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How to find your routing number for your bank account

Bank accounts—including checking accounts, savings accounts and money market accounts—can offer convenient and secure ways to manage your money. While you may swipe your debit card or write checks without thinking twice, it’s helpful to know how banks keep track of your accounts. That’s where routing numbers and account numbers come into play. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions use routing numbers to distinguish themselves from one another. They also use account numbers to identify individual customers and accounts. Knowing your bank routing number and account number matters for things like scheduling electronic payments, setting up direct deposit or sending and receiving person-to-person payments. If you have at least one checking account or another type of bank account, then it helps to know how to find this information when you need it. A bank routing number is a nine-digit number that identifies which financial institution is responsible for the payment of a financial instrument. In other words, it’s the number banks use to identify themselves. The American Bankers Association developed the ABA routing number system in 1910 as a way to tell one bank from another. The ABA routing number system covers federally and state-chartered banks and financial institutions that process check transactions. It also extends to banks that participate in other activities, such as automated clearinghouses, electronic funds transfers and online banking. If your bank or credit union maintains an account with the Federal Reserve Bank, then it has an ABA routing number. is the only country that uses routing numbers to identify banks when sending and receiving money. In fact, only financial institutions that meet this requirement and have a federal or state charter can apply for a routing number with the ABA. Foreign banks use something called IBAN instead, which is short for International Bank Account Number. An account number is a set of digits used to identify a specific bank account, such as a checking account or money market account. Banks assign account numbers to each account you own. So, for example, if you open a checking account and a savings account at the same bank, you’d have two different account numbers but just one routing number. If you have checking accounts at two different banks, each would have a unique account number and a unique routing number. Your account number tells the bank where to add money or deduct money each time new credit or debit transactions are posted. This is similar to the way your Social Security number is used to identify you for lending and credit reporting purposes. For that reason, it’s important to keep your bank account numbers secure. Otherwise, someone might be able to use your information to access your accounts fraudulently. There are a variety of scenarios where you may need to provide your bank routing number. For instance, you may need a routing number to: In terms of how to find your routing number, there are three possibilities. If your checking account comes with paper checks, this is the first place you can look for your bank routing number. When you look at the front of a check, you’ll see a space at the bottom with a row of numbers. Specifically, you should see three groups of numbers, separated by a space or special character. Looking at the bottom of the check, the first group of numbers (labeled “1” in the image above) is the bank routing number. Again, an easy way to tell if it’s your bank routing number is to count the digits and confirm that there are nine. If there are more or fewer than nine digits, odds are you’re looking at your checking account number (labeled “2” above). If you have a checkless checking account or you’ve run out of checks, finding your bank routing number may be as simple as visiting your bank’s website. Banks and credit unions can publish their routing numbers online as a convenience to customers. Unlike a bank account number, a bank routing number is public information and doesn’t need to be secured or protected. You may be able to find this number right on the main homepage of the bank’s website. But, if not, you may be able to log in to your account online or via mobile banking to check the routing number. A third way to get your bank routing number when you don’t have checks or it’s not published online is to simply contact the bank. A teller should be able to provide your bank’s routing number over the phone, in person or at the drive-through window. This option is helpful if you want to be able to read the routing number back to them to verify that it’s correct. If you’re entering your bank routing number for financial transactions, then you’ll most likely need to provide your checking account number as well. Again, there are a few ways to find this information if you don’t have it readily available. As mentioned, there are three sets of numbers printed at the bottom of paper checks. The first is the check routing number that’s used to identify your bank. The second set of numbers should be your checking account number. This number may be anywhere from eight to 12 digits, depending on your bank or credit union. Your checking account number should be distinct from the routing number. The last set of numbers on your check represents the check number (labeled “3” in the image above). This is typically fewer digits than either the bank routing number or checking account number. Getting your bank account number online can be tricky, as banks and credit unions may encrypt this information to protect against fraud or identity theft. For example, when you log in to online or mobile banking, you may only see the last four digits of your account number displayed. Some banks, however, display the full bank account number online and in the mobile app. Another possibility for getting your bank account number online is downloading a copy of your electronic or paper statement. Depending on the bank, your full account number may be included here, though again, some banks may only provide the last four digits. If you can’t view your bank account numbers online and you don’t have checks, you could ask the bank for the number. Be prepared to provide proof of identity to verify your status as the account owner first. This may mean providing your Social Security or driver’s license number or answering one or more security questions. Knowing your bank routing number and account numbers is important if you ever need them for specific financial transactions. But like any other financial information, it’s important to keep your details safe. Someone could, for example, use your bank routing number and checking account number to order fraudulent checks. Or they may be able to initiate a fraudulent ACH withdrawal of money from your account. Here are a few tips for managing routing numbers and account numbers securely: Aside from security, it’s also important to make sure you’re entering your routing number and account numbers correctly. Entering an incorrect routing number or account number could result in money being sent or received to the wrong account. Double-checking each set of numbers in situations where you’re required to share them for a financial transaction can help avoid banking headaches. Forbes Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners. I've written for Life Money by Citi, Bankrate and The Balance, among others. I'm a freelance financial journalist and a regular contributor to U. You can find me on Linked In or follow me on Twitter @seemomwrite. Daphne Foreman is the Banking and Personal Finance Analyst for Forbes Advisor. She has worked as a personal finance editor, writer, and content strategist covering banking, credit cards, insurance and investing. As a small business owner and former financial advisor, Daphne has first-hand experience with the challenges individuals face in making smart financial choices. Bank accounts—including checking accounts, savings accounts and money market accounts—can offer convenient and secure ways to manage your money. While you may swipe your debit card or write checks without thinking twice, it’s helpful to know how banks keep track of your accounts. That’s where routing numbers and account numbers come into play. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions use routing numbers to distinguish themselves from one another. They also use account numbers to identify individual customers and accounts. Knowing your bank routing number and account number matters for things like scheduling electronic payments, setting up direct deposit or sending and receiving person-to-person payments. If you have at least one checking account or another type of bank account, then it helps to know how to find this information when you need it. A bank routing number is a nine-digit number that identifies which financial institution is responsible for the payment of a financial instrument. In other words, it’s the number banks use to identify themselves. The American Bankers Association developed the ABA routing number system in 1910 as a way to tell one bank from another. The ABA routing number system covers federally and state-chartered banks and financial institutions that process check transactions. It also extends to banks that participate in other activities, such as automated clearinghouses, electronic funds transfers and online banking. If your bank or credit union maintains an account with the Federal Reserve Bank, then it has an ABA routing number. is the only country that uses routing numbers to identify banks when sending and receiving money. In fact, only financial institutions that meet this requirement and have a federal or state charter can apply for a routing number with the ABA. Foreign banks use something called IBAN instead, which is short for International Bank Account Number. An account number is a set of digits used to identify a specific bank account, such as a checking account or money market account. Banks assign account numbers to each account you own. So, for example, if you open a checking account and a savings account at the same bank, you’d have two different account numbers but just one routing number. If you have checking accounts at two different banks, each would have a unique account number and a unique routing number. Your account number tells the bank where to add money or deduct money each time new credit or debit transactions are posted. This is similar to the way your Social Security number is used to identify you for lending and credit reporting purposes. For that reason, it’s important to keep your bank account numbers secure. Otherwise, someone might be able to use your information to access your accounts fraudulently. There are a variety of scenarios where you may need to provide your bank routing number. For instance, you may need a routing number to: In terms of how to find your routing number, there are three possibilities. If your checking account comes with paper checks, this is the first place you can look for your bank routing number. When you look at the front of a check, you’ll see a space at the bottom with a row of numbers. Specifically, you should see three groups of numbers, separated by a space or special character. Looking at the bottom of the check, the first group of numbers (labeled “1” in the image above) is the bank routing number. Again, an easy way to tell if it’s your bank routing number is to count the digits and confirm that there are nine. If there are more or fewer than nine digits, odds are you’re looking at your checking account number (labeled “2” above). If you have a checkless checking account or you’ve run out of checks, finding your bank routing number may be as simple as visiting your bank’s website. Banks and credit unions can publish their routing numbers online as a convenience to customers. Unlike a bank account number, a bank routing number is public information and doesn’t need to be secured or protected. You may be able to find this number right on the main homepage of the bank’s website. But, if not, you may be able to log in to your account online or via mobile banking to check the routing number. A third way to get your bank routing number when you don’t have checks or it’s not published online is to simply contact the bank. A teller should be able to provide your bank’s routing number over the phone, in person or at the drive-through window. This option is helpful if you want to be able to read the routing number back to them to verify that it’s correct. If you’re entering your bank routing number for financial transactions, then you’ll most likely need to provide your checking account number as well. Again, there are a few ways to find this information if you don’t have it readily available. As mentioned, there are three sets of numbers printed at the bottom of paper checks. The first is the check routing number that’s used to identify your bank. The second set of numbers should be your checking account number. This number may be anywhere from eight to 12 digits, depending on your bank or credit union. Your checking account number should be distinct from the routing number. The last set of numbers on your check represents the check number (labeled “3” in the image above). This is typically fewer digits than either the bank routing number or checking account number. Getting your bank account number online can be tricky, as banks and credit unions may encrypt this information to protect against fraud or identity theft. For example, when you log in to online or mobile banking, you may only see the last four digits of your account number displayed. Some banks, however, display the full bank account number online and in the mobile app. Another possibility for getting your bank account number online is downloading a copy of your electronic or paper statement. Depending on the bank, your full account number may be included here, though again, some banks may only provide the last four digits. If you can’t view your bank account numbers online and you don’t have checks, you could ask the bank for the number. Be prepared to provide proof of identity to verify your status as the account owner first. This may mean providing your Social Security or driver’s license number or answering one or more security questions. Knowing your bank routing number and account numbers is important if you ever need them for specific financial transactions. But like any other financial information, it’s important to keep your details safe. Someone could, for example, use your bank routing number and checking account number to order fraudulent checks. Or they may be able to initiate a fraudulent ACH withdrawal of money from your account. Here are a few tips for managing routing numbers and account numbers securely: Aside from security, it’s also important to make sure you’re entering your routing number and account numbers correctly. Entering an incorrect routing number or account number could result in money being sent or received to the wrong account. Double-checking each set of numbers in situations where you’re required to share them for a financial transaction can help avoid banking headaches. Forbes Advisor adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. To the best of our knowledge, all content is accurate as of the date posted, though offers contained herein may no longer be available. The opinions expressed are the author’s alone and have not been provided, approved, or otherwise endorsed by our partners. I've written for Life Money by Citi, Bankrate and The Balance, among others. I'm a freelance financial journalist and a regular contributor to U. You can find me on Linked In or follow me on Twitter @seemomwrite. Daphne Foreman is the Banking and Personal Finance Analyst for Forbes Advisor. She has worked as a personal finance editor, writer, and content strategist covering banking, credit cards, insurance and investing. As a small business owner and former financial advisor, Daphne has first-hand experience with the challenges individuals face in making smart financial choices.

date: 25-Aug-2021 22:01next


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