Choosing a bank to place your trust in is an important financial decision that can follow you for the rest of your life. With the Big 5 Canadian banks dominating the financial landscape, it is natural for them to be a top choice for Canadians. But which big bank in Canada is the right one for you?
In this ultimate showdown article, we will compare and contrast the Bank of Montreal and Toronto Dominion Bank. This article will discuss their various accounts for personal banking, credit cards, online brokerages, and best offers for newcomers to Canada. If you are considering switching to either BMO or TD, this article will help you decide which Big 5 Canadian bank is the one for you.
The Bank of Montreal, or BMO, is the oldest financial institution in Canada having been established in 1817. As of July 2023, it is the third-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and among the top-ten largest banks in North America. BMO currently serves over 12 million customers worldwide and domestically has over 800 BMO branches for Canadian clients.
The Toronto Dominion Bank, or TD, is the second-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization after RBC. In 2019, TD reached the status of a globally systematically important bank by the Financial Stability Board. TD as we know it now was established in 1955 but its predecessors, the Bank of Toronto and the Dominion Bank were founded in the mid-19th century. In Canada, TD has over 11 million clients that are served at over 1,150 branches across the country.
BMO vs TD: Chequing Accounts
BMO Chequing Accounts
For BMO customers, there are plenty of options when it comes to day-to-day banking with a chequing account. BMO offers five different chequing accounts which all come with unlimited Interac eTransfers, free credit score scans, BMO Insights, and the potential to earn up to 4.00% interest on your cash balance.
The BMO Practical Chequing Account is a no-frills way to hold your money. It offers just 12 transactions per month and a monthly fee of $4.00. For rewards collectors, BMO offers an Airmiles Chequing Account to earn Airmiles on BMO Debit Card purchases. But for a majority of Canadians, they will likely be choosing between the Performance, Premium, and Plus accounts. Here is a side-by-side comparison of these accounts:
|BMO Plus Chequing Account||BMO Performance Chequing Account||BMO Premium Chequing Account|
|Monthly Fees||$11.95 per month||$16.95 per month||$30.00 per month|
|Minimum Balance for $0 Monthly Fees||$3,000||$4,000||$6,000|
|Other Perks||25 transactions per month with unlimited Interac eTransfers||Unlimited transactions||Unlimited transactions|
|Non-BMO ATM Withdrawals cost $2.00 in Canada and $5.00 outside of Canada||1 Non-BMO ATM Withdrawal in Canada per month. After that, it is $2.00 in Canada and $5.00 outside of Canada||Unlimited Worldwide with no BMO fees|
|$5.00 per Global Money Transfer||$5.00 per Global Money Transfer||Free Global Money Transfer|
|$5.00 per month overdraft protection||$5.00 per month overdraft protection||No Monthly Fee|
|Canadian and US Dollar Savings at no cost||Canadian and US Dollar Savings at no cost||Canadian and US Dollar Savings at no cost|
TD Chequing Accounts
Like BMO, TD also offers five different chequing accounts to Canadians. The Student Chequing Account is for those who are aged 23 or younger and enrolled in an educational institute. It offers unlimited free transactions and no monthly fees. The TD Minimum Chequing Account offers 12 transactions per month and a low monthly fee of just $3.95.
TD also offers the TD Everyday Chequing Account. This account offers 25 transactions per month, free Interac eTransfers, and a monthly fee of $10.95. A vast majority of Canadians will likely be choosing between the TD-All Inclusive Banking Plan and the TD Unlimited Chequing Account.
|TD Unlimited Chequing Account||TD-All Inclusive Banking Plan|
|Minimum Balance for $0 Monthly Fees||$4,000||$5,000|
|Other Perks||Unlimited Transactions||Unlimited Transactions|
|No fee for using Non-TD ATMs in Canada||No fee for using Non-TD ATMs anywhere in the world|
|Unlimited Free Interac eTransfers||Unlimited Free Interac eTransfers|
|TD Mobile Deposits||TD Mobile Deposits|
|TD MySpend to track monthly spending habits||TD MySpend to track monthly spending habits|
The Winner: TD
Overall, the comparison of BMO and TD chequing accounts is pretty similar. TD wins extra points for having a chequing account that helps youths and students. On top of that, the monthly fees for TD chequing accounts are slightly lower.
Before we compare BMO and TD Savings Accounts, it is important to know that both of these banks are CDIC protected. This means that in the unlikely event that either BMO or TD goes bankrupt, your deposits of up to $100,000 will be insured and completely safe.
BMO vs TD Savings Accounts
BMO Savings Accounts
Canadians have a choice between four different BMO savings accounts. A majority of BMO clients will be choosing between the Savings Amplifier Account, the Savings Builder Account, and the Premium Rate Savings Account. There is also a BMO US Dollar Premium Rate Savings Account which pays a 0.05% interest rate on your US dollars.
The BMO Savings Amplifier Account provides unlimited free transactions and up to a 1.8% interest rate. This account has no monthly fee or minimum balance required. With the BMO Savings Builder Account, adding $200 to your account each month can boost your interest rate from 0.50% to up to 2.50%. Finally, the Premium Rate Savings Account offers a minimal 0.01% interest rate but can be combined with a BMO chequing account to share transaction limits and fees.
TD Savings Accounts
TD offers three different types of savings accounts although there isn’t much differentiation between them. All three come with no monthly fees and the ability to earn interest on every dollar deposited. The TD Every Day Savings Account comes with just 1 free transaction but unlimited transactions to other TD accounts. For any dollar amount, you earn 0.010% in this account.
The TD ePremium Savings Account provides unlimited free TD transactions, no free external transactions, and 1.7% interest for balances over $10,000. Finally, the TD High-Interest Savings Account focuses on higher interest rates for a lower account balance. On anything over $5,000, you can earn 0.05% interest. You earn no interest for balances below $5,000.
The Winner: BMO
TD takes a simplistic approach to savings accounts and BMO offers more optionality. Choose the side that works for you but with higher potential interest rates, BMO wins this Canadian savings account comparison.
BMO vs TD: Credit Cards
BMO Credit Cards
BMO offers a selection of 13 credit cards for Canadian consumers, all of which are from Visa or Mastercard. The bank offers both BMO Rewards points and Airmiles for Canadians who wish to collect rewards from their spending.
Of note, BMO also offers two student credit cards and a US Dollar Mastercard with lower cross-border exchange rates for travellers. BMO also offers the BMO PaySmart program which is its version of Buy Now Pay Later. This allows consumers to pay off larger purchases over 3, 6, or 12 months with interest-free payments.
TD Credit Cards
TD has 14 different credit cards for Canadians and many of them come with a focus on travel rewards. Whether you collect TD Rewards Points or Aeroplan miles, 8 of TD’s 14 cards are associated with one of these programs. TD also offers four different business credit cards and only two personal cards with no annual fees.
The Winner: BMO
This comparison of BMO and TD credit cards does not show much of a difference. Both banks provide ample opportunities to earn rewards and cash back on purchases. BMO has the edge with its Buy Now Pay Later service BMO PaySmart which provides added flexibility for consumers.
BMO vs TD: Online Brokerages
InvestorLine is BMO’s online investing brokerage for Canadians. It offers self-directed accounts and professionally managed portfolios via its robo-advisor service. Commission fees are fixed at $9.95 per transaction with no discount for active traders, students, or seniors.
Canadians who want to invest but do not have the time to track the markets can use BMO’s SmartFoloio robo-advisor. Advisory fees are just 0.4% to 0.7% with full access to assets like stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and GICs.
Finally, BMO is one of the only big bank brokerages to offer free ETF trades for over 80 different Canadian ETFs. Without paying commission fees, this makes building a passive and diversified portfolio an affordable task for any Canadian investor. BMO InvestorLine is also available on mobile devices for both Android and iOS.
TD Direct Investing
TD Direct Investing offers simple commission pricing with a variety of different features based on your training experience. Regular commission trades are $9.99 each with active traders getting a slight discount of $7.00 per trade. TD customers also get access to a number of different trading tools and educational applications including the options data provider Thinkorswim.
Like BMO, TD Direct Investing also offers a robo-advisor service which is called TD Automated Investing. For a fee of just 0.30%, you can have a professionally managed portfolio that will automatically invest your money for you. To start with TD Automated Investing you will need an initial account balance of at least $5,000. TD customers can use the Direct Investing app on their mobile devices or through the TD Direct Investing desktop site.
The Winner: TD Direct Investing
TD’s inclusion of an active trader designation and the additional trading tools such as Thinkorswim puts it above BMO in this online brokerage comparison.
BMO vs TD: Best Offers for Newcomers
BMO Offer for Newcomers
BMO’s NewStart Program is the perfect way for newcomers to Canada to start their financial journey. It offers incredible savings with unlimited free BMO Global Money Transfers for their first year in Canada. This account also includes access to a safety deposit box for any important documents. BMO even offers a cash-back credit card to newcomers who have no credit history in Canada. BMO NewStart is one of the best ways for newcomers to start off on the right financial foot.
Then free with a $4,000 balance.
Get up to $450
TD Offer for Newcomers
For newcomers to Canada considering TD as their bank, they can qualify for the TD New to Canada Banking Package. Like BMO’s NewStart, customers get unlimited international transfers with the TD Global Transfer service. They also get a higher interest rate, no monthly fees for banking, and can qualify for a TD Aeroplan credit card.
The Winner: BMO
BMO offers a better overall package when we compared the best accounts for newcomers to Canada. It offers special bonuses for banking and credit cards and even lets you integrate the BMO Family Bundle plan.
BMO vs TD: The Results
|Best Offer to Newcomers||BMO|
The BMO vs TD Ultimate Showdown was one of our closest ones yet. BMO ekes out a narrow 3-2 victory over TD with a strong showing in the personal banking space. BMO has superior savings accounts as well as banking options for newcomers to Canada. TD has a better online brokerage experience and impressed us with its variety of chequing accounts.
The difference between the two banks is subtle, but overall BMO came out on top. Of course, you could be seeking out investing in an online brokerage and banking, in which case TD would suit you just fine. Either way, both BMO and TD are great Canadian banks that excel in different areas. Consider your own financial goals before choosing which bank is the right one for you.
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