Banking » Compare Banks » Wells Fargo vs. BMO Bank: Which Bank Account Is Better?
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Wells Fargo vs. BMO Bank: Which Bank Account Is Better?

BMO has great options for checking accounts, and outshines Wells Fargo with higher savings rates. But is it our winner? See our comparison
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Baruch Mann (Silvermann)
Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

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Wells Fargo and BMO Bank offer a variety of financial products and services. This article will look at and compare their offerings, such as savings accounts, checking accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), credit cards, and lending products, in straightforward terms.

Wells Fargo vs. BMO Checking Accounts

There is no clear winner when it comes to checking accounts. While Wells Fargo offers more options for premium users, BMO monthly fees are lower than Wells Fargo's, and customers can waive them with a lower average day balance.

Wells Fargo has different personal checking accounts for people. There's Clear Access Banking with lower fees, Everyday Checking, which is the standard choice, and Prime Checking and Premier Checking for those who want extra features.

Although there are monthly fees, customers can avoid them in different ways:

Wells Fargo Checking Account
Monthly Fee
Average Balance To Waive Fees
Clear Access Banking
$5
Only if you're under 24
Everyday Checking
$10
$500
Prime Checking
$25
$20,000 (Combined with deposits)
Premier Checking
$35
$250,000 (Combined with deposits)
Wells Fargo Checking Menu
(Screenshot from Wells Fargo app)

BMO offers checking accounts like the BMO Smart Advantage Checking and BMO Smart Money Checking account. These accounts provide features such as paying bills, transferring money, and access to a vast network of ATMs.

BMO Bank Account
Monthly Fee
Average Day Balance To Waive
BMO Smart Advantage Checking
$0
$0
BMO Smart Money Checking
$5
You're under age 25
BMO Relationship Checking
$25
$10,000

Wells Fargo's simple account comes with great perks to make banking better. Get your money before the usual payday with Early Pay Day. Manage your money online with easy online and mobile banking.

If you want more from your bank, Wells Fargo's premium accounts have cool features. Earn interest on your balance with interest-bearing accounts. Enjoy extras like free checks, no fees for using non-Wells Fargo ATMs, priority customer service, and waived fees for money orders, cashier checks, and international debit card purchases.

Wells Fargo Account
Main Features
Clear Access Banking
No overdraft fees, Early Pay Day
Everyday Checking
Overdraft Services, check writing, Early Pay Day
Prime Checking
Interest-bearing, free check orders, free Non-Wells Fargo ATM withdrawals
Premier Checking
priority customer service, No fees on money orders/cashier checks/International debit card purchase

Wells Fargo customers can send money with Zelle easily on the app:

Wells Fargo use Zelle
(Screenshot from Wells Fargo app)

BMO accounts have some cool perks for customers. You can use your phone to easily deposit checks with mobile check deposit, and BMO Total Look makes managing your accounts super simple by keeping everything in one place.

There are different debit card options, like the BMO Debit Mastercard® for easy access to your checking, savings, or money market accounts. You can even choose sports-themed cards for special team benefits. Plus, with Zelle®, you can send, request, and receive money without any fees.

If you go for BMO's Relationship checking, you get interest, unlimited free non-BMO ATM transactions in the U.S., and they'll even reimburse you for ATM surcharge fees.

BMO Bank Account
Main Features
BMO Smart Advantage Checking
40,000+ fee-free ATMs, digital banking, personalized support
BMO Smart Money Checking
No overdraft fees, 40,000+ fee-free ATMs, digital banking
BMO Relationship Checking
Unlimited transactions at Non-BMO ATMs, interest on balance

Savings Accounts

There is no clear winner when it comes to savings. While Wells Fargo offers better savings account rates, BMO Bank offers a money market account with better rates. On both banks you'll need a significant amount to get the highest rates.

Wells Fargo has two main savings account options – Way2Save Savings and Platinum Savings, and a kids' savings account. Although Way2Save Savings has a low APY, the Platinum Savings plan offers a higher rate. However, to access the highest rate, you'll need more than $1 million in your account.

WF Open savings account
Open Wells Fargo Way2Save savings account (Screenshot from Wells Fargo app)

On the other hand, BMO's primary savings account is called Savings Builder. It has no monthly charges, and you can make a free transfer to another BMO account. Additionally, you get a $5 reward each month you save $200 or more for the first year.

BMO also provides a money market account with higher rates, though you'll need a quarterly combined balance of at least $250,000 to get the best rates.

BMO Savings Builder
BMO Money Market
Wells Fargo Platinum Savings
Savings Rate
0.01%
1.00% – 3.56%
0.26% – 2.50%
Minimum Deposit
$25
$25
$25
Fees
$0
$10 Can be waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $5,000
$5 can be waived by maintaining a $300 minimum daily balance, one qualified automatic transfer, one or more Save as You Go transfers from your Wells Fargo checking account. Primary account owners age 24 or younger are exempt from the fees

Certificate Of Deposits (CDs)

When it comes to CDs, BMO Bank is our winner. 

BMO has really good rates, often better than what Wells Fargo offers, and they give you more choices for how long you want to save. The downside is that their special CDs don't have a short-term option – the shortest one you can get is 13 months.

CD Term
APY
Early Withdrawal Penalty
7 Months
4.75% – 5.01%
3 months interest
11 Months
4.50% – 4.76%
3 months interest
3 Months
2.50% – 2.51%
1 month interest
6 Months
2.50% – 2.51%
3 months interest
12 Months
1.50% – 2.01%
6 months interest
CD Term
APY
Minimum Deposit
13 Months
4.90%
$5,000
25 Months
4.40%
$5,000
35 Months
4.30%
$5,000
45 Months
4.30%
$5,000
59 Months
4.30%
$5,000

Credit Cards

Wells Fargo wins when it comes to credit cards. It has a more diverse portfolio of credit cards and better redemption options than BMO Bank.

Wells Fargo has a variety of credit cards to fit different needs. If you like getting cash back, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa Card is a great option. It gives you unlimited cash back on your purchases and a bonus in cash rewards. If you're into everyday spending and travel, the Wells Fargo Autograph Card is designed with you in mind. And if you need a card with a 0% introductory APR, the Reflect card is the one for you.

On top of that, there's the Choice Privileges Mastercard from Wells Fargo. With this card, you can earn points for staying at specific Choice Hotels. Plus, you get points for buying gas, groceries, home improvement items, and phone plans using this card.

Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee

Wells Fargo active cash card

Wells Fargo Active Cash Card
2% 2% cash rewards on purchases (unlimited)
$200 $200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $500 in purchases in the first 3 months
$0

Wells Fargo Autograph

Wells Fargo Autograph Card
1X – 3X 3X points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Also, earn 1X points on other purchases
20,000 Points 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months
$0

Wells Fargo ReflectSM Card (1)

Wells Fargo Reflect Card
N/A
0% Intro APR: 21 months on purchases and balance transfers
$0

Bilt Mastercard

Wells Fargo Bilt Mastercard
1x – 3x 3X points on dining, 2X points on travel and 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fees and other purchases
N/A
$0

Choice Privileges® Mastercard®

Wells Fargo Choice Privileges Mastercard
1x – 5x 5X points on stays at participating Choice Hotels plus on choice privileges point purchases properties, 3X points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services and 1X points on other purchases
40,000 points 40,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first 3 months7 – enough to redeem for up to 5 reward nights at select Choice Hotels® properties
$0

Choice Privileges® Select Mastercard

Wells Fargo Choice Privileges Select Mastercard
1x – 10x 10X points on stays at participating Choice Hotels® properties plus on Choice Privileges point purchases, 5X points on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores and phone plan services and 1X points on other purchases
N/A
$95

BMO Bank also offers a selection of credit cards, with options that cater to various needs, but with fewer options compared to Wells Fargo.

Also, the redemption options of BMO are limited compared to the rich options you get with the Wells Fargo Rewards program.

Card
Rewards
Bonus
Annual Fee

BMO Cash Back Credit Card

BMO Cash Back Credit Card
1-5% 5% cash back on eligible streaming, cable TV and satellite services,3% cash back on eligible gas and grocery purchases (up to $2,500 in gas and grocery purchases each calendar quarter), 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
$200 $200 cash back bonus when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of opening your account
$0

BMO Platinum Credit Card

BMO Platinum Credit Card
None
15 months on balance transfers
$0

BMO Platinum Rewards Credit Card

BMO Platinum Rewards Credit Card
1X – 2X 2 points per $1 spent on eligible gas and groceries, up to $2,500 in combined spend each calendar quarter and 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
25,000 points 25,000 bonus points when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of opening your account
$0

BMO Premium Rewards Credit Card

BMO Premium Rewards Credit Card
1X – 3X 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining, hotels, and airfare, up to $2,500 in combined spend each calendar quarter and 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases
35,000 points 35,000 bonus points when you spend $5,000 within 3 months of opening your account
$79 (first year waived)

Mortgage And Loans

When it comes to lending products, BMO Bank is our winner due to larger options for borrowers than Wells Fargo.

BMO's lending solutions offers a variety of options for borrowers, including home loans, auto loans, personal loans, home equity loans and even student loan (not available through Wells Fargo), including refinancing. That makes them a preferred choice for borrowers.

On the other hand, Wells Fargo has similar loan options, including mortgages, mortgage refinancing, and home equity loans. They also offer personal loans for consolidating debt, auto loans, and auto refinancing.

Get A Loan On Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo Loans example (Screenshot from Wells Fargo app)

Which Bank Is Our Winner?

There is no clear cut which bank is better, but if we have to choose one – BMO is our top pick.

BMO has great options for checking accounts, and when it comes to saving money with products like money market and CDs, BMO outshines Wells Fargo with higher rates. BMO also has more lending options choices for every purpose.

On the flip side, Wells Fargo has a lot more credit card options, especially for big spenders who want premium choices.

Lastly, don't forget to consider different factors that matter to you, like banking services, help with overdrafts, how often you use ATMs, and how close the bank is to where you live. Everyone's needs are different, so weigh the factors that matter most to you.

Understanding Our Banking Comparison Methodology

In our thorough banking comparison, The Smart Investor team carefully reviewed and compared banks across five key categories:

  1. Checking Accounts (30%): We examined features like direct deposit, debit card availability, monthly fees, ATM and branch access, check deposit, bill pay options, and account alerts. We also considered any special offers available to customers.

  2. Savings Accounts and CDs (20%): Our focus was on important factors such as the Annual Percentage Yield (APY), minimum deposit requirements, account flexibility, FDIC insurance coverage, special savings offers, variety of CDs, automatic renewal options, and early withdrawal penalties.

  3. Credit Cards (15%): We analyzed rewards programs, annual fees, introductory bonuses, travel benefits, APR, and balance transfer options offered by each bank's credit cards to provide a comprehensive comparison of available features.

  4. Lending Options (15%): We assessed the variety of loan options provided, including personal loans, student loans, mortgages, secured loans, HELOCs, and Home Equity Loans, offering insights into the banks' lending capabilities.

  5. Customer Experience and Bank Reputation (20%): Our evaluation included an analysis of online banking and mobile app usability and ratings, accessibility of customer support, online reviews, JD Power research, Trustpilot ratings, and overall financial stability, providing a holistic view of customer experience and reputation.

Compare Wells Fargo With Other Banks

Capital One began as a credit card company, but has expanded its line of banking products to rival a traditional bank. Aside from checking and savings accounts, you can also get loan refinancing, auto finance, and children's accounts.

Wells Fargo offers an even broader range of products. There are several checking accounts available, as well as two savings accounts and investment options such as IRAs and 401ks. You can also get loans and mortgages, as well as wealth management services. Wells Fargo is thus a highly comparable alternative to the traditional high street bank.

Read Full Comparison: Capital One vs Wells Fargo: Which Bank Wins?

Wells Fargo offers a diverse range of products, including checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, mortgages, and investments such as 401ks, IRAs, and wealth management options.

US Bank offers an even more impressive range of banking services. Savings and checking account options, investments, personal loans, mortgage products, and wealth management are all available.

Read Full Comparison: Wells Fargo vs US Bank: Which Bank Account Is Better?

Both Ally and Wells Fargo have a fairly impressive banking product lineup that would make switching from a traditional high street bank simple.

Ally offers CDs, auto loans, mortgages, investments, and retirement products in addition to checking and savings. The only glaring omission in the lineup is the absence of a credit card.

Wells Fargo's product lineup is even more impressive. Checking and savings accounts, mortgages, loans, and a variety of investment options such as IRAs, 401ks, and wealth management services are all available.

Read Full Comparison: Ally vs Wells Fargo: Which Bank Account Is Better For You?

Both banks offer a good selection of banking products, making it easier to switch from your current bank.

Citi offers CDs, personal loans, mortgages, IRAs, investment options, wealth management plans, and a variety of credit card options in addition to checking and savings accounts.

Wells Fargo provides savings and checking accounts, but it also provides mortgages, loans, and investment options such as IRAs, 401ks, and wealth management products.

Read Full Comparison: Citi vs Wells Fargo: Which Bank Account Is Better?

The Wells Fargo service is even more extensive. Checking accounts, various savings accounts, mortgages, loans, and investment options such as IRAs, 401ks, and wealth management solutions are all available.

PNC offers checking and savings accounts, home loans, mortgages, investments, student loan refinancing, and a variety of credit cards.

Read full comparison: Wells Fargo vs PNC: Which Bank Account Wins?

Chase and Wells Fargo appear to offer very similar products at first glance, so we need to dig a little deeper. There is little to distinguish the savings accounts, and both banks provide a variety of checking accounts.

While Chase's account maintenance fee is slightly higher, it does have some more interesting features. Chase also has an advantage in terms of CDs, but Wells Fargo is a better option for loans and mortgages.

Read Full Comparison: Chase vs Wells Fargo: Where to Save Your Money?

Wells Fargo offers a diverse range of banking services. Checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, mortgages, wealth management solutions, and investment options such as 401ks and IRAs are all available. Flagstar also offers a diverse product portfolio that includes a variety of checking and savings accounts, investments, home loans, and loans and investments.

It is important to note, however, that Flagstar does not operate in all states. This bank only operates in Michigan, California, Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, where it has 150 branches. As a result, if you live outside of these areas, you may be unable to use Flagstar's banking services.

Read Full Comparison: Wells Fargo vs Flagstar: Which Bank Is Better For You?

Wells Fargo's product offering is even more extensive. This bank offers checking accounts, a variety of savings accounts, mortgages, loans, and investment options such as IRAs, 401ks, and wealth management services. This makes switching from another bank even easier because you'll have access to all of your favorite banking products.

Bank of America offers a diverse range of banking services. Checking and savings accounts, auto loans, home loans, credit cards, and investment options are all available.

Read Full Comparison: Bank of America vs Wells Fargo: Which Bank Is Better?

There is no clear winner when comparing Wells Fargo and TD bank, but if we have to pick, TD comes out ahead. Here's why.

TD Bank vs. Wells Fargo: Which Bank Account Is Better?

Wells Fargo offers better savings rates than Truist Bank, more selection for checking accounts and better credit cards. Here's our comparison: Truist Bank vs. Wells Fargo Bank

While Wells Fargo Bank and Citizens Bank offer a range of banking services, Wells Fargo is our winner in this competition. Here's why.

Wells Fargo Bank vs. Citizens Bank : Which Bank Account Is Better?

Fifth Bank may be better than Wells Fargo when it comes to checking accounts, but is it enough? See our complete comparison, and our winner: Wells Fargo Bank vs. Fifth Third Bank

Let's compare savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, credit cards, and lending products offered by Wells Fargo and M&T Bank.

Wells Fargo Bank vs. M&T Bank: Which Bank Account Is Better?

We'll explore Wells Fargo and Regions Bank savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, credit cards, and lending products. Here's our winner: Wells Fargo vs. Regions Bank

There is no clear winner between SoFi and Wells Fargo as each bank excels in different areas – but Wells Fargo is our winner. Here's why.

Wells Fargo vs. SoFi: Which Bank Account Is Better?

Compare BMO Versus Other Banks

We'll explore Chase and BMO Bank savings accounts, checking accounts, CDs, credit cards, and lending products. Here's our winner: Chase vs. BMO Bank

BMO is the winner when it comes to savings products, while Bank Of America offers many more credit card options. Here's our winner: Bank of America vs. BMO Bank

Both U.S. Bank and BMO Bank are active in various states, such as Illinois, Wisconsin, Montana, and Minnesota. Here's our winner: U.S. Bank vs. BMO Bank

While the differences are insignificant, our winner is PNC Bank, which has better options than BMO Bank. Here's our complete comparison: PNC Bank vs. BMO Bank

Picture of Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Mann (Silvermann)

Baruch Silvermann is a financial expert, experienced analyst, and founder of The Smart Investor.  Silvermann has contributed to Yahoo Finance and cited as an authoritative source in financial outlets like Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC Select, CNET, Bankrate, Fox Business, The Street, and more.
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