A routing number is a nine-digit number that is unique to a bank or credit union. This number is also known as a transit or routing number. The American Bankers Association (or ABA) created that number in 1910 to identify certain financial institutions. Although routing numbers were originally designed to process checks, they are now used for online banking, bill payment, direct deposit, and other services.
Routing numbers, sometimes called ABA routing numbers, are issued only to financial institutions that are eligible for an account with the Federal Reserve Bank and are federally or state-incorporated. When a new financial institution needs one of these numbers, it requests it from Accuity, a global financial intelligence company.
In some cases, a bank may have more than one routing number, especially if it does business in more than one region or business area. Because the routing number is specific to the bank, both the checking and savings accounts have the same routing number, even though the account numbers are different.
Routing or transit numbers don’t change often, but in bank mergers, consolidations, and acquisitions, routing numbers may be consolidated or retired by the new entity.
What is the difference between ABA and ACH routing numbers?
There are two different types of routing numbers you can find on your account: an ABA routing number and an ACH routing number.
An ABA routing number identifies the financial institution and serves as the bank’s address for financial transactions. Instead, an ACH routing number identifies the automated clearinghouse that processes an electronic funds transfer (also called an ACH transfer or ACH payment).
Sometimes the two numbers are the same, but this is not always the case. Bank transfers may also require a different routing number, so if you’re transferring money to someone else, make sure you use the correct one.
How do bank routing numbers work?
When a bank processes a money transfer, the routing number identifies the recipient’s bank or credit union. That’s why it’s necessary to include both the routing number and the personal account number when setting up direct deposit: the routing number identifies the institution, and the account number identifies your specific account.
If you are writing a check, your bank or credit union’s routing number appears on the check, which tells the recipient’s financial institution were to request the money once the check has been deposited or cashed.
Imagine that you write a letter to someone who lives in an apartment building. To make sure your letter gets to the right person, you’ll need the building address and apartment number
Where can I find my bank’s routing number?
There are several places where you can find the ABA routing number for your bank or credit union. Depending on the situation and what you have available, these are your options.
How to find the routing number on a check
Each check that is linked to your account has the routing number in the lower-left corner. The nine digits in that corner are the bank’s routing number. To the right of that number, the second series of numbers is usually your account number, and to the far right is a series of digits that is usually the check number.
How to find routing numbers online
Your bank or credit union will likely list your routing numbers on their website. You can also find your routing number by logging into your online account and looking for it in your account information.
You can also do a quick search for your financial institution on the Internet to find the right page. For example, if you search for “Bank of America routing number,” the first result is a routing number FAQ page, where you can find your routing number based on where you live.
How to find the routing number on your bank statement
Your routing number may or may not appear on your monthly statement, along with your account number. But if it doesn’t appear, there is another way to find it. If your bank has multiple routing numbers, you can use your account number on your monthly statement to identify the correct routing number.
How to find routing number using ABA lookup
The ABA Lookup Tool allows you to search for routing numbers by the financial institution. With this service, you can send up to two requests per day and for a maximum of 10 per month.
You will start by accepting the terms of service and then you will enter the name and state of the financial institution; you can also add the city and zip code, but they are optional. Please note that you can also use this search tool to find a financial institution based on its routing number.
When might I need my bank’s routing number?
You may need to know your routing number in various situations. For example, you may need it when you set up direct deposit with your employer or to receive government benefits.
You may also need the number to receive ACH transactions and other types of electronic transfers, set up a bill payment, or send digital checks. You may also need your routing number to order paper checks for your account, especially if you order through a third-party service instead of your bank or credit union.
Do I need a routing number to transfer money abroad?
The United States is the only country that uses ABA routing numbers. International transactions require different numbers. So, if you’re thinking of sending money to someone living abroad via international transfers, you’ll likely need to get their International Bank Account Number (IBAN) and Bank Identifier Code (IBAN). recipient’s BIC, which is sometimes also called a SWIFT code.
Contact the recipient so they can get this information from their financial institution so they can complete the transaction.