How to Identify Routing Numbers & Account Numbers on Checks

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Banks often ask customers to provide an account number and routing number in order to make transactions, such as wire transfers. The account number tells banks which account money is to be drawn from, while the routing number allows banks to process automated transfers. Not being able to provide these numbers can slow down the transaction. There is no need to memorize these numbers by heart. You can identify both by simply looking at a check.


Step 1

Locate the MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) line, which is a series of numbers at the bottom of your check. The MICR line is typically split into three separate sets of numbers.

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Step 2

Identify the first set, which contains nine digit numbers. This is the routing number. Remember that routing numbers always begin with 0, 1, 2 or 3.

Step 3

Identify the second set of numbers listed on the check, which contains nine digits. This is the account number.


The third set of numbers on your check, which typically consists of three or four digits, is the check number. Banks sometimes also place this number in the top right corner of the check. Check numbers are meant to help you keep track of checks that you write and help banks report checks that clear an account.