What are Bank Routing Numbers?

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What are Bank Routing Numbers?
Bank Routing Numbers are numeric codes that appear on bank checks and other negotiable instruments to basically give identification from which bank or financial institution a particular check is drawn. All banks in the US for example have unique 9-digit routing numbers or routing transit numbers which used to be also called ABA or American Bankers Association numbers. The routing numbers on the bank checks basically function to ease its sorting, bundling, and or shipment back to the person who issued the check.

Bank routing numbers or routing transit numbers are usually found at the bottom part of checks, some deposit slips, and other negotiable instruments. In the US, it is common for bank routing numbers to be printed alongside the account number on the bottom of the check. With all the numbers printed on one check, it is easier for the banking industry to locate the account holder and the bank branch from which the check originates. In the case where a particular check is deposited but was later found out to have insufficient or no funding, this particular check needs to be “returned” or “routed” back to the drawer through the drawer’s maintaining bank branch. By means of the routing transit number on the check, the sorters of the checks will easily identify the check’s account and bank branch details.

But aside from the common bank checks, some banks also use routing numbers when making money transfers to other branches or other banks in other states or countries. In this case, the money is said to be “wired” to another location and this transaction is also encoded with its own routing number. The bank routing number for money or wire transfers serves the same purpose of identifying the bank and account number details of the money transfer source or the servicing bank branch.

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