What Is a Bank Account Number?

By Austin Kilham · May 20, 2024 · 4 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

What Is a Bank Account Number?

Your bank account number is a series of digits that identifies your account. Each account has its own unique number issued by the bank, and you’ll need to know it in order to carry out a number of financial transactions, such as transferring money between accounts or setting up direct deposit.

Here’s a closer look at what a bank account number is and how to keep yours safe.

Key Points

•   A bank account number is a unique series of digits assigned to a specific account by a bank.

•   These numbers can range from eight to 17 digits, depending on the bank’s system.

•   The number is essential for conducting financial transactions like money transfers and setting up direct deposits.

•   Unlike a debit card number, a bank account number solely identifies an account, not the card.

•   Protecting your bank account number is crucial to prevent identity theft and should be done by securing personal banking documents and using secure internet connections for transactions.

How Many Digits Are in a Bank Account Number?

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.

In use since the 1960s, 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 multiple bank accounts at a single institution, the bank account numbers keep them distinct. That might mean you have a checking and a savings account at a bank or you have two savings accounts earmarked for different purposes at a bank, for instance.

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What Is a Bank Account Number Used For?

A bank account number is a unique identifying number which, along with the routing number (indicating which bank holds the account), can be used to direct funds into and out of a customer’s account.

For example, when you write a check, the account number tells the receiving bank where to draw funds from. When you sign up for direct deposit, the account number directs your paycheck to the right place.

Is a Bank Account Number the Same as a Debit Card Number?

A bank account number and a debit card number are not the same, even if they relate to the same account. The account number identifies only the account.

The debit card number is a separate, different set of digits that is used to pull funds out of your bank account. You might think of it as a code that shares information about the bank identification number (the issuer), a set of digits that indicate your bank account (but doesn’t repeat your account number), and a numeral that signifies whether your card is valid.

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How to Protect Your Bank Account Number

Your bank account number is an important piece of confidential information. What can someone do with your bank account number? Because you need it to conduct transactions with your bank, hackers and criminals looking to commit identity theft or fraud could find it useful. Keeping this number confidential is important, so here are ways to protect it – and your security.

•   Keep paper checks, which have your bank account and routing number printed on them, in a secure place. Shred used or void ones.

•   If you are doing an online or mobile banking transaction involving your bank account number, be sure you have a strong password and are using a private and secure internet connection. Avoid doing banking while using a public connection at, say, a hotel or cafe.

•   Only enter your bank account number on secure websites, meaning ones that start with “https” and may show the little lock icon.

•   Monitor your checking account and other accounts carefully, and keep an eye on your bank statements. Look out for purchases or money transfers that you don’t recognize or that you didn’t make, and alert your bank about any unusual activity.

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The Takeaway

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.

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SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.


Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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