The trend of using prepaid cards is on the rise as they come with some great benefits and are quite easy to acquire. More and more people in Canada are now choosing to opt for prepaid cards with BMO Prepaid Mastercard being a top choice among the top prepaid cards in Canada. In this BMO Prepaid Mastercard review, we’ll have a look at this BMO card including its pros and cons to gauge if it is worth a try.

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What is the BMO Prepaid Mastercard?

Offered by The Bank of Montreal (BMO), the BMO Prepaid Mastercard, sometimes referred to as a BMO Travel Prepaid Mastercard, is one of the most well-known prepaid cards in Canada. Only five banks presently offer a prepaid Mastercard in Canada, which makes this BMO card a great option to have. It’s backed by the country’s fourth-largest bank and is considered a very safe option.

What is the Bank of Montreal

The Bank of Montreal has a very rich history. It was founded in 1817 and has been going strong since then with its head office located in Montreal. The bank, however, opened its operational headquarters in Toronto in 1977.

The bank is globally recognized and made it to the Forbes Global 2000 List, ranking at number 131. It is looked at as a reputable bank as it hasn’t missed a dividend payment in nearly two centuries, since 1829. This makes it a good option for people who are looking to get a prepaid card.

Owned by The BMO Financial Group, the bank provides a variety of services including debit and credit cards, trusts, insurance, securities, deposits, investments, and loans. It is a member of a variety of national and international organisations including the Canadian Bankers Association, Interac, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC), Air Miles, Cirrus for Mastercard card users, ATM Industry Association, Mastercard International, and Diners Club North America.

This is very important because these memberships make the BMO Prepaid Mastercard more reliable. Thanks to such partnerships, users can enjoy greater benefits and usage. We’ll look at this and several other aspects of owning a BMO prepaid card in 2022.

BMO Prepaid Mastercard costs, penalties, and fees

The BMO prepaid card is among the most affordable prepaid cards in Canada but it’s not entirely free to own. You will have to pay a variety of fees to ensure your card continues to operate smoothly. Here’s a breakdown of costs, penalties, and fees:

  • Annual fee: $6.95
  • Dishonoured payment: $40.00
  • Copy retrieval request: $5.00
  • Foreign currency conversion: 2.5%
  • Cheque: $10.00
  • Direct or electronic deposit: $3.00
  • Bill payments, cash advances, and cash-like transactions: $5.00
  • Inactivity fee: $5.00 per month 

These charges are revised every now and then. Have a look at the official site for the latest figures or get in touch with customer service agents to ensure you don’t end up paying more than expected. Also, you might be able to avoid some of these costs by being smart, i.e.: don’t let your card go inactive.

Furthermore, you may even find some prepaid cards in Canada that are more affordable to own. These are also backed by reputable companies. Make sure to compare different options to find the best fit and don’t just look at annual charges but other costs as well.

How does the BMO Prepaid Mastercard work?

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard works like any other debit or your choice of credit card with one simple difference; it comes preloaded with a specific amount of money. Consider it a gift card that you can use and reload again and again. It doesn’t work differently from other cards and a prepaid card looks exactly like a traditional card.

It will have your name, the date of issue, the date of expiry, bank name, and a CSV code. It works like traditional cards whether you’re at a physical store, bank machine, or online store. Simply swipe it or enter the required details to use the card. 

Every time you use this card, the amount will get deducted from your balance until you reach $0, after which you will have to deposit more money to be able to continue using your card. That’s why it is sometimes called a reloadable card. You will also not be able to withdraw more money than what your card contains as there is no overdraft option with prepaid cards.

BMO Prepaid Mastercard features

The BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard comes with several features. Being linked to a major bank has its benefits! We have covered some here to help you understand what this card is capable of:

Global acceptance

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard is internationally accepted and will work at any location that accepts a Mastercard including physical and online stores. With this Mastercard, you will be able to shop at more than 30 million locations in Canada and abroad. It works just like a regular credit card and has no additional limitations.

Mobile app

The Bank of Montreal has a mobile app that can be used to manage your BMO Prepaid Mastercard. The app works on both Android and iOS devices and is very easy to use. It takes very little space and is easy to use. With this app, you will be able to keep an eye on your card including transactions.

It comes with BMO’s 100% Electronic Banking Guarantee and is safe to use. The app covers all BMO services and can even be used to pay bills, book appointments, and find nearby bank machines and branches. It can prove to be highly beneficial for users who want to manage everything online.

Quick approval process

There are no extended times when it comes to approval. BMO is known to approve applications in only 5-7 business days. The card will be mailed to you. However, there may be some delays if there are issues with your application so make sure to double check all the information that you submit and add all the required documents.

Extended protection

All BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard holders enjoy extended protection. It comes with Zero Liability insurance that protects card owners against any financial loss due to fraudulent card use. In addition to this, there’s also Mastercard Identity Check protection to safeguard users when they shop online.

Interest rate

You will not have to deal with interest rates as the BMO Prepaid Mastercard doesn’t lend on credit. Since there is no borrowing involved, there’s no interest rate to worry about. You will be able to use this card without having to keep an eye on the money owed. You will only use the money that you have deposited into your card.

Free credit score

This is one of the main features of the BMO Prepaid Mastercard. Once you sign up for a card, you will be able to keep an eye on your credit score through the app. This is a free feature designed to help BMO users understand their financial health and ensure their credit score doesn’t go below a certain point. 

This feature can be of great help since finding your credit score can be quite tricky and involves several steps. As a BMO member, all you’ll have to do is login to your mobile app and go to the Credit Score section. The score updates once a month, however, there’s no update on how often you check your score. Doing so will not even impact your score.

Financial insights

In addition to credit scores, BMO also offers valuable financial insights to BMO Prepaid Mastercard holders. You’ll be able to see your spending habits including where you’re spending most of your money. This information can help card holders make the right call.

The system even sends tips on what you can do to improve your spending habits or what has to be done to boost your credit score. These insights are correct and highly valuable, especially for people struggling to stick to their budgets. They’re updated instantly and can be a great way to create a more reliable budget.

BMO alerts

These alerts are sent instantly and are meant to help you confirm that transactions performed using your card are really authorized. You can receive email, text, or app notifications and choose to customize notifications according to your requirements. Moreover, there are also add-ons in the form of CREDIT ALERT and InfoProtector 360.

How can I get a BMO Prepaid Mastercard?

It is very easy to sign up for a BMO Prepaid Mastercard. The first thing is to ensure you qualify for a BMO Prepaid Mastercard in Canada and meet the eligibility requirements: 

  • You must have a Canadian passport or residence card to apply. The card is only for Canadian citizens.
  • You must be of legal age to apply for a card. This changes from province to province.
  • You must have a permanent address in Canada. It must be a residential address and not a commercial address. 

In some cases, you may be able to apply for a card even without a permanent address. In such cases, you will have to visit your nearest branch as applications without a permanent address cannot be filed online. You may be asked to submit certain documents when you visit a branch to get a new BMO Prepaid card.

Fortunately, there are no credit score requirements. Also, you are not required to have or show a source of income to apply for a prepaid Mastercard from BMO in Canada. You can apply for a card even if your credit score is 300, which is the lowest possible score in the country. However, you cannot apply for a card if you have declared bankruptcy in the preceding seven years. You will have to wait for at least seven years to pass since you declared bankruptcy to be eligible for this card.

Assuming you’re eligible, you can go ahead and apply for a card. The process is very easy and only takes a few minutes. You will be asked to provide personal details including your full name, date of birth, and address. Next, you’ll have to provide your financial details. Copies of your identification documents will also have to be submitted.

Acceptable documents include driver’s licences, passports, and resident cards. Moreover, you will also have to submit proof of address such as a utility bill. All documents must be valid and not expired. Also, proof of address must not be older than 90 days.

If everything’s right, the bank will send your card to your mailing address within 5-8 working days. In case there are some issues, you may be asked to submit additional documents that may delay the process. Those without a permanent address will have to visit the branch to receive their card.

Once received, simply follow the instructions that come with the card to activate it. You will have to call the number given on the back of your card and provide the required information to be able to use it. The process will only take a few minutes. Once activated, you will be able to use your card for as long as it has enough balance.

BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard: pros and cons

BMO Prepaid Mastercards come with several pros and cons. Just like any ordinary credit card, you have to weigh the benefits with the risks. We’ll discuss both here so you can understand why it may be a suitable option for you.

Pros:

The biggest benefit of this card is the ease it offers. Anyone can apply for a BMO Prepaid Mastercard as it has no credit score requirements. Most users will receive approval within a day and a card will be mailed within a week.

It’s also very safe to use thanks to insurance protection. The company protects card holders against unauthorized transactions and goes the extra mile to protect against fraudulent use. Plus, with this card, you will be able to shop at both physical and online stores as it’s accepted internationally at more than 30 million stores and over 10 million automated teller machines (ATM).

Cons:

Since the funds in your BMO prepaid account aren’t CDIC guaranteed, it cannot be used to support pre-authorized recurring payments. For the same reason, this card cannot be used to apply for loans or rent a car. Also, the money you deposit in your account will not earn you any interest and the card offers no cashback or rewards program.

The maximum balance is only $10,000, which can be a problem for users who like to spend lavishly. You may have to keep loading your card, again and again, to ensure it meets your requirements. This can be an issue for some users.

How to add money to the BMO Prepaid Mastercard

It is important to not let your card have little to no balance as it is only as good as the amount it carries. The bank gives several options to deposit money into a card. The easiest method is to use your BMO chequing account

BMO allows users to directly transfer money from their BMO account to their prepaid card. You can do this online through the website, through the app, by visiting a branch, or a nearby ATM. The amount will appear on your card within 24-48 hours. The maximum amount for this method is $10,000 and the minimum is only $100.

Another option is to use the bill payment feature. You can register your BMO Prepaid Mastercard as a bill to be paid via mobile banking, telephone, ATM, online or a physical branch. Supported banks include BMO, Scotiabank, BC Royal Bank, CIBC, PC Financial, HSBC, Laurentian Bank, Alberta Treasury Board, and TelPay. The maximum amount for using this method is $1,000. It can, however, take about 2-5 days for the money to appear in your account.

The bank currently does not support cash transfers. You must have a bank account with BMO or any other financial organization to be able to deposit money into your account. Do not go for this option if you have no bank account at a supported bank.

BMO Prepaid Mastercard expiry

BMO prepaid cards expire after three years of issuance. You will not get a new card automatically. You will have to request for a renewal before your card expires.

If your card has already expired then you will have to apply for a new card by getting in touch with the bank. Any balance remaining on your card when it expires will be refunded to you. You can choose to get the amount transferred to your new card or have BMO use TransUnion Credit Bureaus or Equifax to clear your dues.

The BMO Prepaid Mastercard is among the best prepaid cards in Canada. It is easy to apply for and can be used to shop at any store that supports Mastercard. It works like any other card and can help manage your finances. However, it will not improve your credit score or be helpful in applying for a loan. 

The BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard frequently asked questions

Still have questions about the BMO Prepaid Mastercard? We’ve got you covered. Checked below for some of the most commonly asked questions:

What is a prepaid card?

It’s a card that can be used to pay for things and services online or offline; however, it comes with a specific amount of money that it carries and you cannot go above that amount. Once the balance goes zero or under your required amount, you will have to deposit money into the card to be able to continue to use it.

Why are the benefits of owning a prepaid card?

A prepaid card offers a variety of benefits including ease and fewer worries. Anyone can apply for a prepaid card without worrying about credit scores. These cards offer financial security as there is no risk of spending more than what you can afford to spend. Also, it protects your money as even if the card gets stolen, you will only lose the money that’s stored on it and nothing more. Moreover, some cards even come with protection to protect against unauthorized use.

Is the BMO Prepaid Travel Mastercard only for travellers?

No, the BMO Travel Prepaid Mastercard is also known as the BMO Prepaid Mastercard. It is not only for travellers and can be used by locals as well. It’s considered a good fit for travellers since it supports international stores and ATMs. However, like most providers, BMO charges a 2.5 percent conversion fee. Using Hardbacon’s Currency Conversion Calculator, you can see how much your dollar is worth in an alternate currency. 

What happens if I lose my card?

Don’t wait and quickly get your card locked by getting in touch with BMO. You can call 1-800-361-3661 if you are within Canada and the US or 1-514-877-0330 if you are outside North America. The bank will block your card and issue you a new card after verifying your details.

Is the BMO Prepaid Mastercard scam?

No, the BMO prepaid Mastercard is not a scam. BMO is a well-recognized name in the country and has been offering credit and debit cards including prepaid cards for years. It’s registered, well-established, and secure. Plus, it even comes with guarantees.

Alternatives to the BMO Prepaid Mastercard

If you think the BMO Prepaid Mastercard is not for you, here are some alternatives that may be better for you

KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Card (formerly KOHO Prepaid Visa)

This reloadable card has many of the same benefits as traditional credit cards and more. It allows you to pay your bills or make a purchase anywhere that accepts Mastercard online or in-store. In addition to its many options, there is a premium version with even more benefits such as best price refund, no foreign conversion fees, and better cashback offers than other cards of the same type. 

STACK Prepaid Mastercard

The STACK Mastercard is a prepaid credit card with no fees and can be used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs. It is perfect for those who want to control their spending but don’t want to sacrifice the convenience of having a credit card.

Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card

Use your Mogo Visa Platinum anywhere Visa is accepted. Plus, get access to many benefits like credit score checking, budget automation and even identity theft protection all for free. 

Compare the different prepaid credit cards and choose the one that suits your needs!


Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of a reloadable prepaid card? 

A reloadable prepaid card is often a more convenient way to spend money. It’s like a debit card  but without the associated bank account. You can combine the benefits of today’s most popular payment options – credit cards, debit cards and cash – into one easy-to-use card that lets you reload as often as you like.

Where can I buy prepaid credit cards? 

There are a variety of places to buy prepaid credit cards. The best place to get the right card is online. Check out our list of the best prepaid credit cards.

How do Visa Prepaid cards work? 

Visa Prepaid cards are an easy, convenient and affordable way to pay. You can use them anywhere credit cards are accepted, without needing a bank account or credit card.

Can I withdraw money from a Visa Prepaid card? 

Prepaid cards can be used to withdraw money from certain ATMs. They are subject to a network fee.

How does a prepaid travel card work? 

Prepaid travel cards are a great way to save money on airline tickets and other travel expenses. They are accepted worldwide depending on the network used, for example Visa, Mastercard or Amex.

Can I use a prepaid card on Amazon? 

Yes, you can use a prepaid card on Amazon and most merchants accept Visa or Mastercard.

Does Uber accept prepaid credit cards?

Yes, Uber accepts prepaid credit/debit cards.


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