How to Make a TFSA Contribution to a BMO InvestorLine Account and How Long It Takes to Get There

This year I decided to pay attention to how long it took before my TFSA contribution showed up in my BMO InvestorLine account. Until it shows up, I can’t buy new investments with it. My InvestorLine account is connected directly to my BMO chequing account so I did not have to mail my contribution or visit a branch.

How to Contribute Online to a BMO InvestorLine TFSA

  1. Sign in to your InvestorLine account.
  2. If you have multiple accounts, select your TFSA account from the drop-down list in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. On the rather busy Home screen, there is a box headed “Manage my Account.”
    Within it, you can click on the Contribute to my TFSA link
    Click on My Portfolio.
    Under the Account Balance, you can click on the Make a contribution to TFSA link.
    Either link takes you to the same screen.
  4. Confirm that the heading is TFSA Transactions.
    If so, if necessary, click on the Contributions tab.
    Note: there is a warning that it will take 3-4 business days for a contribution to show in the Transaction History.
  5. To make a new contribution, click to select the radio button to specify whether to fund the contribution from a BMO Bank Account or from an Investment Account. (Presumably that means an InvestorLine non-registered investment brokerage account.)
  6. For a BMO Bank Account
    • In the BMO Transit # field, type the account transit
    • In the BMO Account # field, type the bank account number
  7. For an Investment Account
    • In the From: field, type in the number for the investment account.
  8. The field labeled To TFSA Account field has been filled in by InvestorLine.
  9. In the Amount ($) field, type in the desired contribution.
  10. In the Enter your Trading Password field, type in your password for making equity trades.
    If necessary, enter your Trading Password again.
  11. Read the over-contribution penalty information. If you understand it and won’t be over contributing, click on the I Accept check box.
  12. In the Contact Information section, in the Primary Number field type your phone number.
  13. Review your selections, and if they look acceptable, click on the Submit button.
  14. Save your transaction confirmation or print it for your records.

And now you wait.

And wait.

How Long Does it Take for a Contribution to Be Ready to Use in an InvestorLine TFSA?

I entered my TFSA contribution at 1:26 p.m. on a Wednesday. It’s now 2 p.m. on Thursday and it’s not in my account yet.

Checking the Status of Your TFSA Contribution to InvestorLine

You can check that you didn’t imagine the entire transaction. A bit strangely, the place to check is found by clicking on the Make a Contribution to TFSA link when looking at My Portfolio.

The Recent Contributions section shows the Reference Number for the contribution, which account it is coming from, where it is going to, the amount, the transaction date and the status of the transaction.

After 24 hours, my status is still “Submitted.” Good thing the markets are up today so I didn’t want to buy anything anyway.

The pending contribution does not show up under the Order Status list under Trading.
The pending contribution amount does not show up on the Positions screen for the TFSA (the one displayed under My Portfolio.)

I’ll update this with when the contribution finally shows up. Given that it was an electronic fund transfer between BMO and BMO InvestorLine on a regular business mid-week day, I’m not very impressed so far. I have a sneaking suspicion that when I get my passbook updated I’ll find the money was withdrawn from my chequing account immediately.

It’s especially disheartening by comparison. We have savings and RRSP accounts with ING Direct. They are good for parking a quick RRSP contribution in time to meet the tax deadine. Then we move it to its long term investment home. (Please see RRSP Strategies Part 1: How to Best Get your RRSP Money Contributed Before the Tax Deadline.)

Anyway, last night in under five minutes, we were able to contribute online from one person’s savings account to the other person’s Spousal RRSP account. That included the time to print the RRSP contribution receipt. Instantly, the RRSP money was in the ING Direct RRSP daily interest savings account ready to be invested in GICs or Streetwise mutual funds, or even ready to be transferred out to another financial institution for no fee.

It makes BMO’s delay of over 24 hours for a TFSA contribution seem pretty pokey.

How Long Did It Take for the BMO InvestorLine TFSA Contribution to Be Deposited Ready to Spend?

The contribution finally arrived in my account on the morning two nights after that day I made the contribution. So I lost the balance of the trading day on the day I made the transfer and one entire trading day before it arrived. Could be worse. But not exactly stellar service, either, considering this was a transfer from BMO to InvestorLine.

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How long does it take for a contribution to appear ready to spend in your TFSA? Is it ING-fast, or BMO-slow? Please share your experiences with a comment.

4 thoughts on “How to Make a TFSA Contribution to a BMO InvestorLine Account and How Long It Takes to Get There

  1. RRSP contributions should not be delayed until the last 5 minutes before deadline.
    Instead, it should be deposited at the beginning of the year.
    The same with annual TFSA (after you’ve opened an account).
    As to the BMO, I would say they are “average fast”. 2 days intrabank transfer is not uncommon.

    • I know when we were starting out financially, there were no TFSAs only RRSPs. In those days, we were reluctant to put our savings quickly into our RRSP too early as it was our “float” in case of job loss or other serious unexpected expenses. (It was very difficult to make a withdrawal from an RRSP way back then.) So we often waited till February to see what we could afford to lock up for the rest of our working lives. Nowadays, if people don’t have the money to max out all three of their emergency fund, TFSA and RRSP on January 1, I’d suggest they max out the TFSA first, in investments that can be liquidated if necessary for emergencies, then gradually max out their emergency fund, then work on their RRSPs.

  2. Have you tried withdrawing funds OUT of your TFSA at Investorline? Are there any fees to do so? At Tangerine, I found it very easy to withdraw funds as needed and then to re-contribute funds the following year. And with no fees!

    • I haven’t tried to make a withdrawal from my InvestorLine TFSA since I’m using it for long-term savings, but I probably should try to make a small withdrawal near the end of the year, just to see if it works well. Thanks for the suggestion.
      I’ve found Tangerine very useful for banking and I liked it for my TFSA cash when I was using it for short-term savings, too. I’m glad it’s working out well for you.

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