Switching banks doesn’t have to be a hassle. It’s probably more common than you think. Over the last five years, four million Canadians left one bank for a competitor.
But while it’s typical, I’ve discovered having a plan in place before making a move simplifies things and makes everything smoother.
That’s why I’ve come up with these steps below on how to close a BMO bank account and sign up for another bank.
How to Close a BMO account
The actual closing of a BMO bank account is quite easy. There are a few ways you can do it:
- The most direct method is to visit a BMO branch in person.
- Alternatively, you can call BMO’s customer service line at 1-800-363-9992.
- When you speak with a BMO representative, tell them that you want to close your account, and they’ll guide you through the process
However, before you close your account, make sure you have the following completed.
How to Prepare for Account Closure
Before closing your current BMO account, do your research to find out what’s out there. Many online banks offer no-fee accounts or promotional offers you can’t find elsewhere.
However, before you move to an online bank, consider your needs. Do you require in-person customer service? Do you regularly stop in at your local branch? If that’s the case, switching all your money to a bank that doesn’t have brick-and-mortar offices won’t work.
I suggest making a list of what you’re looking for and what is most important. Are you concerned about transaction and monthly fees, or are you looking for a higher interest rate? Determine the features you need and choose a bank based on that list.
My only other caution is that you set up a new account before closing your current one. That way, you won’t see any interruption in service.
Related Reading: Best No-Fee Bank Accounts in Canada
2. Update Your Banking Information
Before closing your BMO account, change your direct deposits or preauthorized debits to avoid missing regularly scheduled payments or incoming paychecks. If you don’t, you could find yourself on the receiving end of non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees when the payments bounce.
In addition to monthly bills, scan your bank statement for other less frequent payments like insurance and tax payments, as well as any retirement or investment accounts.
Do not close your account before your automatic payments or paper cheques have cleared. Keep track of those outstanding amounts and leave the appropriate balance in place to cover them.
3. Transfer Your Money
If you have a positive balance, transfer the money from your BMO account to the new account you’ve opened up. I would do this using online banking, but you can do it through an in-person branch as well.
How much you pay in closing fees depends on how long you’ve held the account and where you’re transferring your existing money.
Accounts closed after 90 days of opening are free. If it’s within 90 days, there’s a $20 fee. If you plan on transferring your balance to another financial institution, you’ll get hit with an additional $20 fee.
Dormant accounts also create charges. Two years of inactivity generates a $20 fee. Five years is $30, and ten years is $40.
Many BMO account holders are thinking twice about having their accounts with the financial institution since fraud complaints arose during this past year.
The CBC reports that two customers are out thousands of dollars after money was transferred from their account using their own login information. It’s a breach the customers struggle to prove since it was their own login info and IP address used during the transfer.
Still, the customers say BMO could’ve done more to alert them of such activity, and they want their money bank. BMO did perform an investigation, but because the correct password and security question was identified during the transfer, the bank doesn’t see a breach on their end.
Instead, they strongly suggest keeping passwords confidential and notifying them of any breach or suspicious activity right away.
If you’re finding your BMO account isn’t fitting your needs, it’s time to shop around and close it. There are so many options for chequing and savings accounts these days, that you don’t need to stick with one that doesn’t work with your lifestyle.
But don’t just withdraw all your money and close the account. Instead, follow the steps above to limit interruptions to your banking needs. If you aren’t sure which bank to switch to, check out my top picks for the best no-fee bank accounts in Canada.