At one time, consumers had stacks of paperwork on hand related to banking and bill paying. In a technology-driven world, though, that information isn't as accessible as it once was. If you need to obtain an old bank account number, you can find the account and routing number on checks, look for old statements or contact the bank and provide identification that gets the information you need.
Finding a Bank Account Number
Finding your current bank account information is likely just a matter of glancing at a check or deposit slip. You can also log in to your online banking page and get the information, although you may have to take extra steps to direct it to show that information since often it's obscured for security purposes. It will likely also be obscured in any paper statements you receive in the mail.
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But what happens if the information is on an old account? You may have reason to believe that an account you had years ago has money in it, but all you know is the Wells Fargo or Bank of America routing number, for example. In some instances, though, the bank name may be all you have. In that case, you'll need to track down the bank's contact information and start from there.
Finding Accounts With Specific Banks
If you have paperwork on a bank account, chances are you'll only find the last four numbers of the account. But a personal check or deposit slip can give you the information you need. A routing number on a check is a nine-digit code that is printed first at the bottom. The account number will be printed right after that number, ranging from seven to 14 digits.
The routing number is assigned by the American Bankers Association and is the same for everyone with a specific bank in a state. If you live in California, for instance, your Bank of America routing number will be 121000358 for ACH, or automatic clearing house electronic payments, 121000358 for paper products like checks and deposit slips and 026009593 for wire transfer. From there, each account is assigned a unique number, including different numbers for checking and savings.
Finding Lost Account Numbers
For older accounts, though, you probably don't have old checkbooks and routing booklets around the house. In that case, you can't simply look up any account or routing numbers on checks. If you know the name of the bank, you can visit a branch, presenting proof of identification, and get the information you need.
Often those looking for a bank account number are doing so after someone has died. This gets a little trickier since banks are instructed to only give this information to those on the account. If you can't find the information in the deceased's records, you'll need to take a certified copy of the death certificate and probate records to the person's bank.
Finding Lost Bank Balances
For bank accounts that have been inactive for more than a few years, having information like the Bank of America routing number won't help much. Banks typically send the funds in an account to the state after a certain period of inactivity. Before doing this, the protocol is to try to contact the accountholder, but if that fails, the bank does something called escheating the account, which sends it to the state treasury's unclaimed property division.
If you think you may have had funds in an old account that you need to claim, go to your state treasury's unclaimed funds division. In Florida, for example, you'll go to the Florida Department of Financial Services unclaimed funds site and input your first and last name. You won't need your account number or any other specifics about missing funds to claim them. You will need to provide your Social Security number, date of birth and current address so that the state can verify that you are, indeed, the owner of the money.