of protection. The FDIC doesn’t treat them as separate accounts at separate institutions.
BMO Alto offers 24/7 assistance via its customer service line at 855-266-8100.