What You Don’t Know About the Routing Number on a Check

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For people who have never used a check – or haven’t used one in a long time – are probably not too familiar with the numbers at the very bottom of the check. There are usually three sets along the bottom of checks and while they may seem pretty random, they actually serve a purpose: one is the nine-digit routing number, the next set is your account number (hopefully you identify that one!) and third is the check number. While the latter two number sets are pretty self explanatory, the routing number on a check is by far the most confusing. A routing transit number (also known as RTN or a bank routing number) is a nine-digit bank code that is used in the United States. This number is a crucial information when using a check cashing service.

Here are some things you may not know about the routing number on a check:

– The routing number on a check identifies the financial institution on which it was drawn.

– It was designed to help facilitate the sorting, ┬ábundling and shipment back to the one who wrote the check in the first place.

– Some banks and credit unions actually might have multiple routing numbers for differing purposes, regions and even branches.

– The most common types of transaction for routing numbers is for Federal Reserve Banks to process wire transfers as well as the Automated Clearing House (better known as ACH) in order to process direct deposits, bill payments and other automatic transfers.

– It was designed in 1910 by its originators: the American Bankers Association.

Photo by Chumsak Kanoknan/Getty Images

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