You typically need your checking account number to set up electronic payments or direct deposits. The easiest way to find that number is on a personal check (but there are other solutions if you don’t have checks handy).
The account number is located at the bottom of your check. There should be three sets of numbers in a special computer-readable font at the bottom:
- The first number on the left is your bank routing number.
- The second (middle) number is your account number.
- The third number is your check number.
For example, see the image on the top of this page. This layout applies to most personal checks, but business checks (and online bill payment checks) may be different.
You can generally find the account number on a check by locating the following symbol: ⑈. The digits just before that symbol are your account number.
Other Numbers on Your Check
If you need to provide an account number, there's a good chance you'll need to provide other details from the check as well. Your account number by itself is not sufficient to create a link to your bank account for direct deposit or automatic bill payments.
The number on the far left is generally your bank’s routing transit number (RTN) or American Bankers Association (ABA) number. That nine-digit code identifies your bank, but it does not identify your specific account at that bank.
The set of numbers on the far right should be a check number, which is helpful when researching an individual check for your own accounting. A check number does not reference your bank or your account—it’s just a unique identifier for every check you write, helping you track your spending and balance your checkbook. Check numbers are not crucial for processing payments. In fact, check numbers can be re-used or used out of sequential order without major problems.
Business Checks and Bank-Printed Checks
The format described and shown in the example above applies to most personal checks. However, checks that come from businesses (such as payroll checks) and checks that have been printed out by your bank might have a different format.
Checks mailed by businesses or sent from online bill payment services often have account numbers as the third set of numbers from the left.
To further complicate matters, those checks may use account and routing numbers that are different from the numbers on your personal checks. If you try to copy your account number from a check printed using your bank’s online bill payment tool, you’ll get an account number that does not map directly to your individual account. Instead, that number points to an account that your bank uses for bill payments. You won't be able to use those numbers to link your account for direct deposit, Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments, or wire transfers.
It’s best to use a recently printed personal check to find your account information. If you have any doubts about which numbers to use, just contact your bank and get the details.
Ask Customer Service
A customer service representative at your bank can tell you everything you need to know to get your automatic payments set up. They’ll need to know exactly which account you want to use because ABA numbers may vary depending on where you opened your account. You might also be able to find this information online when you’re logged into your account. Look for a direct deposit form, account details area, or instructions for setting up Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and ACH.
Getting the account number right is worth a few minutes on the phone with customer service. Consider the consequences of an improper setup: You might not get paid on time, and you might end up bouncing checks or missing payments for important things (like your mortgage or student loan, which can lead to serious headaches and expenses). Get it done right the first time, and then let everything run on autopilot—that’s the whole point of signing up for electronic payments.
If You Don’t Have Checks
It’s easy to find your account number on a check, but what if you don’t have any checks? The next best place to look is your monthly statement. In some cases, your account number is partially hidden (especially if you view statements online), so you may need to call or chat online with customer service. You may also be able to click on something that enables you to expand or "show" your full account number.