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What Is The Bank Routing Number And Where To Find It
If you look closely at the bottom left of a check, you’ll notice a string of nine numerals. Known as the bank routing number, this line of digits is an essential part of everyday financial life. You may not know your bank’s routing number by memory in the same way as your Social Security number or debit card PIN, but your bank routing number works behind the scenes of the banking system in important ways.
Your bank routing number helps you move money. It enables you to get paid and pay bills. And it helps the banking system process transactions quickly and safely. Anytime money needs to go into or out of your bank account, your bank routing number helps make it happen.
Here’s more info about bank routing numbers and how they work as part of the banking system.
What Is a Bank Routing Number?
The bank routing number—often called the ABA routing number, where ABA stands for the American Bankers Association—is a nine-digit identifying number for your bank. Just as individuals in the U.S. have a Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number, banks have ID numbers called routing numbers.
ABA routing numbers are symbols of quality and legitimacy. These numbers are issued only to federal or state-chartered financial institutions eligible to maintain an account at a Federal Reserve Bank. Your bank’s routing number proves to the banking system that it’s a legitimate chartered financial institution.
Bank routing numbers help banks recognize each other and help make transactions possible. These numbers also help ensure trust in the banking system. Sellers can have confidence that they will get paid with funds from a legitimate bank, and buyers can prove that their money is ready to go.
In the same way that you might need to show ID to make a purchase or cash a check, the bank routing number serves as your bank’s ID. It helps other banks, merchants and anyone who needs to send or receive money verify that the money routes to or from the right bank.
Bank routing numbers also help make sure that the banking system functions in an orderly way. These identifying numbers allow transactions to get processed more smoothly while avoiding confusion, delays or misunderstandings between buyers and sellers.
Where to Find the Routing Number on a Check
Your bank’s nine-digit routing number usually appears in the lower-left corner of every check in your checkbook.
The number to the right of the routing number is your checking account number. Be careful not to get these numbers confused, since it could cause a delay in your payment or deposit.
Where to Find Bank Routing Numbers Without a Check
If you don’t have your checkbook handy or don’t use paper checks, there are a few other ways to get your bank routing number:
- Bank statements. Look at your latest bank statement. Most banks will list the ABA routing number as part of your account information that they send each month via mail or paperless electronic statements.
- Bank website. Many banks list their ABA routing numbers prominently on their website. Be aware that some banks have more than one routing number. Some banks may have different routing numbers for wire transfers or ACH (Automated Clearing House) transactions, so make sure you understand what type of transaction you are making before you get the routing number. Some big national banks may also have different routing numbers for different states.
- Call your bank. If you have any uncertainty about your bank’s routing number, you can also call your bank and ask the staff to confirm the correct ABA routing number for you.
- Use the ABA online lookup tool. The ABA website has a free ABA Routing Number Lookup tool to look up routing numbers for banks. However, be aware that you can only use this tool to look up two ABA routing numbers per day and up to 10 per month.
When You May Need Your Bank Routing Number
For most people, your bank’s ABA routing number isn’t something you need to use every day. You only need to know or enter your ABA routing number for certain types of transactions, such as wire transfers or ACH transactions.
Here are a few types of transactions when you might need to obtain and enter your bank routing number:
- Wire transfers. Sending or receiving large amounts of money via wire, especially for international transactions. Banks often charge a fee for wire transfers.
- ACH deposits. If you have just started a new job and are signing up for direct deposit at work, you will need to provide your bank routing number and your bank account number.
- IRS direct deposits. If you are receiving a tax refund, the IRS will give you the option to sign up to receive the money via direct deposit to your bank account via ACH. This is another occasion when you need to provide your bank routing number and bank account number. You also may receive your tax refund faster.
- Paying bills. If you are signing up to pay a bill online or signing up for a payment app like Venmo or other mobile payment apps, you may need to enter your bank routing number (and bank account number) to give the payee or the mobile app access to your bank account.
- Making deposits to retirement accounts or transfers to other banks. When you invest money for retirement, your investment manager or retirement plan provider will probably want you to use ACH deposits to transfer your money from your bank to your retirement savings each month. The same goes for transferring money between banks. If you have a high-yield online savings account, for example, at a different bank than your everyday checking account, you might need to set up the transactions via ACH transfer, and that requires your bank routing number.
ACH transfers are a fast, low-cost (often free) way to move money between banks.
Things You May Not Know About Bank Routing Numbers
- The bank routing number was first developed in 1910 by the American Bankers Association.
- Each bank may have up to four additional routing numbers beyond the “principal office number.”
- The ABA’s Routing Number Administrative Board manages the assignment of routing numbers.
- Each nine-digit routing number has three components:
- Federal Reserve routing symbol. These are the first four digits of the routing number. If the first two numbers of a routing number are 00, that means the routing number is for a check or draft from the U.S. Government. Banks use routing numbers that start with the first digits of 01-12. Traveler’s checks have routing numbers that begin with 80. Most of the other first two-digit series are “reserved for future use,” to be determined by the ABA Routing Number Administrative Board.
- ABA institution identifier. The next four digits are the unique identifier of the particular bank/financial institution.
- Check digit. The last number is the “check digit,” which helps banks avoid transaction errors.
Bank routing numbers are not something that most people think about in everyday banking transactions, but they serve an important purpose. These nine-digit numbers help banks identify each other, build trust in the banking system, avoid errors and delays and generally help everyone’s deposits and payments go where they need to go.
Next time you need your bank’s ABA routing number to set up a new account or complete a purchase, you’ll know where to find it: at the bottom of every check, on your bank’s website or in your monthly statement.
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Bank routing numbers are legacy tech that have been modified to remain relevant some hundred years after originally being introduced. Also known as an ABA Routing Transit Number (ABA RTN), the nine-digit number has an important part to play in financial transactions.
A lot of financial transactions that you can do online will require your bank account’s routing number to go through. If you need to find your bank routing number, online sources listed below can help.
Bank routing number
The bank routing number is a nine-digit number that is essentially an ID number for an individual bank. It is still found on checks and is also used in wire transfers, bill payments and direct deposits. There are almost 27,000 bank routing numbers in use, and every bank in the country has one or more of them. While there is a theoretical limit of five bank routing numbers per institution, mergers and takeovers means most larger banks have many more than that.
Find your bank routing number
There are several ways you can find your bank routing number if you need it.
- On a paper check, the bank routing number is the nine-digit number next to your account number. Some banks place it on the left of the number string, while others place it in the center.
- You can check your online account page for the bank routing number. Different banks put them in different places so there is no single place to suggest looking.
- You can contact the bank’s customer services and ask them.
- Check your banking app if you use one.
- Check your paper bank statement if you use them.
- You could search online or your bank’s routing number. There are websites that gather this information and list it. It’s often easier to find information on these websites than on the bank’s own site, but there’s no guarantee these third-party websites are up-to-date.
Find your bank routing number online
There are many online resources that can help you find your bank routing number. Large banks tend to have different routing numbers for their branches in different states.
Here are some of the major banks’ routing number web pages:
The American Bankers Association has a web query service that can also help. You first have to agree the terms and conditions by scrolling down the page in the center, then hit “I agree.” You can either find a bank routing number by name and city or find a bank by the routing number.
About the bank routing number
The routing number was introduced by the American Bankers Association back in 1911. It was originally intended to identify the bank or institution that offered payment instruments such as checks. This was a major step to let banks across the United States coordinate transactions with each other. Originally, the number not only identified a bank but let you look up where the bank was located. The idea was to make the sorting and shipping of checks fast and straightforward to keep financial institutions as efficient as possible. Even though are used much less often now, the bank routing number is still in use.
Each bank routing number is unique to a bank and to a state. Some of the links above will contain lists of states where each bank has a presence, and the corresponding bank routing number.
The bank routing number predominantly uses the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) format. The number is printed onto a check using magnetic ink that is machine readable. This helps processing either by hand or by sorting machine. The first four digits are the Federal Reserve Routing Symbol. The next four are the ABA Institution Identifier, and the final digit is the Check Digit. If you would like to know more about the bank routing number, Wikipedia’s routing transit number page has everything you need.
Anything else I need to know about the bank routing number?
The above is probably all you will ever need to know about your bank routing number. The only thing to bear in mind when setting up payments that require it is that the number can change. Just because you have always used the same bank routing number, doesn’t mean you will always use the same one.
Internal changes within a bank occasionally cause them to change a state’s bank routing number. They should notify you in advance so you can make any necessary changes, but it makes sense to check before setting up a new payment.
When your routing number changes, you should update existing payments to reflect the new bank routing number as soon as possible. While there is an extensive grace period when switching bank routing numbers, it makes sense to change it as soon as practicable.
Other than that, the bank routing number is just an extra string of digits to add to a form when making a deposit or setting up a payment.
Is there anything else you would like to know about your bank routing number? Ask us below if there is!
How To Find Your Bank Routing Number: A Guide To The ABA RTN
Finding your bank’s routing number should be easy.
That isn’t always the case.
I was attempting to make an estimated tax payment the other day, and as part of the process I had to enter the routing number and bank account number for my bank.
I’ve done this in the past, and usually I just search my bank’s website for the information.
This time, however, they had removed that FAQ page, or were in the process of updating their site – so the routing number was nowhere to be found.
I was able to find what I thought were routing numbers elsewhere, but after double-checking them they weren’t matching up with other sites.
In the end I found the correct routing number elsewhere on my bank’s site, but it really shouldn’t be that hard.
So today I decided to take a deeper look at the ABA bank routing transit number. What are they, why are they important, and where can I find them when I need them?
What Is A Bank Routing Transit Number (RTN Number)?
The American Banking Association routing transit number or ABA RTN, the nine-digit code found on your checks, was first developed over 100 years ago. From Wikipedia:
An ABA routing transit number (ABA RTN) is a nine-digit code, used in the United States, which appears on the bottom of negotiable instruments such as checks to identify the financial institution on which it was drawn. The ABA RTN was originally designed to facilitate the sorting, bundling, and shipment of paper checks back to the drawer’s (check writer’s) account. As new payment methods were developed (ACH and Wire), the system was expanded to accommodate these payment methods.
The ABA RTN is necessary for the Federal Reserve Banks to process Fedwire funds transfers, and by the ACH Network to process direct deposits, bill payments, and other such automated transfers. The ABA RTN system was developed in 1910 by the American Bankers Association.
The RTN number was developed in 1910 and has been in use ever since.
So who is eligible to get an ABA Routing Number?
An ABA Routing Number will only be issued to a Federal or State chartered financial institution which is eligible to maintain an account at a Federal Reserve Bank.
The Official ABA Registrar of Routing Numbers, Accuity, is responsible for the assignment of routing numbers in accordance with the Routing Number Administrative Board Routing Number Policy. Accuity has served as the ABA’s Official Registrar since 1911. A newly organized financial institution must complete and submit an application to Accuity to be assigned its ABA Routing Number.
So RTN numbers are assigned to member banking institutions by Accuity, the official registrar of the ABA after they submit an application. That number helps facilitate any number of financial transactions from writing a check, wire transfers, and ACH transactions.
According to the ABA there are currently about 28,000 active RTN numbers.
What Do The Numbers In The Bank Routing Number Mean?
So what do the digits of the routing number mean? The numbers reflect a bank’s geographic location and internal handling information used by the Federal Reserve.
The first two digits of the routing number correspond to the 12 Federal Reserve Banks, so whatever region your particular bank is in will be represented by these two digits.
The third digit corresponds to the Federal Reserve check processing center that was originally assigned to the bank, although these days processing is now centralized at the Atlanta Fed.
The fourth digit tells you if the bank is located in the Federal Reserve city proper with a 0, or 1-9 according to which state in the Federal Reserve district it’s in.
The fifth through eighth digits correspond to the bank’s unique ABA identity within it’s Fed district.
The ninth digit provides a check digit for a checksum test to verify the number is a valid one.
An Example ABA Routing Transit Number
By way of example, here’s how one of my bank’s 9 digit routing numbers would break down:
TCF Bank Routing Number – 291070001
- 29 (Minneapolis Federal Reserve District, Credit Union or Savings Bank)
- 1 (Bank check processing center #1)
- 0 (In Federal Reserve city of Minneapolis proper)
- 7000 (Bank ID number)
- 1 (Check digit)
How does the check digit work? You take the 9 digit routing number and apply a checksum algorithm called “modules 10” against it, which requires you to perform a calculation on the routing number.
You take the 1st, 4th, and 7th digit and multiply them by 3. You take the 2nd, 5th, and 8th digit and multiply them by 7. Then you take the 3rd, 6th, and 9th digits and multiply them by 1. Then you add all the resulting numbers. The total should be easily divisible by 10 with no remainder. If it is, it is a valid routing number.
So for our number 291070001, here is what the calculation looks like:
(2x3)+(9x7)+(1x1)+(0x3)+(7x7)+(0x1)+(0x3)+(0x7)+(1x1) = 120
120 is easily divisible by 10 and has no remainder, so it is a valid routing transit number.
So there is some reasoning behind these routing numbers, it makes some sense when you dig into it.
How To Find Your Bank’s Routing Number
So now that we knew the reasoning behind the bank routing number, and what the number means, how do you find your bank’s routing number?
There are several places you can go to find your RTN.
Find Routing Number On Check
Probably the easiest place to find your bank’s routing number is to look at your paper checks.
The check will typically have the 9 digit routing number down on the bottom left of the check. It will be in a sequence of three numbers printed in MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) form.
The first number in the MICR sequence below is the routing number. The second is the account number. The third is the check number.
The account number isn’t always listed first, but you always know that it’s going to be 9 digits, and that it shows at the bottom between two symbols that look like this:
Find that symbol, and you’ll see the routing number in-between.
Find Routing Number On Bank’s Website
The next best place to find your routing number is on the website for your bank. The routing number isn’t secret information, it’s public information that the bank will put on their website.
The problem is that it isn’t always placed out front where it’s easy to find.
Your best bet is to go to your bank’s FAQ page or to just do a search for “Bank Name + routing number” on Google, and you should be able to find the correct RTN to use.
Find Routing Number By Calling Your Bank
You can also find your bank’s routing number just by calling your bank’s customer service line.
If you’re not able to find the routing number on your bank’s site, the customer service reps should have that information handy as I’m sure it’s something that customers ask for quite often. We have the customer service numbers for the top 10 US Banks down below for your reference.
Routing Numbers For Top 10 United States Banks
The routing numbers for all of the top banks are out there on the web, but if you’ve ever done a search you know that sometimes the information can be scattered around, and not always consistent. So in this article I just want to bring together some of the routing numbers for the top 10 or so banks in the United States.
The numbers below are organized by region or state. Where applicable we’ll also try to give you a customer service number for each bank in case you want to call and verify the routing number.
Wells Fargo Routing Numbers
Wells Fargo is headquartered in San Francisco where it was formed back in the Gold Rush days. In terms of market capitalization Wells Fargo is the biggest bank in the world and has the oldest continuously operating bank charter in the U.S.
They also pay the largest sum of corporate taxes of any US company each year.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for Wells Fargo:
U.S. Bank Routing Numbers
U.S. Bancorp is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is among the largest banks in the United States. The company has 3,106 branches and 4,842 ATMs, primarily in the Midwestern United States, and has approximately 72,400 employees.
U.S. Bancorp operates under the second-oldest continuous national charter after Wells Fargo.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for US Bank:
Chase Bank Routing Numbers
JP Morgan Chase Bank is the largest bank in the United States, and the 6th largest in the world, according to the Federal Reserve. They hold close to $2 trillion in worldwide assets and are the result of the 2000 merger of two much older banks, JP Morgan and Company, and Chase Manhattan Corporation. Retail and commercial banking services are provided under the Chase name.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for JP Morgan Chase Bank:
Bank of America Routing Numbers
Bank of America is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I had the chance to visit with them there when I attended FinCon in Charlotte. The company started in the early 1900s serving immigrants in San Francisco. Strangely enough, at the time it was called the Bank of Italy.
Bank of America has about 50 million retail banking customers, and since they own Merril Lynch, they’re also the world’s largest wealth management firm.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for Bank of America:
Citibank Routing Numbers
Citibank, which used to be known as “City Bank of New York, is a pioneer when it comes to credit cards and ATM machines, and was the first U.S bank to open a banking office overseas after expanding to Argentina in 1914.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for Citibank:
PNC Bank Routing Numbers
PNG is mainly a regional banking institution, based in Pittsburgh, and mostly found on the east coast. It has branches in nineteen states as well as Washington D.C. with 52,906 employees, 2,459 branches, and 9,051 ATMs.
The initials PNC come from the two original Pennsylvania banks that merged to form PNC, Pittsburgh National Corporation, and Providence National Corporation.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for PNC Bank:
Bank of New York Mellon Routing Numbers
The Bank of New York was founded in the late 1700s by the first Secretary of the Treasury and namesake to a current hit play, Alexander Hamilton.
The bank merged with T. Mellon and Sons, a Pittsburgh institution that financed steel and fuel industries. Due to its long history, BNY Mellon is the oldest banking corporation in the country.
- Customer service phone number: 1-412-236-3338
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for BNY Mellon:
Morgan Stanley Routing Numbers
Morgan Stanley is a multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Manhattan, New York City. It has offices in 42 countries and has more than 55,000 employees. It was founded in 1935.
- Customer service phone number: 1-888-454-3965
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for Morgan Stanley, also found in this .pdf:
Capital One Routing Numbers
Capital One is mainly a retail banking company, offering credit cards, auto loans, home loans, and checking and savings accounts.
Full disclosure, I am a happy long time customer with a Capital One 360 savings account and have written about them on this site.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for Capital One:
TD Bank Routing Numbers
TD Bank (Toronto-Dominion Bank) is a Canadian company, with headquarters in Toronto, Canada. The company has over 22 million clients worldwide, mostly in the U.S. and Canada.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for TD Bank:
TCF Bank Routing Numbers
TCF Bank is the main local checking account that I’ve had for the better part of a decade now. As of November 2017, TCF Bank had nearly 321 branches in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona, and South Dakota.
On January 28, 2019, Chemical Bank of Detroit announced it would merge with TCF. The new corporation will retain the TCF name, but be headquartered in the tower Chemical is constructing in Detroit. It will maintain large operating centers in Minneapolis and Midland, Michigan.
Here is a listing of bank routing numbers for TCF Bank:
Finding Your Bank Routing Transit Numbers Shouldn’t Be Hard
Hopefully this article has been helpful and helped you to find your bank’s routing number.
We weren’t able to include more banks because as mentioned above there are over 28,000 active American Banking Association routing transit numbers, and we didn’t want this article to be prohibitively long. But if you’re having a hard time finding a particular routing number, leave a comment and let us know. We’ll see if we can help track it down.
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