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The BMO Harris Bank Platinum MasterCard® is a no-frills credit card with a relatively low APR and a generous balance transfer promotion that waives interest on new cardholders’ transfers for 15 months. Its 6-month purchase APR promotion is decidedly less generous, but still welcome for applicants seeking to finance moderately large purchases without incurring hefty interest charges. Thanks to the Mastercard Priceless Cities program, this card is also great for domestic travelers and people looking for exclusive, discounted deals on curated events and experiences in their hometowns.
BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard isn’t a flashy travel credit card. Nor does it have a generous sign-up bonus or cash back rewards program. However, if you’re seeking a cost-effective way to pay down the high-interest balances you’ve racked up on another credit card, it should be high on your list of contenders.
Introductory APR Promotion
BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard has a 15-month 0% APR balance transfer promotion. Balances transferred within 3 months of account opening accrue no interest for 15 months from the transfer date. Additionally, this card has a 6-month 0% APR purchase promotion during which cardholders pay no interest on purchases.
Following the end dates of the respective introductory promotions, this card’s balance transfer and purchase APRs are set at 13.24%, 15.24%, 18.24%, or 20.24%, depending on cardholders’ creditworthiness. Once set, APRs can vary with prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is set at 25.49% from account opening, but can also vary with prevailing interest rates.
This card does not have an annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $10 or 3% of the transferred or advanced amount, and depending on the size of the late or returned payment, late and returned payment fees range up to $37.
Mastercard Priceless Cities
Mastercard Priceless Cities is exclusively available to holders of select Mastercard products. It’s a curated event and experience benefit that offers “one-of-a-kind experiences, special adventures, shopping and dining benefits, the best shows and sporting events, hotel upgrades, and small perks that make your city adventures more special,” according to BMO Harris Bank.
Additional Card Benefits
This card is a solid lineup of additional cardholder benefits:
- 1-year extended warranties on items with existing warranties less than 1 year
- Price protection (reimbursement of the difference) on purchased items for which you find a lower advertised price within 60 days
- Complimentary loss and damage insurance for rental cars paid in full with your card
- Emergency roadside assistance
BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard requires good credit. A few minor credit blemishes may not disqualify your application, but major adverse events such as foreclosure or personal bankruptcy probably will.
- No Annual Fee. BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard has no annual fee. That’s great news for frugal cardholders. It’s especially welcome given that this card has no rewards program, and thus offers no way to offset recurring charges.
- Solid Intro Balance Transfer APR Promotion. This card’s introductory balance transfer promotion lasts 15 months. That’s in line with the industry’s leading balance transfer credit cards, including Chase Slate, and far exceeds typical balance transfer promotions, which typically top out at 12 months.
- Curated Experiences Through Mastercard Priceless Cities. Though they’re not totally free, the events and experiences curated through Mastercard Priceless Cities are exclusive – they’re not available to people without high-end Mastercards. Plus, they do tend to offer better value than discounts and deals available to the general public, so they’re great for raising your lifestyle standards without crippling your budget.
- Nice Lineup of Value-Added Benefits. This card’s value-added benefits include complimentary rental car insurance, price protection for 60 days, and extended warranties on certain purchased products. Many fellow no-annual-fee, no-frills credit cards skimp on the fringe benefits, but not BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard.
- No Penalty APR. BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard doesn’t charge penalty interest. If you occasionally miss credit card payments due to liquidity issues or unforeseen expenses, you don’t have to worry about your interest rate skyrocketing here. Some competing cards charge penalty interest as high as 30% APR, and maintain those rates indefinitely once a single payment has been missed.
- No Rewards or Cash Back. BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard does not have a rewards program. That’s a bummer for cardholders seeking a return on their spending, however modest. Entry-level cash back credit cards such as Chase Freedom and Discover it are better suited for cash-hungry cardholders. Both offer introductory APR promotions too: 15 months on purchases and balance transfers for Chase Freedom, and 12 months on purchases and balance transfers for Discover it.
- No Sign-up Bonus. This card has no sign-up bonus, another drawback for new cardholders. Popular alternatives such as BMO Harris Bank Platinum Rewards Mastercard and BMO Harris Bank Premium Rewards Mastercard offer sign-up bonuses worth $100 to $150, provided new cardholders reach certain spending thresholds within 3 months of opening their accounts.
- Intro Purchase APR Promotion Leaves Something to Be Desired. BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard’s introductory purchase APR is welcome, but not generous enough to stand alone as a reason to apply for this card. It lasts just 6 months, far less than some other credit cards that offer 0% APR purchase promotions. For instance, Citi Diamond Preferred waives interest for the first 21 months – 3.5 times as long as BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard.
- No Break on Balance Transfer Fees. BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard offers no breaks on balance transfer fees. That’s a big drawback relative to Chase Slate, which completely waives balance transfer fees on transfers made within 60 days of account opening.
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card’s 3% foreign transaction fee is a disadvantage for international travelers, especially given that the charge can’t be partially offset by cash back or travel rewards earnings. It’s increasingly common for credit cards to waive foreign transaction fees, so there are plenty of alternatives that won’t charge you an extra 3% every time you try to use plastic in a foreign country.
The BMO Harris Bank Platinum MasterCard® won’t win any awards for creativity, but that’s okay. It fulfills its primary purpose well: offering new cardholders a clear path to reducing high-interest credit card debt through low-cost, no-interest balance transfers. Its lineup of value-added benefits, especially Mastercard Priceless Cities, is welcome too. And its nonexistent annual fee is sure to please frugal cardholders.
However, beyond these admittedly useful advantages, BMO Harris Bank Platinum Mastercard’s appeal is limited. If you’re looking for a true standout credit card, keep searching.