Note: This article is part of our Basic Banking series, designed to provide new savers with the key skills to save smarter.
Knowing your checking account number can be crucial. If you want to set up direct deposit with your employer or need to make an electronic payment, you’ll need to know your account number. You can find that account number on a check.
Someone new to check-writing or someone who hasn’t written one in a long time might need help, so here we are.
How to find the account number on a check
There are three sets of numbers at the bottom of a check. Your account number will be the group of numbers in the center, between the routing number and the check number. Typically, an account number can be eight or nine digits to signify your personal account.
To recap and provide information on the other numbers:
- Account number: At the bottom of your check, this is the second set of numbers from the left.
- Routing number: This nine-digit figure is the first set of numbers (we’ll go into more detail later).
- Check number: This is the third set of numbers at the bottom — to the right of your account number. It usually is three to four digits. A check number is exactly what it seems: the number of a check you’re using that can help you stay organized.
Keep in mind that your account number is one of the most important numbers on your check because it signifies the account from which to withdraw funds.
Some financial technology (fintech) companies, such as SoFi Money, even provide physical checks. Simple, an online bank, in May 2019 ended online bill pay and has since started offering paper checks as a payment source for when electronic payments can’t be made.
Other ways to find your account number
While you can find your account number on your check, there are other ways to find it when needed. Here are the most common ways to find your account number beyond a check.
- Bank statement: Your monthly bank statement that arrives in the mail or is provided online will include your account number. It is typically clearly labeled at the top.
- Bank website: Finding your account number online is as simple as logging in to your online banking account. From there, you’ll look for your checking account. When you click on your account, either your full account number or the last few digits may be displayed. If you do not see the full account number, there should be an option to view it. For example, Chase Bank has a “see full account number” option at the top of the page.
- Bank customer service: If all else fails, you can call your bank’s customer service or head to a branch near you to learn your account number. You’ll likely have to provide your name and other security information for verification.
Account numbers vs. routing numbers
Account numbers and routing numbers can be confusing. Often, people confuse these two numbers on a check.
As we’ve mentioned, a routing number is the nine-digit figure at the bottom of a check — to the left of the account number. Routing numbers were created in 1910 by the American Bankers Association (ABA) to help identify the bank. A routing number also specifies where the account was opened.
Like your account number, your routing number is also important. You’ll need to know your routing number if you plan to use autopay to have funds withdrawn directly from your account each month. Routing numbers are also used when a check needs to be processed, money needs to be transferred to another account or direct deposit needs to be set up. And you’ll need to provide your routing number if you want your tax refund direct deposited.
Account numbers FAQ
Question: What are those weird characters on the bottom of a check?
Answer: These strange-looking characters are referred to as the magnetic ink character recognition line (MICR). They are printed with magnetic ink and read by a machine to help banks process checks as fast as possible.
Question: Is my debit card number the same as my checking account number?
Answer: No, your debit card number and account number are not the same. Your debit card allows you to withdraw funds or make purchases from your checking account. But your debit card number cannot be used to set up things like direct deposit.
Question: If I am looking at a business check, is my account number in the same location than that of a personal check?
Answer: It depends. On some payroll checks, the account number is the third set of numbers rather than the ones in the middle. Always check with your bank if you’re unsure.