Find Your Bank Account Number and Know When To Use It
Every banking transaction you initiate necessitates two crucial pieces of information to go through: the routing number and your bank account number. Though there are several ways you can find both numbers, the simplest and quickest is often to refer to your checks, as both are printed at the bottom of every check.
Table of contents
- Find Your Bank Account Number and Know When To Use It
- What Is a Bank Account Number on Check Used For?
- How Can You Find Your Account Number if You Don’t Have Checks?
- Special Considerations for Business and Bank Checks
- Who Would Use the Bank Account Number on Check?
- Examples of Using Bank Account Number on Check
- Quick Questions
What Is a Bank Account Number on Check Used For?
When you open a bank account, the banking institution will assign two unique numbers to your account. The first — the routing number — simply identifies the banking institution with which you hold the account. This number indicates where exactly the funds involved in a transaction should come from or go to.
The account number, on the other hand, is your unique customer ID. Think of it, if you will, as your banking fingerprint. No other person has both the same account number and routing number combination as you do. While anyone can access a bank’s routing number, you should guard your account number carefully to prevent unauthorized access to your funds.
Finding Your Account Number
Account numbers are typically between eight and 12 numbers long. The easiest way to locate a bank account number on check is to refer to the bottom of a personal check associated with your account. There you will see three sets of numbers:
- The check number (which should match the number at the top right corner)
- The routing number, which is on the left
- The bank account number, which is on the right
All three numbers are printed in a special, computer-readable font.
How Can You Find Your Account Number if You Don’t Have Checks?
Paper checks are becoming obsolete, and it is not uncommon for individuals to forego them in favor of other modes of spending. Moreover, many online-only banks — and even a select number of traditional banks — do not support check-based transactions. If you do not have checks handy, or if you do not have any at all, there are a few other ways you can find your bank account number.
Access It Online
If you don’t have paper checks on hand, log into your online bank account, and look for your account number there. Though the steps for finding it will differ from institution to institution and whether you log in on an app or computer, they typically entail navigating to the “account information” section and then “account summary.” You should see the last four digits, preceded by asterisks. Click “show” to obtain the complete number.
Refer to a Paper Statement
Paper statements contain the full eight to 12 digits of your account number at the top. If you still receive statements in the mail, refer to a copy.
Call Your Bank
If all else fails, call your bank. After asking you a few questions to verify your identity, the representative should be able to provide you with your account number.
Special Considerations for Business and Bank Checks
The typical routing number/bank account number/check number format does not always apply to business and bank-printed checks. For example, on many business checks, the account number is the third set of numbers from the left. This is also true of checks that are sent from online bill payment services.
Moreover, many bank-printed checks show a different account number from those you see on your personal checks. Though bills may come directly out of your personal checking account, the account number on these checks does not route directly back to your individual account; rather, it goes to the account your bank uses for bill payment. If you plan to use a bank-printed check for reference, verify that the number is actually yours.
Who Would Use the Bank Account Number on Check?
Other than your banking institution, you should be the primary user of your bank account number. You may use it for things such as enrolling in online bill pay, signing up for a payment app or applying for a loan. That said, you may entrust your employer with your bank account number so that it may deposit your paycheck directly into your account, or a friend or family member who may need to transfer funds to you.
Examples of Using Bank Account Number on Check
The primary purpose of a bank account number is to identify the individual account from or to which funds must come or go. However, it has several other purposes outside of that. Examples of how you may use your account number are as follows:
- Verify Your Identity: Before a banking representative can discuss the details of your account with you, he or she may request your bank account number.
- Automated Clearing House Electronic Funds Transfer: An ACH EFT can occur in one of two ways: A company to which you owe money pulls money out of your account when a payment is due, or you push money out of your account to pay, say, a friend or family member. In either instance, you will need to provide your bank account number to initiate the transaction.
- Direct Deposit: To set up direct deposit, you will need to provide your employer with your bank account number.
If the account in question is a checking account then yes, the account numbers and checking account numbers are the same.
If you lose your account number, log into your online banking account, refer to a paper statement or call your bank.
Some banks include letters in their bank account number combinations. This is typically only the case for international accounts.