Bank Routing Number – streamlining the circulation of paper checks

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Am sure you often hear about a bank routing number. This is especially when making credit card payments, right? In the past, routing numbers were created by the American Bankers Association to streamline the circulation of paper checks on a large scale. No wonder they are commonly called ABA routing numbers or American Clearing House (ACH) routing numbers. You can find them on personal checks, bank websites, and ABA’s online database.

A routing number is a nine-digit code used to identify a financial institution in the United States. These numbers are used by banks to direct the exchange of funds from one bank to another. If you have a personal check, look at the bottom left corner to find the routing number.

Bank Routing Number - streamlining the circulation of paper checks

To find your bank’s routing number

go to the bottom of the check from your bank. You will always see this on the checkbook your bank gave to you. The number has nine digits, it is printed with Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR). It is usually printed in electronic ink to permit banks to easily process the checks.

On the other hand, you can find your account number on the bottom center of your personal check. It is usually next to your routing number. Your account number is used to identify your account.

Another feature is your check number. This is usually at the bottom right corner of your personal check. You can use it to keep track of all your payments. To avoid errors, always double-check the numbers when you write them, mistakes can make you lose money to the wrong person.

However, to find your routing number without a check, go to your bank’s website or call your local branch. Each bank in each region has its own routing number. This is to say that one bank can have many routing numbers if she has many regions or locations. Be sure that your routing number is from the bank of your location.

Do you know that you can find a bank with its routing number by searching for it? To do this, go to ABA’s website. You can as well do this by entering the bank name, and address, or location. Also, some persons can get a check without a bank name. The Federal Reserve System can process a transaction as long as the check has a routing number and account number. Always protect your account number like your social security number.

The Difference between ABA and ACH Routing Numbers

ABA Routing numbers are used for paper checks while AHC routing numbers are used for electronic transfers and withdrawals. Some banks however use the same routing numbers for both. ACH is often called an electronic routing number. Many call ABA routing numbers ‘’check routing numbers’’.

It is also important to note that ACH transfers are usually between financial institutions conducted through a 3rd party clearinghouse. They are quite different from Wire transfers. Wire transfers are direct electronic transfers between only financial institutions. No 3rd party clearinghouse and it takes minutes to hours to do but ACH transfers take days to process. Wire transfers are more secured because each bank must verify the transaction before it is cleared. Banks charge from $15 to $60 to send wire transfers while ACH transfers are free. It is best to use wire transfers for purchases with large amounts.

SWIFT (Society for Worldwide interbank financial telecommunication) is a code that identifies the bank in an international transaction. It is made to standardize an international identification system for financial institutions. United States uses the ABA system locally and SWIFT for multinational transactions.

Lastly, there is the IBAN (International Bank Account Number). It identifies your account number in an international transaction. They will just add some numbers to your account number to recognize it globally.

I hope you found this article very resourceful.

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