How to Find Your Bank Routing Number in SecondsGet access to your bank routing number on your check or on this list of top banks.

 

For more than a century, financial institutions have been using routing numbers. You might not often think about those little numbers on checks, but they’re critical to the banking system. Without them, money can’t be transferred electronically between institutions or through the Automatic Clearing House network. If you have a bank account, it’s likely that at some point you’ll need to know how to read a check to find bank routing number information.

How Do I Find My Routing Number on a Check?

The answer for how to find your routing number is straightforward: Routing numbers are nine digits long and appear on every check issued by all banks. Three numerical strings appear on every check, usually printed in MICR  block-like characters in magnetic ink  to make it easy for computers to read. These numerical strings are the U.S. bank routing number, the account number and the check number. The bottom left corner is where you’ll usually find the routing number on a check, as seen on the following check image.

Next comes the account number, then the individual check number. Check routing number location varies, and in some cases, as with some computer-generated payroll checks, the routing number and account number are not separated and are instead printed in sequence. In those cases, the check routing number is always the first nine digits of any numerical sequence printed on a check.

check routing number

Learn: Every Type of Check Fraud You Have to Worry About

What Is a Routing Number?

Every bank is assigned a unique identifying numerical code, which is the routing number on a check that you write, deposit or cash. The routing number determines who will facilitate and who will receive payment in many kinds of transactions.

The American Bankers Association, the largest banking trade organization in the country, assigns a unique identifying number to federal or state-chartered financial institutions. That number is a bank’s ABA routing number, also called a routing transit number. Institutions must be eligible to hold a Federal Reserve bank account in order to obtain bank routing numbers.

First developed in 1910, routing numbers are used to establish which bank will expedite the payment of a check. Like an address or a fingerprint, ABA numbers identify financial institutions during transactions. They also identify customers. When taken together, check routing and account number information is unique to each account holder. With both the routing number and account number on check deposits, it’s clear both where the money is coming from and where the money is going.

See: 10 Best Checking Accounts of 2017

How Are Routing Numbers Determined?

Most small banks and many online banks operate with just a single routing number. Large, multinational banks, however, often use many different routing numbers where the account holder’s state determining the check routing number.

For example, as you can see in the table, the online bank Ally Bank routing number is always 124003116 on check slips. This number sequence is called a universal routing number. The Chase Bank routing number, on the other hand, is different depending on the state. In large states, a unique routing number can be assigned to different regions. U.S. Bank routing numbers in California, for example, include one number for accounts in the northern part of the state and another routing number for accounts in the southern part. A quick online routing number search reveals that Bank of America maintains two Texas routing number options.

Check out the following table to find the routing numbers for 50 of the largest brick-and-mortar and online banks:

BankRouting NumberLink
Ally Bank124003116Learn More
Alostar Bank of Commerce062006330Learn More
American Express Bank124085066Learn More
Associated Bank075900575Learn More
Astoria Bank221472815Learn More
Bank of AmericaVaries by stateLearn More
Bank of Hawaii121301028Learn More
Bank of Internet USA122287251Learn More
Bank5 Connect211370642Learn More
Barclays Bank Delaware031101321Learn More
BB&TVaries by stateLearn More
BBVA Compass BankVaries by stateLearn More
Capital One31176110Learn More
Chase BankVaries by stateLearn More
CIT Bank124084834Learn More
CitibankVaries by stateLearn More
Comercia BankVaries by stateLearn More
Discover Bank031100649Learn More
EverBank063092110Learn More
Fifth Third BankVaries by stateLearn More
First Bank081009428Learn More
First Internet Bank074014187Learn More
First Midwest Bank071901604Learn More
First Republic Bank321081669Learn More
FNBO Direct104000016Learn More
Great Western Bank091408734Learn More
HSBC Bank USA021001088Learn More
Huntington Bank044000024Learn More
IberiaBank265270413Learn More
Investors Bank221272031Learn More
KeyBankVaries by stateLearn More
M&T BankVaries by stateLearn More
Nationwide Bank44072324Learn More
New York Community Bank226071004Learn More
Northern Trust Bank0710-00152Learn More
Old National Bank86300012Learn More
Regions Bank62005690Learn More
Santander BankVaries by accountLearn More
State Farm Bank071174431Learn More
SunTrust Bank061000104Learn More
Synchrony Bank021213591Learn More
 TCF Bank122106183Learn More
 TD BankVaries by stateLearn More
 U.S. BankVaries by stateLearn More
 Umpqua Bank123205054Learn More
 Union Bank122000496Learn More
 USAA314074269Learn More
 Wells FargoVaries by stateLearn More
 WesBanco043400036Learn More
 Zions Bank124000054Learn More

When Is a Routing Number Needed?

You won’t likely need your routing number on a daily basis, but you will need it from time to time. Instances in which you’d need to find routing number information include:

  • Reordering checks: When you run out of checks, your check printer is likely to ask for your routing number before they give you new checks.
  • Setting up direct deposit: In order to have payroll checks deposited straight to your account, you’ll have to submit the routing and account numbers on your check.
  • Paying bills: Consumer bills paid through ACH also require account and routing numbers.
  • Tax payments: Whether you’re paying a tax bill or receiving a refund, you’ll need to know your bank account routing number.

Alternate Ways to Find Your Routing Number

Most banks also provide their routing number information online, although you might have to log in to perform a routing number lookup for your specific account.

If you prefer, simply call the bank and ask, “How do I find my routing number?” In many cases, you can find out the routing number by going through the automated prompts. Another way is to simply do an internet search such as, “what is the routing number for” followed by the name of your bank. You should never volunteer any banking information or ever respond to a suspicious email that poses a question like, “What is the routing number on a check you wrote to the IRS in April?

Keep Reading: What’s the Difference Between a Money Order and a Certified Check?

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