When you send or receive an e-check or electronic funds transfer, you must provide your bank account number. You also must supply your bank identifier number for domestic electronic fund transfers -- this is known as your routing and transit number or ABA routing number. The bank identifier is necessary so the bank that transfers the money knows which bank to transfer it to, and your account number directs your bank to credit the transferred funds to your account. Both of the numbers for your checking account are located at the bottom of each of your paper checks.
Examine any check from your regular or money market checking account, or from an investment account that issues checks.
Locate the nine-digit number that begins after a vertical line and a colon (|:). It's usually located at the bottom left-hand side of your personal check. This is the ABA routing number, and it ends with a colon and a vertical line (:|). Provide your payor with all nine digits of the number.
Locate a number that ends with three boxes in a diagonal pattern. This number is the account number. Provide all of the digits, in order, including any repeated zeros, to your payor.
- Disregard any number that matches the number of the check, even if it is preceded or followed by one or more zeros. For instance, if your check number is 101 and you see the number 101 or 0010100 on the bottom of your check, do not provide it to your payee or payor.
- Contact your bank for the routing numbers used for domestic or international wire transfers. These are not the same numbers that are listed on your checks.
- The ABA number usually precedes the account number. On some checks, however, especially business checks, the order of the numbers may be different. Regardless of order, only the ABA number has exactly nine digits and is preceded and followed by a colon and vertical line pattern.
- If your payor or payee requests an ACH number, check with your bank to make sure it is the same as your ABA routing number.
John DeMerceau is an American expatriate entrepreneur, marketing analyst and Web developer. He now lives and works in southeast Asia, where he creates websites and branding/marketing reports for international clients. DeMerceau graduated from Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in history.