How to Close a BMO Bank Account (2022): 3 Simple Steps

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 three steps on how to close a BMO bank account and sign up for another bank:

  1. Shop around for a new bank.
  2. Update your banking information, including direct deposits and automatic payments.
  3. Transfer the money.

1.  Shop Around for a New Bank

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.

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 the Money

Once you complete the above steps, it’s time to make the transfer. You’ll need to visit a local branch to close the account. Make sure and transfer all your money before closing the account. Another good idea is to try and do it on the first of the month, so you don’t have to worry about interest accruing.

3.  Transfer the Money

What Are the Fees to Close a BMO Account?

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.

BMO Fraud Complaints

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.

BMO Fraud Complaints

Final Thoughts

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.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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