Savings account routing numbers: What you need to know

Woman drinking coffee at an outside cafe checking phone to see if her savings account has a routing numberImage: Woman drinking coffee at an outside cafe checking phone to see if her savings account has a routing number

In a Nutshell

Savings accounts come with routing numbers that enable financial institutions to  transfer funds between accounts — whether for receiving deposits or transferring money out of an account to pay a bill, for example. Here’s what you need to know about the routing numbers associated with savings accounts.
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A savings account routing number is a nine-digit number that’s used to identify the bank that holds the account.

If you have a checking account, you’re probably familiar with the account information you see at the bottom of your check: the routing number, account number and check number. The routing number is nine digits, and is the first number you see on the very left side of the bottom of the check.

Savings accounts also have routing numbers. As with checking accounts, a savings account routing number is key to being able to move money in or out of the account. You can typically find your savings account routing number when you log into your online banking profile. It may also be available on your checks, if your bank prints checks for the type of savings account you have.

Let’s take a look at what your savings account routing number does, how to find it, and how to transfer funds or pay bills using it.

What is a routing number?

Think of a routing number as your financial institution’s GPS. Created in 1910 by the American Bankers Association, routing numbers help U.S. banks keep track of money being deposited and transferred into accounts they maintain.

These days, routing numbers also make digital transactions possible through peer-to-peer payment apps like Zelle or Venmo.

Each federal- or state-chartered U.S. bank, credit union or other financial institution has its own unique routing number. These routing numbers help direct funds from one account to another.

How do I find my savings account’s routing number?

Although every financial institution is a little different, you’ll likely find your routing number on …

  • The account overview area of your financial institution’s mobile app
  • The bottom-left corner of a printed check
  • Your bank’s website

How do I read the routing number?

Here’s a breakdown of the digits in a savings account routing number.

As the visual above shows, different digits in your routing number have different meanings. Here’s a more detailed explanation.

  • The first two digits refer to the regional Federal Reserve bank that oversees financial institutions in your area.
  • The third digit refers to the check processing center that’s been assigned to your financial institution.
  • The fourth digit is the state of the Federal Reserve district that your financial institution is located in.
  • Digits 5–8 make up the unique identifier number for your financial institution.
  • The ninth digit is a “checksum” — a mathematical formula based on the sum of the first eight digits in the routing number (something a little more complicated than plain old addition).

How do I use my savings account’s routing number?

Now that you know where to find the routing number associated with your savings account, you might wonder why and how you’d use it.

The three main ways this routing number may come in handy include paying your bills, setting up direct deposit with an employer and transferring money between accounts.

Paying your bills with your savings account

You can pay your bills using a money market savings account, a type of savings account that comes with checks, among other benefits.

If you don’t have a money market account, you could opt to set up automatic bill pay from a designated account using electronic transfers. In either case, having your routing number handy can simplify the process.

Setting up direct deposit with your savings account

Other ways you might want to use your savings account include setting up a direct deposit of your paycheck from your employer. Signing up for this option typically requires both your bank account and routing numbers to execute.

Consider setting up direct deposit if you’re saving for a goal and want to make regular deposits into your savings account.

Making a wire transfer with your savings account

Another situation could involve transferring money from one checking or savings account to another account with a different financial institution. This type of transfer is sometimes called a wire transfer.

This might be something you’d use if you’re dealing with an emergency and need to access funds quickly.

Bottom line

The routing number to your savings account is key to being able to move money in or out of your account. It helps make it possible to pay bills, set up direct deposit or transfer funds.

While a savings account routing number can help you move funds around, be aware that unlike with a checking account, you may be limited with a savings account in terms of the number of transactions you can make without a fee.

About the author: Paris Ward is a content strategist at Credit Karma, providing readers with the latest news that will aid their financial progress. She has more than a decade of experience as a writer an… Read more.