How to Calculate the Check Digit of a Routing Number

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The routing number on a check uniquely identifies the financial institution and the location where the check was printed. Financial institutions use routing numbers to instantaneously process financial transactions. The last, or ninth, digit of the routing number is vital because it’s wont to verify the authenticity of the routing number. If this number becomes damaged or illegible, you’ll use an algorithm to calculate it.

Table of Contents

Calculating the Check Digit

Understand what a routing number is. The routing number is found within the bottom left corner of a check. It’s a nine-digit number that uniquely identifies you bank and therefore the location where your check was printed.

  • The primary four digits are the Federal Reserve System routing symbol. This identifies where your check was printed. There are 12 Federal Reserve System districts and different cities in each district.
  • Subsequent four digits are assigned by the American Bankers Association (ABA). It identifies the financial organization where you opened your account.
  • The ninth digit is that, the check digit. It’s calculated using an algorithm. The check digit is employed to validate the 8-digit bank routing number. You’ll verify the authenticity of a check digit by running the algorithm yourself and comparing the check digit you calculate with the one that’s printed on the check.

Understanding the Background and Development of the Numbering System

Learn the history of check routing numbers. Before 1910, banks had no uniform system for identifying checks written from different banks. In 1911, the American Bankers Association (ABA) published a book listing all the nation’s financial institutions and assigned identifying numbers to every of them. They established the Routing Number Administration Board, govern the utilization and retirement of routing numbers.

  • The 2 sorts of routing numbers still in use today are the fractional form and therefore the ink character recognition (MICR) form.
  • The MICR form is employed for automated processing of checks. The numbers and symbols are printed with special shapes which will be read by automated reading equipment. This font is employed on all U.S. and Canadian checks, deposit slips and e-commerce drafts.
  • The fractional form is outdated and was used when checks were hand-sorted. It still appears on checks alongside the MICR form, and it is often used if the MICR number is illegible. You’ll find it within the upper right corner of the check.
  • The MICR form routing number is printed within the lower left corner of the sign-up, a 5/8-inch band.

Understanding How Banks Use Routing Numbers

Understand why banks got to read routing numbers on checks. When processing your check, financial institutions need a reliable way of identifying your bank. It’s important that they are doing not confuse it with other banks.

  • Sometimes banks have similar names, so counting on the name of a financial organization alone could end in confusion.
  • Some banks may have quite one routing number, counting on its location or the sort of check getting used. But no two banks will ever have identical routing numbers.


  • This kind of multiplication is usually referred to as MOD-10. The rationale being-most people don’t know the calculation by its real name. Before starting with the calculations, confirm that the check isn’t ripped during a place where it might be easily traced. Unfold the rip and appearance at the routing number. You’ll not even get to perform any calculation sometimes.
How to Calculate the Check Digit of a Routing Number

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