Answer: The account number is located on the bottom of your check. There should be three sets of numbers in a funny computer-like font at the bottom, and your account number is typically the second set of numbers from the left (this applies to most personal checks, but sometimes checks have a different format). You can also find your account number on a check by locating the following symbol: ⑈. The digits just before that symbol are your account number.
For an example, see the image on the top of this page, where the account number is highlighted in yellow (or view a larger image).
Other Numbers on your Check
The number on the far left is generally your bank’s routing transit number (RTN) or American Bankers Association (ABA) number. That nine digit number identifies your bank, but does not identify your specific account at that bank.
If you need to provide an account number from your check, there’s a good chance that you’ll also need to provide the ABA number as well, so familiarize yourself with both of those numbers; neither one by itself is sufficient to create a link to your bank account.
The set of numbers on the right should be a check number. That’s just used to identify the individual check for accounting purposes. It does not reference your bank or your account (think of it as a unique identifier for every check you write, which helps you track your spending and balance your checkbook).
Checks in the Mail
Note that checks that were printed by a computer and mailed to you may be different. For example, checks mailed by businesses or sent from online bill payment services can have the numbers in different places – and they sometimes even use account and routing numbers that are different from the numbers on your personal checks. If you try to get 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 to your individual account; it maps to an account that your bank uses for bill payment instead.
It’s best to use a personal check to find your account information. If you have any doubts, contact your bank. A customer service representative can tell you everything you need to know to get your automatic payments set up. They’ll need to know who you are because ABA numbers may vary depending on where you opened your account. You might even be able to find this information online when you’re logged into your account (just look for a direct deposit form or something similar).
Consider what can go wrong if you end up using the wrong number: 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 right the first time and then forget all about it – that’s the point of signing up for electronic payments.