Routing Number

What is the ABA routing number?


The American Bankers Association routing number (a.k.a. ABA number or routing transit number) is a 9-digit number that serves to identify the specific financial institution responsible for the payment of a negotiable instrument.

Where is the routing number on my check?

The sample graphic below shows where the routing number can be found in the bottom left corner of your checks.
Check-Routing-Numbers.com

Routing number format

The routing number consists of 9 digits:
The ABA Routing Number is of the form XXXXYYYYC
  • XXXX is Federal Reserve Routing Symbol
  • YYYY is ABA Institution Identifier
  • C is the Check Digit

Federal Reserve Routing Number

The Federal Reserve Routing Numbers were originally assigned in the systematic way outlined below, reflecting a bank's geographical location and internal handling by the Federal Reserve. However, the link is today tenuous - following banking consolidation, many banks use a routing number from a now-defunct bank, while the Federal Reserve no longer assigns specific numbers for thrifts, nor does the "check processing facility" have any current meaning, as check processing is now centralized within each Federal Reserve district.

First two digits

The first two digits of the nine digit ABA number must be in the ranges 00 through 12, 21 through 32, 61 through 72, or 80.

The digits are assigned as follows:

  • 00 is used by the United States Government
  • 01 through 12 are the "normal" routing numbers, and correspond to the 12 Federal Reserve Banks . For example, 0260-0959-3 is the routing number for Bank of America incoming wires in New York, with the initial "02" indicating the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • 21 through 32 were assigned only to thrift institutions (e.g. credit unions and savings banks) through 1985, but are no longer assigned (thrifts are assigned normal 01-12 numbers). Currently they are still used by the thrift institutions, or their successors, and correspond to the normal routing number, plus 20. (For example, 2260-7352-3 is the routing number for Grand Adirondack Federal Credit Union in New York, with the initial "22" corresponding to "02" (New York Fed) plus "20" (thrift).)
  • 61 through 72 are special purpose routing numbers designated for use by non-bank payment processors and clearinghouses and are termed Electronic Transaction Identifiers (ETIs), and correspond to the normal routing number, plus 60.
  • 80 is used for traveler's cheques

The first two digits correspond to the 12 Federal Reserve Banks as follows:

Primary
(01-12)
Thrift
(+20)
Electronic
(+60)
Federal Reserve Bank
01 21 61 Boston
02 22 62 New York
03 23 63 Philadelphia
04 24 64 Cleveland
05 25 65 Richmond
06 26 66 Atlanta
07 27 67 Chicago
08 28 68 St. Louis
09 29 69 Minneapolis
10 30 70 Kansas City
11 31 71 Dallas
12 32 72 San Francisco

Third and fourth digits

The third digit corresponds to the Federal Reserve check processing center originally assigned to the bank, while the fourth digit is "0" if the bank is located in the Federal Reserve city proper, and otherwise is 1-9, according to which state in the Federal Reserve district it is.

Check digit

The check digit provides a checksum test using a position-weighted sum of each of the digits. High-speed check-sorting equipment will typically verify the checksum, and route the item to a reject pocket for manual examination, repair, and re-sorting. Mis-routings to an incorrect bank are thus greatly reduced.

Read more about the at Wikipedia website.

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