Find All Banks Routing Numbers Fast!

If you regularly perform transactions with the bank, then you have probably heard about the routing number. But do you know about its origins and functions? In this article, we’re going to talk about all the relevant details that you need to know regarding the routing number. But before we discuss more details about it, check the Routing Numbers List for more information about specific routing numbers for your bank.


What is a Routing Number?

The routing number is the nine-digit num that’s used to identify the bank where your account was opened. This set of numbers is also called RTN, ABA routing number, or a routing transit number. But why do American banks use these numbers?

Back in 1911, the American Bankers Association established the use of this code. Before this 1911, banks could not agree about identification. Because of this, bankers chose a committee for this task. This committee assigned each bank in the country a set of convenient numbers to use. 

The RTN is composed of a prefix and a suffix. The prefixes are the codes that represent the geographical location. Half of the prefixes used by the ABA represent major cities while the other half represent regions in the United States. Meanwhile, the suffix represents the banking firms within those locations. 

ABA vs. ACH Routing Number

The RTN is further classified into two types. The term routing number could refer to either the ABA routing number or the ACH routing number.

ABA stands for American Bakers Association. The ABA routing number is printed on paper cheques and is sometimes referred to as the “check routing number.” 

Meanwhile, ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. The ACH routing number is applicable to electronic transfers and withdrawals. It is also referred to as “electronic routing number” or “number for electronic transfers.”

You might have encountered cases wherein these two routing numbers are used interchangeably by banks. Using the same routing number for both the ABA and ACH is practiced by most major banks today. However, it’s also common to see separate ABA and ACH routing numbers for other banks.

Using the RTN

Because it makes the identification of banks easier, processing of transactions between US banks becomes easier. The reason behind this is that instead of reading the cheque or asking the client to determine the bank name and branch, bank staff and machines can quickly determine this through the routing number. This facilitates the flow of funds from the right bank to another.

You must have your bank routing number memorized because they are needed to perform different types of transactions with any bank. Banks as your routing number together with your account number in these situations:

  • Making a payment by phone or online
  • Making automatic bill payments
  • Wiring transfers
  • Setting up of third-party, recurring withdrawals from your bank account
  • Processing cheques
  • Transferring money internationally

Depending on what type of transaction you are hoping to accomplish, the bank will tell you which type of routing number they need for you. As we have mentioned before, the routing numbers on the cheques might be different from the routing numbers required for electronic transactions. To avoid delays, you can double-check with your bank or look them up online.

Because routing numbers are used to identify a specific bank, you may also use this to search for the bank’s name. To do this, go to the American Bankers Association website and access their ABA routing number lookup tool. Input the routing number on the space provided. This is good news, especially if the cheque has no bank name on it. You can also determine the location of a bank branch by using the routing number and look it up on the bank website.

Before we teach you how to find the routing number on your check, we keep an updated list of bank routing numbers on our website. Check the routing numbers for banks such as Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Union Bank, Bank of America and US Bank.

Determining the RTN

There are several ways to determine your routing number. You can do this by looking at the cheque or looking it up online. We have provided the details below:

  • Get your checkbook and look at the nine-digit set of numbers printed on the bottom-left corner of the cheque. If it is in the fraction format, you can find it on the upper-right corner of the cheque next to the date
  • If you have an online banking account, you can also check your routing number on that webpage
  • Go to the American Banking Association website and access the routing number online lookup. Type in the details that are required to determine the routing number. These details include the financial institution name, city, state, and zip code

If you have your checkbook with you, then you might have noticed that there are three sets of numbers printed on the bottom portion of the cheque. From left to right, the first set has nine digits, the next set has ten or eleven digits, and the last set has four digits.

The first set with nine digits is your routing number. This number could appear in two forms: the fraction form and MICR form. While they technically give the same information, there are slight differences between the two formats.

MICR vs. Fraction Routing Number Format

The magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) is the main form. This RTN format is printed in magnetic ink and is machine-readable. The MICR form comes in this format: XXXXYYC.

Meanwhile, the fraction form was used before the invention of the MICR form. While it’s an old format, it still serves as a backup in the processing of a paper cheque in the instance that the MICR becomes illegible or damaged. This appears on the upper right part of the cheque near the date. The fraction form comes in this format: PP-YYY/XXXX.


Numeric Codes found on the RTN

The sets of letters on the formats above are codes for several things. Here are the different codes found on a routing number:

  • The XXXX is the Federal Reserve Routing Symbol
  • YYYY is the ABA Institution Identifier
  • C is the Check Digit
  • PP is a one or two-digit that represents the bank’s check processing center location. However, this is no longer used in check processing but are still printed on cheques.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the routing number on a check?

If the routing number is in the MICR format, it is the set of numbers that are found on the bottom-left corner that is composed of nine digits. If the routing number is in the fraction format, it will be found in the upper right corner near the date.

How to find the routing number for Wells Fargo?

To find out the routing numbers for Wells Fargo, you can check the Routing Numbers List for more details.

What is a routing number?

A routing number is a nine-digit code that is used to identify the bank where your account was opened. US banks use this number because it makes the identification of banks easier, processing of transactions between US banks becomes easier. The reason behind this is that instead of reading the check or asking the client to determine the bank name and branch, bank staff and machines can quickly determine this through the routing number. This facilitates the flow of funds from the right bank to another.

How many digits is a routing number?

The routing number is a set of nine digits which can come in the MICR and fraction form. Some checks can contain both forms of the routing number.

How to transfer money using the routing number and account number?

You must have your bank routing number memorized because they are needed to perform different types of transactions with any bank. Banks as your routing number together with your account number in these situations:
> Making a payment by phone or online
> Making automatic bill payments
> Wiring transfers
> Setting up of third-party, recurring withdrawals from your bank account
> Processing checks
> Transferring money internationally 
Depending on what type of transaction you are hoping to accomplish, the bank will tell you which type of routing number they need for you. As we have mentioned before, the routing numbers on the checks might be different from the routing numbers required for electronic transactions.

How to get your routing number?

You can get your routing number in several ways:
> Get your checkbook and look at the set of numbers printed on the bottom-left corner of the check. This is your routing number in the MICR format. You can also find the check routing number on the upper right corner of the cheque. This is your routing number in the fraction format.
> If you have an online banking account, you can also check your routing number there.
> Go to the American Banking Association website and access the routing number online lookup. Type in the details that are required to determine the routing number. These details include the financial institution name, city, state, and zip code. 


Conclusion

We have presented to you everything that you need to know about the routing number, such as why it was established, what the number codes mean, its function in bank transactions, and how to look for it without looking at a physical check. We hope that we have given you the information that you needed for this topic.

Did we miss out on anything or would like to share your experience with using routing numbers? Let us know about it in the comment section below.