How to Arrange and Check a Fractional Routing Number

How to Arrange and Check a Fractional Routing Number
••• AndreyPopov/iStock/GettyImages

A fractional routing number is a number that you can use to determine where the check payment you are receiving is coming from. It appears like a complex fraction of sorts and is usually presented in a XX-YYYY/ZZZZ or YYYY/ZZZZ format.

You can find the number on the top part of checks that are paid via the Federal Reserve System. And corresponding information can also be found at the bottom left part of the check on the magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) line.

Importance of a Fractional Routing Number

You may need to know how to arrange and check a fractional routing number to verify your check’s origin and recognize its validity. If a check is fraudulent, you could determine that from the fractional routing number. Also, if the MICR line on a check gets damaged or torn off, you can still use the fractional routing number to verify the check.

What the Fractional Routing Numbers Mean

The various digits within the fractional routing number on a check have different meanings.

Usually, the first two digits identify the state and city from which the check originates (XX), while the second set of four digits identifies the actual institution the check belongs to (YYYY). And the last four digits (ZZZZ) belong to the Federal Reserve District under which the bank falls.

  • State and city identifier (XX):​ The state and city identifier is a two-digit prefix whose state code numbers range from 1 to 100 for most states, and 101 for U.S. territories. For example, if the check originated from California, it would have the prefix “90” as its state identifier. In eight-digit fractional numbers, the “XX” parts may be missing.
  • Institution Identifier (YYYY):​ Every bank has an institutional identifier known as the ABA routing number, managed by Accuity on behalf of the American Bankers Association (ABA). It is usually a ​nine-digit​ number, but the main digits may appear as a set of four digits on a check fractional number base. It may also identify the branch of the bank.
  • Federal Reserve District Identifier (ZZZZ):​ Each bank belongs to a region or federal district under a federal reserve bank through which the check is processed. So, the Federal Reserve district to which the bank sending the check belongs is identified by the ​last​ ​four digits​. And it represents the ​first four digits​ of a bank’s routing number when you ignore the leading zeros. Usually, the first two digits range from ​one (01) to 12​, with the remainder representing the check processing center and the bank’s actual location including the district office. For example, the Dallas Federal Reserve district is represented by 11.

How to Arrange and Check a Fractional Routing Number

The easiest way to check a fractional routing number is by using a check fractional number generator or bank fractional number calculator. If your check’s number is valid, you will be able to locate the bank from which the check originates. And if your check is fraudulent, there will be no bank associated with that fractional routing number.

However, if you do not have access to a bank fractional number calculator or generator, you can find out the information manually. Below are the tips you can implement to find the bank associated with the fractional number on checks.

  • Check the fractional number located toward the top-right hand corner of your check and note it down in the XX-YYYY/ZZZZ format. Alternatively, it may appear in the YYYY/ZZZZ format.
  • Search for the state identification codes and assign a city or state to it. For example, if the “XX” section is 88, it represents Texas.
  • Note down the “YYYY” section of the fractional routing number. It needs to correspond to the second set of digits of the number located at the bottom left-hand corner of the check or digits five through eight of the bank’s routing number. That number is the routing number. If you cannot read that number, you should look online for the bank routing number of the institution where the check comes from. You can also call them to confirm. Suppose the bank in question is the Bank of America in Dallas, and suppose its routing number is 111000025. In that case, the YYYY section is 0002.
  • Write down the ZZZZ part of your fractional routing number. It must correspond to the first four digits of the originating bank’s routing number while skipping any leading zeroes. In this case, the number is 1110. The first four digits represent the Federal Reserve District of Dallas, the check processing center the bank is assigned to and the bank’s location, which is in the Federal Reserve City. If the bank’s location was assigned outside that city, the last digit of the set would range from zero to nine.
  • Combine all the relevant digits to get the accurate check’s fractional routing number. In this case, it should be 88-0002/1110 or 88-2/1110.

If there is a discrepancy between the bank’s routing number at the bottom and the way the fractional routing number appears, your check is likely fraudulent.