Is a BMO Personal Loan Right for You? (2024)

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Alexandre Desoutter updated on 16 May 2024

Whether you need funds to renovate the house, pay for your wedding or consolidate debt, a personal loan can be a great option. But, considering the number of banks and online lenders in Canada today, it can quickly become difficult to make a choice.

When looking for flexible personal loan options, BMO personal loans are worth a look. The bank offers secured and unsecured loan options. It has more than 900 branches all over the country and offers banking services to more than 12 million customers.

BMO key takeaways

  • A variety of personal lending products
  • The Bank of Montreal or BMO is one of Canada’s big five banks.
  • BMO is the eighth-largest bank in terms of assets in North America
  • BMO has an ‘AA-’ rating from Fitch

BMO Personal Loan Review

BMO is a secure, reliable banking choice. It was called the best commercial bank and private bank in Canada in 2021 by World Finance Magazine. It is the seventh straight year that the bank has enjoyed this recognition. Let us take a look at the pros and cons of BMO personal loans.

Like all loan products, BMO personal loans have a few benefits and shortcomings. Let’s take a quick look at them.

Pros

  • Flexible borrowing options
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Flexible repayment schedule and tenure
  • No prepayment charges
  • BMO has no prepayment charges nor any monthly or annual fees.
  • Set up automatic payments

Cons

  • A high minimum borrowing amount.
  • Requires high credit score for qualifying
  • APRs are not mentioned online.

What types of personal loans does BMO offer?

BMO has several loan options and lines of credit for you to choose from. Let's explore them now.

Loan TypeAmountRatesCollateral
requirement
Personal loan
Starts at $5,000
  • Fixed
  • Variable
Sometimes
Personal line of credit
$5,000 to $25,000Variable
Student line of credit
$5,000 to $45,000Variable
Homeowners line of credit
$5,000 to 65% of your home's valueVariable
Home equity loan
Starts at $10,000 to 80% of your home's value
  • Fixed
  • Variable
BMO loan types

Personal loan

BMO personal loan offers high flexibility to borrowers. You can use the funds for any purpose and the minimum borrowing amount is $5,000.

The loan term ranges from 1 to 5 years. It can be repaid on a monthly, weekly or bimonthly schedule. BMO offers both unsecured loans and secured personal loans. The personal loan is available at fixed and variable interest rates and you may be able to choose the type of interest rate you prefer. With a fixed interest rate, your payment will remain the same throughout the loan term and with a variable interest rate, it may change with market conditions.

A personal line of credit

Having a personal line of credit ready to go is perhaps the quickest and easiest way to borrow funds right when you need them. It's like a credit card, but at a lower rate and without a physical card. You can easily apply online with BMO for an unsecured credit of up to $25,000. Use as much or as little amount you need and pay interest only on the amount you use.

You will need to have good or excellent credit for the line of credit. You can make low minimum monthly payments of interest only and borrow as often as you would like to up to your credit limit.

A student line of credit

An ideal borrowing option for students, the student line of credit offers up to $15,000 in the first year and then up to $10,000 in every remaining year. The maximum loan amount is $45,000 and students can apply once and be a part of the program over 4 years. It is an affordable borrowing option that comes with a variable interest rate and has zero fees. Since it is a line of credit, you will have to pay interest only when you draw the funds.

Homeowner’s line of Credit

This is BMO's version of a HELOC and it allows you to use up to 65% of the home’s value. You can enjoy a minimum loan amount of $5,000 and pay interest only on the amount that is actually used. . This means you can make low minimum monthly payments and continue to borrow as long as you have the available credit.

Home Equity Loans

Besides the line of credit, BMO offers home equity loans. It lends up to 80% of the value of your home with a minimum loan amount of $10,000. There are flexible payment options you can choose from and the loan term is up to 25 years. This loan can be ideally used for large purchases.

What is the BMO personal loan interest rate?

At the time of writing BMO’s current prime rate is 6.70%. Loans rates are set as a function of this number. This is a much higher rate that it has been for most of the last two decades and one would expect it to start falling as inflation slows.

BMO Personal loans have either fixed and variable interest rates. However, the BMO personal loan interest rate will depend on the type of loan, loan amount, terms and your credit history.

If you are using collateral to secure a loan, your BMO interest rate will usually be lower than a loan with no collateral. Learn more about BMO personal loan interest rates by applying or making an appointment with BMO.

Remember to compare the rates and terms to find something that is right for you. They vary from one lender to another. Shop and compare the rates with different lenders before making a decision.

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BMO’s personal loan calculator

A BMO personal loan calculator available on its website. Simply enter the amount you want to borrow, the interest rate, payment frequency and amortization to project what your BMO loan could look like. From there it is easy to book an appointment of apply online.

bmo personal loan calculator

Good to know

Alternatively, try HelloSafe's personal loan calculator to get a quick projection and then compare payments and different loan interest rates.

How do I apply for a BMO personal loan?

If you are ready to apply for a BMO personal loan, check the eligibility criteria first and keep the documents ready. We’ve listed them for you below.

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligible for the loan, you should be:

  • A permanent resident or Canadian citizen,
  • Meet the basic income and credit score requirements.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.

Required Documents

BMO will ask for the following documents:

  • Social insurance number
  • Proof of income and employment (T4 slips or a letter from the employer)
  • 2 copies of government-issued photo ID
  • In case the loan is for consolidation of debt, you need to carry the loan balances and credit card statements of the accounts you would like to pay off

There are a few simple steps you need to follow if you are ready to make your loan application with BMO.

Existing customers can simply sign into the mobile or online banking portal and start a loan application over the phone.

As a new customer, you need to head to the local branch to book an appointment. You can also do this online. Here's how:

  • Head to the BMO website and then click on Personal.
  • Now click on Lines of Credit and then on Make an In-branch appointment.
  • You will be directed to a new page where you will be asked if you are an existing customer and you simply click on No.

Choose the appointment location by providing your postal code and then pick the branch you would like to go to. Once done, click on Continue.

bmo appointment form screenshot.
  • In the discussion topic, choose personal loan and then select your date and time of appointment.
  • On the next page, provide personal information like your name, address, date of birth, and contact details and then click on Submit.
  • Keep all the documents ready for your appointment so that the application is ready for pre-approval.
  • You will receive a pre-approval decision once you submit the application and if it is approved, review the terms and conditions of the loan before you sign the contract.

How do you pay back your BMO personal loan?

You can create a repayment plan that works for you. Simply choose a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly payment plan over one to five years.

BMO is known for its high flexibility. You can defer up to one month’s payment two times a year. Not a lot of lenders allow such easy deferments to borrowers.

What credit score do I need for a BMO personal loan?

Although BMO does not publicly specify the credit score needed for a loan, most traditional lenders in Canada expect a credit score above 600 to approve a loan application.

A higher credit score will mean a lower APR and favourable terms. Unsecured loans require a higher credit score due to higher risk. If you have a poor credit score, you can consider a bad credit loan from a specialty lender or work to improve your score before apply.

Expert advice

Wondering if you can get a BMO personal loan with bad credit? Maybe. Lending standards vary from bank to bank and no two people's financial situations are identical. Check directly with BMO. They will review the credit score, financial statements and employment history before making a decision. If you have a poor credit score and need funds, you might want to consider having a co-signer to increase the chances of approval.

BMO contact information, phone number and login to client space

Call BMO 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-877-225-5266.

You can log in to client space by simply using your ID and password.

What alternatives are there to a BMO personal loan?

Bank BMOTD BankRBC BankScotiabankCIBC
Loan type
  • Secured
  • Unsecured
  • Line of credit
  • Secured
  • Unsecured
  • Line of credit
  • Personal loan
  • line of credit
  • Personal loan
  • line of credit
  • Personal loan
  • line of credit
Term length
Up to 5 years3 years - 5 years 1 year to 5 yearsUp to 5 yearsUp to 5 years
Amount
$5,000 and up$2,000 to $50,000$5,000 and up$5,000 and up to $75,000$3,000 to $200,000
Number of branches
in Canada
900+1,000+1,200+900+1,000+
Canada Personal Loan Providers Compared

In order to help you make the right decision, here’s a quick summary of the top banks in Canada.

TD Bank

One of the top five banks in Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank came into existence on February 1st, 1955 after the merger of The Dominion Bank and the Bank of Toronto. It provides several financial products and services to consumers. The bank has a BBB+ rating from Fitch and offers high flexibility in your loan repayment.

RBC Bank

The Royal Bank of Canada is the largest bank in Canada in terms of market capitalization and it has more than 17 million customers across the world. It was established in 1864 and offers financial and investment services. It offers investment banking, lending, credit card services, and wealth management services. RBC offers several borrowing options for customers and is known for offering high convenience to borrowers when they want to switch from fixed to variable interest rates.

Scotiabank

Scotiabank is one of the largest and oldest banks in Canada. It was established in 1832 and is one of the top 5 banks in the country. The bank also has operations in the Caribbean, Mexico, the U.S. and some parts of South and Central America. It offers a complete range of banking services. Their services include online banking, credit card, mortgage, lending and investment.

CIBC Bank

The Canadian Imperial Bank Of Commerce (CIBC) was formed in 1961 after the merger of the Imperial Bank of Canada and the Canadian Bank of Commerce. The bank has several business units including the U.S. commercial banking and wealth management, Canada commercial banking and wealth management, personal and business banking in Canada, and capital markets and wealth management. The bank has operations across Asia, United States, United Kingdom and the Caribbean. It offers online banking and a mobile app for day-to-day banking. With more than 1,000 branches across Canada, CIBC offers several borrowing solutions for customers today.

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Alexandre Desoutter
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Alexandre Desoutter has been working as editor-in-chief and head of press relations at HelloSafe since June 2020. A graduate of Sciences Po Grenoble, he worked as a journalist for several years in French media, and continues to collaborate as a as a contributor to several publications.