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Where is the Routing Number Located on a Check?: Understand All the Numbers on a Check

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 4/14/2012

Ever wonder what a check routing number is and where it's located on a check? Learn about the parts of a check and how important the routing number is and why.

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    Parts Of A Check


    Before asking where is the routing number located on a check, be aware that a check has multiple parts that play a role in processing the funds and executing the transferring money from one party to the other. A typical check includes –

    Payor and Payee information

    Payor (the person or organization sending the check funds) information in the form of an address and a phone (optional) is given at the top left corner of the check. The name of the payee (person or organization receiving the check funds) and “pay to the order of" line gives the full name of the person or organization receiving the check funds.

    Date of the check / Check number

    The date of the check is written in at the top right corner of the check to be sent. It should represent the current date that the check is written. Checks that have not been cashed after six months (for some banks, it’s nine months) are invalid and cannot be presented to a bank for funds. Dates written should include the month, day and year.

    Check numbers are located at the top right corner above the date. For personal checks, the check number is a sequence up to 4 digits. For cashier or certified checks, the check number is usually contains six to eight digits depending on the bank.

    Numeric Amount / Written Amount

    The numeric amount is the amount given for the funds that the check represents. The numeric amount should be written in dollars and cents, such as $34.30. To confirm the numeric amount, the written amount is presented in long form using words for the dollars and cents. In the above example, the written amount would be “Thirty-four dollars and .30/100". The cents can also be written as “.30/xx".

    Bank Information

    The bank name, address and branch number are located in small print on the lower left hand side of the check.

    Memo / Signature Line

    The memo and signature line are both located on the bottom left and right areas (respectively) of a check. While the memo line is used to comment on the purpose of the check, the signature line is used by the payor to confirm the validity of the information on the check. Checks without signatures are not valid and cannot be processed by financial institutions.

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    Routing Number

    It is true that one of the most important pieces of information on a check is the routing information. Without this information, the transferring of funds from an account cannot take place. So, where is the routing number located on a check ? The routing information is located at the bottom left of a check and consists of three parts, namely –

    ABA number (also called RTN or Routing Transit Number)

    This is a unique nine-digit number assigned to financial institutions in the United States by the American Bankers’ Association. The digits are surrounded by colons in the form – “:12345678:"

    Account number

    This is the bank account number of the payor and gives the location of the check funds.

    Check number

    This sequence corresponds to the number associated with the check fund amount.

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    Common Problems With Checks

    The most common problems with checks occur from the date, signature and amount areas on the check. Misspelled names, missing dates and signature can certainly hold up a check from being processed. Persons writing checks can be assured that their checks will be valid by taking the time to complete every part carefully on the check before giving it to the payee. Also, finding out the full name of the payee is most helpful in creating a valid check to be presented to a financial institution. Another issue that can hold up a check is postdating. Post dating a check involves writing a check and dating with a date projected in the future. Some banks will charge the payee for holding the check until the date when funds are available.

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    Routing Find a routing number for any bank -

    (Photo courtesy of WikiMedia Commons –

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