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BMO Harris Auto Loan Review

BMO is the eighth-largest bank in North America by assets, offering competitive rates on auto loans. It only operates in eight U.S. states, but it partners with dealers nationally to offer financing outside of its footprint.

How BMO Harris auto loans work

BMO Harris Bank offers loans for cars bought from a dealer or private party. It also offers auto refinance and financing for motorcycles, boats and RVs, but for purposes of this review, we’ll focus on traditional auto loans.

The bank doesn’t put age or mileage restrictions on vehicles it finances, which sets it apart from other lenders. Most lenders don’t offer auto loans on vehicles past a certain age, sometimes up to a decade old, but possibly as few as seven years. As long as a vehicle has an industry guidebook value, sourced from a publication like Kelley Blue Book, you could potentially finance it with BMO Harris.

BMO Harris has over 500 branches in eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Florida and Wisconsin. But even if you live outside one of those states, you may be offered a BMO car loan at a dealership in what’s known as indirect lending.

BMO Harris auto loans: rates and terms at a glance

  • APRs between 3.39% and 10.34%
  • Terms between 1 and 84 months
  • Loan amounts from $5,000
  • Fair credit borrowers considered

These rates are current as of publication and apply to BMO Harris’ indirect auto loans. You could check for direct auto loan rates that BMO Harris offers by plugging in your ZIP code here. The best rates typically go to those with the best credit buying the newest cars. You may be restricted to certain terms based on your credit — BMO Harris requires a FICO score of at least 680 for its longest loan term of 84 months. The good news is those with fair credit are considered: borrowers with a score of 640 or higher are eligible for terms up to 75 months.

Applying for a BMO Harris auto loan

You could apply for a BMO Harris auto loan through a dealership that works with the bank or by talking directly with a banker; you can’t apply for a BMO Harris auto loan online. To apply directly, you could:

  • Make an appointment to talk with a BMO Harris loan officer at a time and location of your preference.
  • Visit a branch to make an auto loan application without an appointment.
  • Request a contact by either email or phone or call BMO Harris directly at 888-340-2265.

To apply for an auto loan, you typically need to tell the lender how much you want to borrow, the car you want to buy and your personal information, such as your contact details and your income. Our car loan document checklist provides more detail.

Receiving a BMO Harris auto loan offer

If BMO Harris makes you an auto loan offer, you’ll see the amount, length of loan, APR and monthly payment. From there, you should do the following.

  1. Compare it to other loan offers. Don’t accept the first loan offer you get, especially if the dealership is acting as the middleman. Dealers can raise your APR for their profit. You have a 14-day window in which multiple loan applications only count as one hit to your credit and some credit-scoring models may allow up to 45 days.
  2. Make sure it fits your budget. While the word “budget” might put you to sleep, it’s important to make sure you can afford your car payment. You could use one of LendingTree’s car payment calculators to run some numbers.
  3. Accept or reject. To accept an offer, follow through with the paperwork as required by the dealership and/or your state’s laws. To reject an offer, you don’t have to do anything. It will expire within a set time, usually within 30 days.

Paying a BMO Harris auto loan

If you do accept a BMO Harris auto loan, there are several ways to  make payments:

  • BMO Harris automatic draft. Probably the most convenient way to pay, BMO will automatically draft the payment from your BMO Harris checking account for free.
  • Automatic draft from another bank or credit union. To do this, you’ll need to fill in a paper form and mail or fax it to BMO Harris. To cancel or modify the draft, you would need to fax a signed letter with the request and the loan number, payment amount, date of the modification and the new account and routing number if applicable.
  • Express Loan Pay. To make a same-day payment online directly from a checking account with no convenience fee, you could use BMO Harris Express Loan Pay. You’ll need your account number, last four digits of your Social Security number, contact info and payment method info. You can’t use this service for automatic payments and any auto loan payments made after 10 pm Central Time will be processed the next business day.
  • By phone by calling 888-340-2265. There is no charge to pay by phone.
  • In person at one of BMO Harris’ branches.
  • By check. The good old-fashioned way could be useful. Mail a check with your loan account number on it along with the payment coupon to this BMO Harris Bank address: PO Box 6201 Carol Stream, IL 60197-6201.

How could I make a payoff?
You could find your loan payoff amount on your online account or by calling 877-435-7330. Payoff checks may be sent to: BMO Harris Bank 2012 Corporate Ln #108 Attn: PO Box 9202, Naperville, IL 60563.

How to get the best rate on an auto loan

The best way to be sure you get the best rate on your auto loan is to shop around. Apply to several lenders so you can choose the offer best for you.

An excellent way to do this is to apply to a couple of lenders directly, such as your credit union, bank or online lender, before going to the dealership. And once you’re at the dealership, ask them to beat the lowest rate offer you got.

If you don’t know the exact car you want before you visit the dealer, you could still apply to a lender of your choice and get an auto loan preapproval. If the dealer can beat your preapproved rate, you’re probably getting the best deal on a car loan. Note that BMO Harris does not offer auto loan preapprovals.

BMO Harris Auto Loans vs Competitors
BMO Harris LightStream PenFed
Lowest APR available 3.39% 3.49% 2.14%
Max APR 10.34% 20.49% 17.99%
Max term 84 months 84 months 84 months
Available discounts No available discounts Lowest rate includes 0.5% rate discount with autopay 1% APR auto loan discount through the PenFed Car Buying Service

Is financing through BMO Harris worth it?

BMO Harris offers auto loan rates that are competitive with other banks and even online lenders, but fall slightly short compared to credit unions. Like you would with any potential lender, research its customer service reviews. One way to do that is to search the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint database.

Who is a BMO Harris loan best for? A BMO Harris auto loan might be good for people who already bank there or want to switch. Those looking to buy an older or high-mileage used car may find financing here when other banks take a pass.

Who isn’t a good fit for a BMO Harris loan? If a credit union offers a lower rate, you may be drawn away. Those who live outside its service area will need to look elsewhere. It’s possible to get an auto loan here even if you don’t bank with BMO Harris, but it will require the extra step of mailing in the appropriate paperwork.

 

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