How to Find Your ABA Routing Number

How to Find Your ABA Routing Number

People are rarely asked to give their ABA routing number, in regards to the American Bankers Association (ABA). However, there are instances when financial institutions and other banks would ask you for your ABA routing number.

What is an ABA routing number?

An ABA routing number consists of eight to nine digits, allowing people to identify banks involved in a transaction. Thanks to this number, banks are able to make transactions, transferring money to and from customers’ accounts.

You need to know how to find the ABA routing number if you need to make direct deposits, wire transfers, and automatic bill payments.

Once you know how to find the ABA routing number, you can easily know that these digits are made up of two components. You may even be more familiar with each part than the whole routing number itself.

The first component is the branch number, which is also called the transit number. This is made up of 5 digits, representing where your account is held, such as where and when you first created your bank account.

Meanwhile, the second part is called the institution number. It consists of 3 digits and never changes as it indicates the bank of your account.

It might be a bit overwhelming at first if a financial institution or a bank asks you for your ABA Routing Number. But do not worry. There are many ways how to find the ABA routing number.

How to find your ABA routing number

Finding your ABA Routing Number is fairly easy if you know where to look.

On paper cheques

One of the ways to find your ABA routing number is to look at the bottom of one of your cheques, that is, if you use chequebooks.

Your ABA number should be printed on every paper cheque. This number should be easier to find as it usually consists of eight or nine numbers, located at the bottom left of the cheque.

The transit number, which is made up of five digits, tells you the bank’s branch where you had your account opened. Meanwhile, the institution number, which is made up of three digits, shows your bank.

You will also see your account number, which is made up of eleven digits. This number identifies your individual account.

If you only have nine digits in your account number, you should simply add two zeros in front. For instance, if you have 123456701 as your account number, the final number should be 00123456701.

However, you might find the digits on another part of your personal cheque if it is a computer-generated cheque, such as a business or online bill payment cheque.

Bank statements

If you do not have a cheque book, do not worry. You can see your routing number in your latest bank statement. Most of the time, Canadian banks would list the routing number along with the other account details on the statements. You should be receiving your bank statements in your mail or email every month.

Deposit slips

If you do not use personal cheques, do not worry. One of the ways to find your ABA routing number is by checking your deposit slips. The digits you are looking for are usually printed in the same location.

Bank website

Canadian banks usually post their routing numbers on their websites. However, you should take note that the larger your bank is, the more multiple routing numbers they have. The routing number depends on where you created your account or what type of transaction you want to be processed.

So if you choose to visit your bank website to find the ABA routing number, make sure that you get the routing number associated with the location where your bank account is held. You should also make sure that you have the correct routing number for the type of transaction you are making.

Your bank’s app

If you have your Canadian bank app installed, you can check your app to find the ABA routing number. Simply open your bank’s app and sign into your account. Look for the part where it says “account summary” or “account information” in your profile to find your routing number.

Online research

You can easily find your bank’s routing number with a simple Google search. Simply go to Google and type your bank’s name, then type the following phrase: “routing number” and hit Enter. The Internet should be able to give you your bank’s routing number in less than a second!

Ask your bank

One of the easiest ways to find your ABA routing number is to directly ask your bank. Some banks would provide you with this information online. However, you will need to give the bank further information. This allows the bank to protect its users.

You might have to log into your account so make sure you get the right ABA routing number. It is recommended that you search your bank’s website to get direct deposit forms or Automated Clearing House (ACH) information.

If you want to know how to find your ABA routing number without having to log online, you can try calling the bank’s customer service.

Free online lookup tools

If you look online, you will see some websites offering a free routing number lookup tool. If everything still feels confusing to you, you can try this option.

How to Find Your ABA Routing Number - comparewise

Find the correct ABA number

Banks usually conduct operations using several ABA routing codes. This is why you must find the correct ABA number that is specifically tied to your account.

Every ABA number is made unique because they are based on the bank branch where you opened your account. Bank mergers can also incur multiple codes for the same bank. Meanwhile, some banks use separate ABA numbers for ACH transactions or direct deposit and wire transfers.

Therefore, if you want to conduct wire transfers or electronic bill payments, it is important that you know how to find your ABA routing number specific to these tasks. This is because the digits for ordering cheques might be a different case.

If you are not confident whether you have found your unique ABA routing number, there is no harm in asking your bank. This will help you find the right code, especially if you are making different types of transactions.

Changes in routing numbers

There are many reasons why routing numbers change. When banks restructure their operations, there is a possibility of them changing their routing numbers. Other financial institutions may also change routing numbers when it closes branches, changes the purpose of routing numbers, or incurs a consolidation, acquisition, or merger.

It may seem a bit overwhelming, but you do not have to worry. Your bank will send you an advanced notification about any changes and how to find the ABA routing number.

If you have set up direct deposits with your employer or are using any services linked to the account, you must update them with your new routing number.

Below is a step-by-step procedure of what you should do when your bank changes its routing number:

Step 1: Follow instructions from your bank.

As was said before, your bank will notify you in advance about any changes, including how to find the ABA routing number. They should be able to give you detailed steps on what to do so you can update your ABA routing number.

It is important that you find the ABA routing number and update the old one as soon as possible. But if you cannot update it ASAP, do not worry. The old number may still be working for some time after your bank’s announcement. Therefore, you can confidently use your old personal cheques unless your bank strictly advises you not to.

Step 2: Update your routing number for automatic deposits and withdrawals.

You must find your ABA routing number and update your employer, especially if you are using your bank for automatic deposits and withdrawals. You should also update other service providers or merchants for fast and  smooth automatic debt payments.

However, if you use your debit card, you do not need to update the services that you pay with it—unless you change your debit card number.

Step 3: Go through your previous bank statements.

By going through your previous bank statements, you can ensure that you have updated all automatic transactions.

The average Canadian household processes several automatic transactions every month. If this is you, you might have overlooked a few automated transactions that use your routing number. Make sure that you double-check your past statements to see that you have updated all of your transactions.

What is a routing number used for?

Routing numbers are used in many situations. Here are some of them:

Signing up for a digital wallet

You do not have to find your ABA routing number if you are opening an online account with your bank. However, you should give your ABA routing number to your bank if you want to set up digital wallets that are connected to your bank account.

Making electronic funds transfer

If you must make an electronic funds transfer (EFT), you must know how to find your ABA routing number and account number.

You will be asked for your recipient’s routing number and account number, apart from other bank details.

Setting up a direct deposit with an employer

Setting up direct deposits at work gives you an assurance that your paychecks are smoothly sent to your bank. The process for direct deposits is simple. However, you will need to type in your bank information, including your routing number, account number, account type, and mailing address.

Setting up a direct deposit with the CRA

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) helps a lot of people to get tax refunds faster. If you want to set up a direct deposit with the agency, you will have to know how to find the ABA routing number and provide your bank with the information.

Receiving electronic funds transfer

If someone is sending you money through an EFT transaction, you must provide your bank details, including your ABA routing number and account number, to the sender of the money.

Using online money transfer apps

Using money transfer apps online is convenient. It makes your life easier by allowing you to send money to family, friends, and businesses anytime, anywhere. When you create an account on online money transfer apps, you will need to know how to find the ABA routing number as well as provide other bank details.

Making automatic bill payments

The bank will require your account number as well as your routing number before they can process automatic bill payments.

Applying for life insurance

You will be asked to provide your routing number as well as your account number when you apply for life insurance. This proves that you have received your new policy and accepted the offer.

After it has been confirmed that you have accepted the offer, you must fill out a pre-authorised cheque (PAC) or pre-authorised debit (PAD)  form from your chosen insurance company.

PACs and PADs are types of automated funds transfers (AFTs) that will require ABA numbers and account numbers. This is because they will need to identify the right account when withdrawing funds.

Making transactions with US banks

You will also have to give your ABA routing number when making payments or online transactions to a US bank. Most of these transactions are done through Fedwire.

Fedwire requires a routing number to identify the correct recipient bank. Aside from the routing number, the account number is also required so that the payment can be processed smoothly. In some instances, payments get delayed due to inaccurate information provided.

Are there other countries that require routing numbers?

The USA is the only country that requires routing numbers, whether you are sending or receiving payments. Many international countries use IBANs instead to send and receive payments.

Therefore, you do not have to worry about finding your routing number if you are making transactions with international banks aside from the US.

However, if you need to transfer money to a US account from a bank outside the states, you will have to provide their routing number. This is to ensure a smooth and successful transaction.

If you will be receiving money in your US account from a bank outside the USA, you will also have to provide your routing number.

History of the ABA number

In the past, there was a lot of confusion about processing paper cheques. To solve this problem, the American Bankers Association founded ABA numbers in 1910. The solution was to assign distinctive identifiers to payment-issuing banks.

Thanks to ABA numbers, the association was able to reduce the confusion in processing paper cheques.

ABA numbers greatly helped speed up cheque processing since the 1960s. Physical cheques in the past had to be transferred to banks by plane or truck. But with ABA numbers, they could now be submitted and cleared electronically.

As a result, funds were cleared much faster. Customers also lost the excuse of “playing the float” or issuing cheques several days before their funds enter their accounts.

ABA numbers have changed a lot as time went by. These numbers now include the Federal Reserve’s payment processes. They are also now used to facilitate modern electronic payments.

Finding your institution number

Looking for the institution number could be much more challenging than the whole ABA Routing Number. This is because you cannot easily find it on your bank’s online site.

However, you can easily find your institution number on Google with one click of a finger. Below are some of the most common institution numbers:

  • Bank of Montreal (001)
  • Scotiabank or Bank of Nova Scotia (002)
  • Royal Bank of Canada (003)
  • Toronto Dominion Bank or TD (004)
  • Tangerine Bank (614)

The routing number is a bit different. For instance, the ABA Routing Number of RBC or Royal Bank of Canada (if funds are coming from the US) would be 021000021, while its institution number is 003.

How to find your ABA routing number conclusion

Routing numbers are used to identify banks and financial institutions in Canada and the USA. You will need to know how to find the ABA routing number as well as provide your account number to complete financial transactions, so it is crucial that you know where to find them.

How to find the ABA routing number and your account number is easy. You can take a look at your paper cheque, call your bank’s customer service, or visit their website. With this information in hand, you can confidently complete your financial transactions with ease.

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FAQs about how to find your ABA routing number

What is an ABA routing number in Canada?

When asked to enter the ABA Routing Number, you will have to enter the Institutional Number, which begins with a zero, if only three digits. This is then followed by the five-digit Branch Transit Number. In total, there should be two entries, adding up to nine characters.

Is the ABA routing number the same as the transit number in Canada?

People can sometimes mistake an ABA routing transit number for an ABA number. The transit number is a part of the whole ABA routing number since the latter is made up of two components: the branch number, also known as the transit number, and the institution number. The transit number only consists of five digits, while the whole ABA routing number has eight or nine digits.

Do Canadian banks use routing numbers?

Yes, Canadian banks use Routing Numbers for electronic and paper transactions. Some Routing Numbers consist of 8 digits, while some have 9. These numbers help identify a bank’s involvement in a transaction.


May 13, 2023
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