BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard Review
Why trust us? Investor.com 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.
If it weren’t for the $200 sign-up bonus offer, we probably wouldn’t have even slowed down for a closer look.
This cashback card from BMO Harris Bank is … fine. The 3% gas/groceries rewards rate is on par with other no-annual-fee cards. Sadly, the $2,500 quarterly spending cap is not. (TLDR: We like cards that offer unlimited cashback better.) The 5% cashback on eligible streaming, cable TV and satellite services is supposed to catch your eye, but, honestly, the roadside assistance perk is the reason we tapped the brakes to check it out. (We drive a beater and our AAA membership is lapsed.)
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.
BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard
BMO Harris Bank Cash Back Mastercard pros and cons
- 5% cashback on streaming/cable/satellite services
- 3% cashback on the essential Gs — gas and groceries
- $200 sign-up bonus
- Comes with roadside assistance
- No annual fee
- 12 month 0% introductory APR on balance transfers
- $2,500 quarterly spending cap on gas and grocery 3% cashback category
- 4% balance-transfer fee is pretty pricey
- The 1% base cashback rate seems stingy
- Charges a 3% foreign transaction fee
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 (a.k.a. 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)|
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. See the BMO Harris Bank Rewards Rules for details.
What we like
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.
For plugged-in types, the 5% unlimited cashback rate on streaming, cable TV and satellite services is a nice touch.
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.
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.
What we don't like
The $2,500 cap on bonus cashback categories means the most you’ll earn annually at the 3% rate is $300.
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: IL, WI, IN, AZ, MO, MN, KS, FL, CA, CO, DE, GA, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OH, OR, TX, UT and WA.
Redemptions are limited to statement credits you can apply to the account that earned the cash back.
At best, this is a companion card to others in your wallet that offer a better payoff on other purchases.
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 investor.com 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.
Roughly 14% of the consumer cashback cards we track in our database charge an annual fee. The average annual fee is $72.60, while the median is $95.
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.
Of the more than 60 cashback credit cards in our database, 66% offer a welcome bonus. Currently, the average sign-up bonus on a new cashback card is $210.71, 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 investor.com 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.
The results of the investor.com 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.)
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