What Is a Routing Number?

Read the Article

A routing number is a unique number that identifies a specific banking institution. Each routing number is made up of nine digits. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as an American Bankers Association routing transit number or an ABA RTN. Large multinational banks can have several different routing numbers, typically based on the state in which someone holds an account. Meanwhile, small banks usually have just one routing number.

How to Find Your Routing Number

How to Find Your Routing Number

To find your routing number, here are four ways to look for it:

  • By looking at your personal checks. The routing number is almost always located on the bottom left side of the check, but sometimes it’s listed in the middle. Remember that you won’t get a routing number on a debit card, as your debit card uses an entirely different numbering system
  • By logging into your online bank account. When you’re logged in to your online account, you should be able to find your routing number under your checking account information.
  • By searching a bank’s website. We’ve linked the routing numbers of 10 of the largest commercial banks in the United States:
  • By contacting your bank directly. If you’re unable to find your bank’s routing number or want to double-check that you have the right one, contact your bank.

When Do You Need to Know Your Routing Number?

When Do You Need to Know Your Routing Number?

Account and routing numbers work together to identify your account and ensure that your money ends up in the right place. An account number is your bank customer ID, and it is unique to every account holder. Routing numbers aren’t unique to each person: they correlate with banking institutions to indicate exactly where funds are coming from and going to during a transaction. Both are required to complete most basic banking transactions.

Here are some common scenarios when you’ll need to know at least your routing number:

  • Setting up automatic bill payments
  • Establishing direct deposits
  • Reordering or processing checks
  • Sending money internationally
  • Making tax payments
  • Transferring money

What To Do If Your Routing Number Changes

If two banks merge or if one bank acquires another, your routing number might change. It’s a rare occurrence, but if it happens, it’s helpful to know what to do. As an account holder, you’ll be given notice of the change with enough time to make adjustments.

  • Follow the steps issued by your bank. You’ll know months in advance if your routing number is going to change. Your bank will inform you of any necessary steps, such as changing your automatic bill payments to the new routing number.
  • Update your automatic transactions. Consider all of your automatic deposits, withdrawals, and money transfers. Make sure to switch each of them to the new routing number. Be sure your employer has the right direct deposit information. It’s better to make the changes earlier than later, so nothing gets stuck in limbo.
  • Order new checks. Your old checks might work for a while, as your bank phases out the old routing number. You’ll need new checks eventually, so it may be wise to go ahead and place your order. Check to see if your bank will give you a free box of checks for the switch.
  • Keep your financial records current. Update your financial documents to ensure they’re accurate. Be sure any account and routing information is kept in a secure, confidential location.

Knowing how to locate your routing number and important banking information helps you to be more in charge of your finances. Understanding how much money you should keep in your checking account at all times is crucial, too. From budgeting your automatic payments to saving for family fun, you can be well on your way to financial prosperity. After all, when you’re confident about your finances, you’ll be able to better enjoy all that life has to offer.


Written by Mint

Mint is passionate about helping you to achieve financial goals through education and with powerful tools, personalized insights, and much more. More from Mint


 Value Penguin | Fin