Routing Number: What It Is and Where to Find It
Routing numbers are an integral part of our everyday lives. So, it's important to know what it is and how to find it when you need it. Routing numbers are used to transfer money between financial institutions, banks, and credit unions. In the past, routing numbers were used just for processing checks. Today, routing numbers are used for much more:
- Wire transfers
- Electronic bill payments
- Direct deposits
What Is a Routing Number?
A routing number, also referred to as an ABA number or routing transit number (RTN), is a unique nine digit number assigned to a particular bank or credit union. It was created to identify exactly where money is being drawn from in order to transfer funds to another bank or institution. Because every bank is assigned a unique routing number, similarly named banks will not be confused with each other. Larger banks may have more than one routing number depending on the type of transaction or the location of a particular branch of the bank.
Where Can I Find the Routing Number?
There are three sets of numbers located at the bottom of your checks: your routing number, your account number, and your check number.
The first set of numbers to the left of your check is usually the routing number. If it happens to be anywhere else on your check, know that your routing number will always be the nine digit number.
The second set of numbers on the check is usually your checking account number. Unlike the routing number, this number is personal and can only be found on your check or banking statement.
The last set of numbers is your check number. It is the shortest of the three sets of numbers and is used to keep track of the checks you've written.
Don't Use Checks?
If you don't use physical checks, you are a part of a growing number. More people are banking electronically instead of using a checkbook. In that case, the best place to find a routing number is on your bank's website or by calling their customer service number. Since routing numbers aren't private like your checking account number, banks are free to provide them to the public. Be sure to verify that you're using the correct routing number within that bank.