Whether you are a company, a person, or just someone who loves to spend checks, the chances of you encountering your bank routing number are pretty big.
But if you are the type of person who doesn’t go to the bank that often, you might be stretching your head and asking ‘What is a bank routing number, and how do I find mine?’
What is a Bank Routing Number?
A bank routing number is a nine-digit code used by banks to identify specific banks within the United States.
How do I find my bank routing number?
You can find your bank’s routing number in these places:
- On your check or checkbook
- On your bank statements
- On your Bank’s online banking app or portal
- By calling your bank
- Using an online Routing Lookup tool like the ABA Routing No. Lookup tool (or your country’s equivalent)
Look for it on Your Checkbook
If you’ve been to your bank and opened an account recently, then you’ve no doubt noticed that the banker has given you a checkbook.
Since these checkbooks are specifically made for your bank, they have their routing number on them.
The routing number is often found on the bottom left corner of your check, where all those numbers are.
The routing number is the first nine digits on the bottom left of the check, and it will be the same on every single check from your bank.
Just have those nine digits handy, and you will be good to go!
The number next to your routing number is typically your account number, which will be talked about in a bit.
Finding the Routing Number Online
But what if you don’t use checks? If you do your banking online like most people, then you won’t have access to your checkbook.
But the online account you use to connect to your bank has all the information that you need.
On your computer, you can log into your bank account, and once you see your accounts, you can navigate to ‘account numbers’ or ‘account settings’ or something like that.
The exact instructions will vary depending on your bank, but for most of them, the website layout is the same.
The bank routing number is right next to your account number and will be clearly labeled for you.
The same thing goes on a phone, as you would log into your bank’s mobile app, and look around for information on your account.
Once you are there, the routing number should be clearly labeled.
What Do Routing Numbers Do?
Those are the three different ways that you can find the routing numbers for your bank, and since they can be so hard to find, they must do something really important.
A routing number is like an address for your bank, and it allows the people sending you money to figure out what branch of the bank that money goes to.
For example, let’s say you live in Grapevine, Texas, and have all your money in a Bank of Texas in your city.
Your Bank of Texas branch of the company has a specific routing number, and it’s different from all the others.
This prevents money that’s meant for you from being sent to a Bank of Texas in Wichita Falls, because the routing numbers are different for each branch of the bank.
Routing Numbers vs Account Numbers
While a routing number is all about identifying your bank, your account number specifies your specific account out of all the other accounts inside of that bank.
The account number is the number of your own personal account and can be anywhere from 10-12 digits long.
But typically both numbers are either used together or sent together whenever you make purchases, transactions, or transfer funds to make sure that all the money is going into the right place.
You can find your account number in the same places where you find your routing number, on the bottom of your checks and right next to your routing number online.
Additionally, your account number is on the monthly statement that is given to you by your bank every month.
Are Routing Numbers Confidential?
A routing number is not, and does not need to be confidential.
In fact, most routing numbers are posted freely on bank websites and can be found with a google search.
This is because even if someone had your routing number they wouldn’t be able to do much with it.
It’s a lot like telling someone what state you live in.
They can’t track you down with that vague information, so it is harmless.
However, account numbers will need to be kept confidential, as they are the identifying marker for your account.
With your account number, people will be able to get into your account, and then will be able to move money around.
So make sure that your account number is kept secured and safe so no one can use it.
What is a Routing Number Used for?
Your routing number is often used the first time you make a purchase, or if you are making a purchase or payment by phone or online.
You’ll need to provide both numbers, so the money knows where it needs to go.
Additionally, you will need a routing number if you are processing checks or handling international payments.
Again, a routing number is common knowledge, and you are just giving directions to people.
No need to feel compromised giving it out.
Most routing numbers are used in conjunction with your account numbers whenever you make purchases, and if you can find one you can very easily find the other.
A bank routing number is easy to find if you know where to look, and now that you have it, you can understand exactly what it is used for whenever you are asked for it.
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