In the US, banks and other financial institutions use routing numbers to identify themselves. They're made up of 9 digits, and sometimes called routing transit numbers, ABA routing numbers, or RTNs.
The Federal Reserve Banks need routing numbers to process Fedwire funds transfers. The ACH network also needs them to process electronic funds transfers – like direct deposits and bill payments.
Banks use routing numbers for all sorts of financial transactions. You might need one if you want to do any of the following:
Banks use different routing numbers for different types of transactions. For this reason, the routing number printed on your checks might not be the same number you need for an ACH transfer, or direct debit.
If you’re not sure which routing number you’ll need for a particular transfer type, you should check with your bank beforehand. Using the wrong number can lead to delays in processing the transfer.
Here’s where to look for your routing number on any check issued by your bank.
Here are some of the ways to find your number online:
To make sure the bank can process your payment securely and quickly, you should always check routing numbers – including numbers on this page – with your bank or your recipient.
You’ll need a few details to send or receive a wire transfer – either here in the US or internationally.
Routing numbers help identify banks when processing domestic ACH payments or wire transfers. But only in the United States. You don't need one to make a payment to your friend in France, for example.
SWIFT codes, like routing numbers, also identify banks and financial institutions. This time for international payments. They're sometimes known as BIC codes.
IBANs (international bank account numbers) identify individual bank accounts. They're issued by many banks in Europe, but banks elsewhere in the world are starting to adopt them as well.
Sending domestic payments with your bank can be easy enough. But international transfers are a different story. Thanks to high SWIFT and cross-border fees, they can be very expensive and time-consuming.
To get the best deal, it pays to look for specialist services. Many of which take a new approach, and skip the usual costs of sending money around the world.
Try TransferWise for fast, secure and cheap cross-border payments. All over the world.