How to Check That Routing Numbers Work

A routing number is a special banking code used by financial institutions and check processors. It routes them to the banking account of a specific bank or other financial institution. Every financial institution has its own unique routing number, and all bank accounts with a particular bank will use that routing number. All routing numbers are comprised of nine digits, and the first two digits are 01 through 12 or 21 through 32.

It's important to have the correct routing number on hand in order to process a debit or deposit. An incorrect routing number will result in a failed transaction.

Verify a Routing Number With a Financial Institution

The easiest and most direct method of verifying a routing number involves contacting the financial institution that the number reportedly belongs to. If you have received a check, or have taken down a check's information over the phone or online, then you should have the financial institution's name. Call and confirm the routing number.

Verify a Routing Number Online

Use an online routing number verification website (see Resources for link) to verify a routing number. Many websites contain databases of financial institutions, and you can search by bank name and general location, or by using the routing number itself. If you're not certain of the routing number's accuracy, it may be better to search by financial institution name or by a partial routing number. Many of these online services are free, but some do charge fees.

Use Commercial Verification Services

Verify a routing number by commercial routing number verification products and systems. Many financial institutions and third-party financial merchants offer special databases and tools that can verify both routing numbers and account numbers.