When it comes to your bank accounts, it is important to know both the routing number and the account number. The routing number is unique to your bank or financial institution, and it identifies that institution to other banks. The account number is unique to your specific checking, savings or money market account, allowing the money to find its way in or out of the account properly.
The purpose of the routing number is to identify the bank, credit union or other institution holding your checking and money market account. Each bank has its own unique routing number, and that number allows the banks to communicate with one another, making it possible to transfer money, initiate automatic deposits and payments and perform a host of other financial transactions. If you hold your checking and money market accounts with the same bank, the routing number for each should be the same.
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You need to have both the routing number and account number to set up a direct deposit of your paycheck or other payment. The routing number identifies the name of the bank, while the account number identifies the specific account. Always double-check the routing number and the account number before setting up any direct deposit or automatic payment, since an erroneous entry could cause the direct deposit or payment to fail.
You also need your routing number if you plan to transfer money into or out of your checking or money market account. If you plan to transfer money from another financial institution, that bank needs to have both the routing number, which identifies the bank where the account is held, and the account number, which identifies the account itself. Without this information, the transfer cannot take place.
Finding Your Routing Number
If you have a check handy, you can find your routing number in a matter of seconds. Just look at the number printed on the lower left hand side of each check. This is your routing number. Since the routing number simply identifies the bank, that number is the same for both your checking and your money market account. If you do not have a check, you can find the routing number by calling your bank or visiting a local branch and asking one of the tellers.