Your bank account number is a custom ID, much like a fingerprint, that identifies your account. Each account has its own unique number, and you’ll need to know it in order to carry out a number of financial transactions from ordering checks to transferring money between accounts.
Here’s a closer look at what a bank account number is and where to find it when you need it.
What Is a Bank Account Number?
Bank account numbers are used by financial institutions to help them differentiate among the many accounts that they hold for customers. You get one when you open a bank account, and each account has a different account number, even if the account holder is the same. For example, if you hold a checking account and a savings account at the same financial institution, the numbers will be different.
Bank account numbers have been in use since the 1960s. Each bank assigns numbers to accounts based on a proprietary system, and the numbers can be up to 17 digits long, but are typically between eight and 12 digits.
How to Find Your Checking Account Number
In order to carry out a number of financial transactions, you’ll need to know your account number. But sometimes, when you need it most, that series of digits can be hard to find! Let us guide you towards where it is.
On Your Checks
If you have paper checks, you should be able to find your account number or routing number printed along the bottom of the check. Your routing number will usually be in the bottom left-hand corner of the check, and your account number should be to the right of your routing number. Each will likely be labeled. The number that’s to the right of the account number? In most cases, that is the number of the check you are holding in your hands.
On Your Bank Account Statement
Your bank account number can also be found on paper account statements mailed to you by your bank or available via its online portal. The number is usually listed at the top of the statement close to other identifying information and it should be clearly labeled. It may be on the right- or left-hand side, depending on your bank’s particular practice.
On Your Bank Account’s Online Portal
You should be able to find your account number online. You’ll need to securely log in to your account through your bank’s online portal. Where the number is displayed will vary by bank. It could be listed under the name of the account, for example, or you might need to find an account details tab. Or, as we mentioned above, it should be displayed on your monthly statement.
From Your Bank
Another way to get your account number is by contacting your bank, whether in person (if they have bricks and mortar locations) or by phone. Banks follow different protocols, but some will release the information once you have properly verified your identity as the account holder.
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What Is the Difference Between a Routing and an Account Number?
It can be confusing to know the difference between a routing and an account number. Let us clear that up for you! Account numbers are unique to individual accounts, and depending on how many accounts you may hold, you may have several different account numbers. The routing number, on the other hand, is a nine-digit number that identifies the bank or credit union at which an account is held and where the bank is located. Most banks have only one routing number, though some very large banks will have more than one that varies by region. So, even if you hold multiple accounts at a bank, each with their own account number, those accounts will likely share the same routing number.
The routing number, also known as an American Bankers Association, or ABA number, is only used for transactions in the U.S. It shows that a bank is chartered at the state or federal level and has an account with the Federal Reserve.
How to Protect Your Account Number
Because you need your account number to conduct transactions with your bank, it is a valuable piece of information for hackers and criminals looking to commit identity theft or fraud. Keeping this number confidential is important, so here are ways to protect it – and your security.
Protect Your Paper Checks
A lot of valuable information is printed on paper checks, including your name, address, routing number, and account number. Avoid leaving paper checks in places where strangers have easy access to them and can either steal them or copy down your information. Shred or tear up checks and other paper bank statements before you dispose of them.
Recommended: What Can Someone Do With Your Bank Account Number?
Use Strong Passwords
When setting up a password for online accounts, be sure to use something that isn’t easy to guess, like “pass1234.” Avoid personal information like names, addresses, or birth dates. Use random words with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, avoid using the same password for multiple accounts.
Use Secure Internet
Sometimes, you may want to check your bank account while traveling or at your neighborhood cafe. But be very cautious about your internet connection. When logging on in public places, be sure you are using a secure network that you can trust. You may also consider using a virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts your data. Or if you’re logging on to your bank account with a mobile device, consider using your mobile data, which is usually encrypted.
You may also want to make sure your device settings don’t automatically connect you to public wifi, and be sure that you don’t stay permanently logged in to any of your bank accounts.
Provide Your Account Number Only on Secure Websites
Only provide your account number to secure websites that encrypt their data. URLs for these sites will start with “https,” and they may have a little lock icon next to them. It’s important to know that even a website that starts with “https” isn’t necessarily secure. Scammers know that people assume these sites are safe and have started encrypting fraudulent sites as well. These lure you into believe they are secure when they aren’t, so proceed with caution.
Check Your Account Regularly for Suspicious Activities
Monitor your checking account and other accounts carefully, and keep an eye on your bank statements. Look out for suspicious activities like purchases or money transfers that you don’t recognize or that you didn’t make. Let your bank know immediately if you spot anything out of the ordinary. You may want to set alerts on your account that contact you when certain transactions are carried out or a purchase of a certain size is made from your account.
Keep a watchful eye on your credit reports as well. These can help you determine whether fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name. You can request a free credit report each year from each of the major credit reporting bureaus: Experian , Equifax , and TransUnion . (Pulling a report, by the way, doesn’t hurt your credit.)
Your bank account number is akin to a fingerprint: uniquely yours. It’s a valuable piece of information you’ll need for any number of banking transactions. It’s also information you should protect as best you can by carefully disposing of paper checks and statements and practicing secure banking online.
If you’re looking to open a bank account, consider SoFi Checking and Savings. Some of the benefits of banking with us include no monthly, overdraft, or minimum-balance fees – none! Plus, we have 55,000+ fee-free ATMs within the Allpoint® Network.
Are bank account numbers unique?
Yes, each bank account has a unique account number to identify the account.
What is a routing number?
A routing number is a nine-digit number that identifies your bank or credit union. While you may have multiple accounts at one bank with unique account numbers, the routing number will likely be the same for each.
Can I change my bank account number?
You can only change account numbers by opening a new bank account.
Can I find my bank account number using my mobile phone?
You should be able to find your account number using your mobile phone by logging into your bank’s online portal.
Is your bank account number on your credit or debit card?
While your account number may be printed on bank statements or paper checks, it’s not printed on credit or debit cards. The numbers printed on debit and credit cards are unique to the card and carry information about the card issuer and account information.
How many digits is a bank account number?
Account numbers may be up to 17 digits long, but are usually between eight and 12 digits.
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