Check Anatomy
Locating Routing and Account Numbers

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There are Routing/Transit Numbers and Transit Symbols on all checks. The first number in the MICR line which stands for Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, at the bottom of your check is your bank's routing number. This number is 9 digits long and always starts with 0, 1, 2, or a 3. These specia MICR l numbers and symbols identify your financial institution and your bank account so that funds can be tracked and transferred correctly.

This format help your financial institution to scans all of these numbers and symbols electronically in order for it to appear on your monthly statement.

Bank Account Numbers may appear before or after the MICR line.

Check Numbers to help you keep track of your checks, are the sequential numbers for your checks and appear in both the MICR line at the bottom of the check and at the upper right hand corner.


Below is a simple representaion to illustrate routing and account numbers on your checks.


| : 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 0 |: 1

1 2 3 ||| 4 5 6 ||| 7 |||



Routing/Transit Number - Routing/Transit numbers are normally 9-digits at the bottom of your check. This routing or transit number that identifies the financial institution (Bank, Credit Union, etc.) where your account is located.

Account Number -
Is your actual checking account number.


Check Number -
The final group of numbers is the actual check number itself. This number will correspond with the number located in the upper right corner of your check.


  Tips for error free ordering!

  • Checking and savings accounts do have different numbers. Be sure you double check the numbers on the actual check you are looking at before submitting your order.
  • Look at your old check and use that number. You can get your account number directly from your bank statement.
  • Record all the numbers in a particular group (routing and/or account number). Zeros are just as important before a string of numbers as they are appearing after a string of numbers.
  • The online check order form will refer to the "Next Starting Number". This is the actual check number you want printed on the first check in your order. Usually, when you are "reordering checks" in order to keep your bookkeeping records straight you want to make sure you stay in sequence. Go to your very last check and then order starting at the next numeral. For example, if the last check you have is number 1999 you would ask for the "Next Starting Number" of 2000.
  • There is no rules ... you can start your new order with any number. Most check printers recommend starting with a fairly high number -- say for example 2000. In a merchants mind, they are more comfortable accepting a check with a higher number on it than for instance a check that says 12 or even 102.
  • Most financial institutions will be more than happy to give you the correct routing number . Ask them over the phone if you are unsure.