What is a checking account number?

What is a checking account number?

A checking account number consists of a routing number and the bank account number. They help to identify an account holder. They receive the numbers when you open an account. Whether you need to set up a direct deposit, such as your paycheck, or order checks online, you will need both your bank’s routing number and your personal account number for those transactions.

Why you need them?

Routing and account numbers indicate exactly the origin and the destination of each financial transaction. That is why any time you make an electronic funds transfer, both the routing and account numbers must be provided to the relevant financial institutions.

Account Number vs Routing Number

1. Account Number

An account number usually between eight to 12 digits identifies an individual account. Moreover, if you hold two accounts or more at the same bank, the routing numbers will, in most cases, be the same, but your account numbers will be different.

In addition, keep in mind your account number is unique to you. For that reason, it is important to guard it and not make it public.

2. Routing Number

The routing number, also known as an ABA routing number according to the American Bankers Association. It is a sequence of nine digits used by banks to identify specific financial institutions within the United States. Importantly, this number proves that the bank is a federal or state-chartered institution and that it maintains an account with the Federal Reserve.

However, small banks generally possess just one routing number. While large multinational banks can have several different ones, usually locating the state in which you hold the account.      Equally, routing numbers are commonly required when :

  • Reordering checks,
  • Payment of consumer bills,
  • Direct deposit (such as a paycheck),
  • Tax payments

Nonetheless, the routing numbers for domestic and international wire transfers differ from those listed on your checks. However, they available online or by contacting your bank.

How to identify a routing number and an account number? 

You can easily recognize both your account number and your routing number online via your online banking or your mobile banking app or on your check.

a. Check

Typically on the bottom of your check, you will see a series of number from your left to your right. Sometimes the sequence might be different at some banks

  • The first series of 9 digits represents your ABA/routing number.
  • The second series of 10 numbers is your bank account number.
  • The last series of 4 binaries is your check number

This series of numbers is embedded with magnetic ink, known as your check’s routing numberMICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) line. Pronounced “micker,” the magnetic ink enables each bank’s processing equipment to read and process the account information.

b. Online banking on your mobile app

Usually, you have to click on the appropriate account. Scroll down to the bottom you will click on the account number to get the account number or click on the routing number to get the routing number. However, the location of the number might be different depending on your bank but the process is fairly similar.


A routing number is public and identifies each financial institution while a bank account number represents each customer. Both numbers come handy when you do financial transactions.

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