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BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard Review

Dayana Yochim

Written by Dayana Yochim
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Andrea Coombes

March 12, 2024

Why trust us? has no financial relationship with any of the credit card providers whose products we analyze and review. Our opinions are based solely on data and our own extensive independent research — that means unbiased guidance for consumers. Rewards cards in our cashback credit card calculator are listed in descending order according to how much money they pay out annually based on the inputs.

For couch potatoes (raises hand), the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard's 5% rewards rate on streaming, cable TV and satellite services feels like enough justification to add even more subscription channels to your viewing lineup.

Heads up fellow binge watchers (or "entertainment aficionadas," as we prefer to be called): There are no spending caps on the BMO Harris Bank Mastercard's top bonus category. In addition to the unlimited 5% back on all your streaming costs, cardholders earn 3% on grocery store and gas purchases, but only on the first $2,500 in combined spending in those categories each quarter. (See our favorite cash back cards for gas and groceries if you spend more in those categories.)

The basics: Get 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 combined spend each calendar quarter), and 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases. Get a $200 cash back bonus when you spend $2,000 within three months of opening your account. 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months from date of first transfer when transfers are completed within 90 days from date of account opening.

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BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard

BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard Logo
Cashback Per Year
Annual Fee
Welcome Bonus
Want to compare more cards? Use our full calculator.

BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard pros and cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • 5% unlimited cashback on streaming/cable/satellite services
  • 3% cashback on gas and groceries
  • Welcome bonus and 0% APR on balance transfers available
  • Comes with roadside assistance and cell phone protection coverage
  • No annual fee

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Combined $2,500 quarterly spending cap on gas and grocery 3% cashback category
  • 4% balance-transfer fee is pretty pricey
  • 1% base cashback on all other purchases
  • Charges a 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Residency restrictions for application apply

BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard cashback rewards spending categories

The following table shows the cashback rewards rate per $1 spent in the six most common spending categories. The “Bonus Rate” refers to the amount you can earn in excess of the card’s standard rewards rate.

Some cashback cards limit the spending amount eligible for the bonus rate (aka the “Spend Cap”). Once you hit that cap (e.g., $1,500 spending in a particular category during a defined time period), the rewards rate on future purchases in that category reverts to the lower “Default Rate.”

Category Default Rate Bonus Rate Bonus Spend Cap Bonus Spend Period (Months)
Gas 1.00% 3.00% $2,500 3
Travel 1.00% - - -
Dining 1.00% - - -
Entertainment 1.00% - - -
Pharmacy 1.00% - - -
Groceries 1.00% 3.00% $2,500 3
Other Purchases 1.00% - - -

Note: The 3% cashback rate on gas and grocery purchases applies to the first $2,500 spent per quarter in those categories combined. After you hit the spend cap, all gas and grocery purchases will earn 1% cashback until the next calendar quarter begins and the cap resets. In addition to the rewards rates shown above, the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard also pays an unlimited 5% cashback on eligible streaming, cable TV and satellite services. The full credit card rewards calculator includes "Streaming" under the expanded spend categories.

What we like

5% unlimited cashback rate on streaming, cable TV and satellite services may be lucrative enough for plugged-in types to justify adding this card to your stable.

Major streaming providers eligible for the 5% bonus rewards rate when you pay your one-time or monthly recurring bill with your BMO Harris Bank Mastercard. In the card issuer's own words: "Streaming services are providers of entertainment delivered via the internet to TV’s, computers and mobile devices including but not limited to: Netflix, Paramount+, Hulu, Apple Music, CBS All Access, Disney+, AT&T TV NOW, ESPN+, Pandora, Showtime, Sling TV, Spotify, Starz, SiriusXM, Vudu, YouTube TV and Tidal."

Are you a road worrier? This card will get you a jump-start, tire change, tow services and gas delivery if you’re ever stuck, courtesy of free Master RoadAssist Roadside Service, plus extra coverage for car rentals.

Comes with ID theft monitoring/resolution services and Mastercard Identity Check.

Includes access to Mastercard’s “Priceless Cities” program to help you live out your VIP dreams.

Offers extended warranties — up to an addition 12 months of coverage — on most new purchases, and up to $400 of cell phone coverage automatically at no additional cost.

Keep an eye out for special limited-time-only offers, like getting a 10% rewards booster by depositing rewards earnings into a BMO Harris checking, savings or money market account.

There's a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers that lasts for 12 months. Stifle your excitement until you read about the balance-transfer fee below.

The $200 cash back welcome offer earns the card attractiveness points. But it’s still a pretty high bar, requiring you to spend $2,000 within three months of account opening. That’s $666.66 per month, which isn’t at all an ominous number.

What we don't like

The $2,500 cap on gas/grocery store purchases means the most you’ll earn annually at the 3% rate is $300. Consumers who spend more in those categories would do well to pair the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard with another cash back card that has fewer restrictions on earnings within their other major spending categories.

We warned you. Although the BMO Mastercard offers a 12-month 0% APR on balance transfers, there's a 4% fee on the amount you move onto the card, which is higher than what you can find elsewhere, if this is a priority on your card shopping list.

Residency restrictions apply. This card is available only to residents of the following states: AZ, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, MN, MO, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, and WY.

Redemptions are limited to statement credits you can apply to the account that earned the cash back.

The bottom line

Is the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard the best rewards card for your wallet? The answer depends entirely on your spending patterns. Let the numbers speak for themselves: Use the Cashback Credit Card Calculator to see which credit card pays back the highest rewards based on how much you spend each month.

BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard fine print

BMO Harris Bank’s credit terms and rewards program rules. Contain your excitement, if possible.

Does the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard charge an annual fee?

No, there is no annual fee for the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard.

tips_and_updates Trivia time!

How common are annual fees? Roughly 17% of the consumer cash back cards we review charge an annual fee. They range from $39 to $99, with an average annual fee of $67.

Does the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard offer a welcome bonus?

Yes, the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard has a welcome bonus of $200.

tips_and_updates Fun fact

More than half (55%) of the consumer cash back credit cards we track in the database offer a welcome bonus, ranging from $30 up to $300. The average sign-up bonus for new cardholders is $197, with the median being $200.

How much cashback can I earn with the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard?

The average American that spends $1000 per month will earn $201.36 in cash back per year using the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard. For comparison, the average annual rewards payout from the cashback credit cards in the database is $191.26, and $180 is the median.

These calculations are based on average consumer spending data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the reward payout rates from the providers we track. Of course, you’re so much more than an average data point (aka “consumer unit,” in BLS parlance). The amount you can earn in cashback rewards using the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard depends entirely on your unique spending habits.

Find out exactly how much you’ll rake in with the BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard by tailoring the spending inputs in the calculator above.

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The results of the Credit Card Rewards Calculator are based on the monthly spending amounts you enter and the annual dollar value of the rewards each credit card program pays per $1 spent. Credit card companies often express this payout amount as a percentage (e.g., 1.5% of every dollar spent) or on a points basis (e.g. ,1.5 points for every dollar spent). We converted all of them to a dollar amount (“Cash Back Per Year”) to make comparing offers easier.

To calculate the amount of cash back you could earn per year, we factored in:

  • Spend category inputs: The default dollar values for each “Spend Category” in the Best Cashback Credit Cards tool — gas, groceries, travel, restaurant, entertainment, pharmacy, other — are based on average American spending data from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. We also include additional spend categories (such as streaming services, online shopping, utilities, transit, Amazon and more) to help you see which rewards cards are most closely aligned with your actual spending patterns. We encourage you to customize the monthly spend inputs for the most accurate results.
  • Tiered rewards rates: If a rewards credit card pays higher cashback rates on certain spending categories (also called “Bonus Rewards”), that difference is reflected in the total “Cash Back Per Year” tally.
  • Rewards spending caps: Some cards impose category- or time-based limits (monthly, quarterly, annually) that affect the amount of rewards you can earn. For example, a card may pay 3% cash back on groceries on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter, then revert to the base/default rewards rate until the following quarter. We accounted for bonus spending caps and timeframe in the calculations.
  • Default rewards rates: Purchases that exceed a spending cap are usually subject to a lower default rewards rate (e.g., 1% or 1.5%). We mathed that out too.
  • Annual fees: If a rewards card charges an annual fee, we deducted that amount from the “Cash Back Per Year” total to provide a true accounting of a card’s annual rewards payout.

What’s not included in the “Cash Back Per Year” total is the cash value of any sign-up/introductory bonus. We highlight any Welcome Bonus separately. While sign-up bonuses can be the most lucrative part of getting a new cashback rewards credit card, not everyone will want or be able to do what it takes to earn the extra cash. (It usually requires spending a certain amount in a specified time period after the card is activated.)

About the Editorial Team

Dayana Yochim
Dayana Yochim

Dayana Yochim has been writing (articles, books, podcasts, stirring speeches) about personal finance and investing for more than two decades, focusing on bringing clarity and the occasional comedic aside to what is often a murky, humorless topic. She’s written for NerdWallet, The Motley Fool,, Woman’s Day, Forbes, Newsweek and others, and been a guest expert on "Today," "Good Morning America," CNN, NPR and wherever they’ll hand her a mic.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is Managing Editor for Reink Media Group and the lead editor for content on Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Andrea Coombes
Andrea Coombes

Andrea Coombes has 20+ years of experience helping people reach their financial goals. Her personal finance articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, MarketWatch, Forbes, and other publications, and she's shared her expertise on CBS, NPR, "Marketplace," and more. She's been a financial coach and certified consumer credit counselor, and is working on becoming a Certified Financial Planner. She knows that owning pets isn't necessarily the best financial decision; her dog and two cats would argue this point.