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Have you ever wondered how money is deposited into your bank account, whether from your employer or other source? Or what if you’re sending money to someone and want to make sure the funds wind up in the right place? That’s where the bank’s routing number in Canada enters the picture.

Without it, there’s no way of knowing which bank branch the funds should be sent from or received by. Let’s go into more detail about routing numbers, how they’re used, and where you can find yours.

Key Takeaways – Article Summary

  • A routing number is a 8-digit number that facilitates digital banking.
  • You can find your bank’s routing number on a cheque or in your online banking portal.
  • All financial institutions have their own routing numbers.
  • A routing number, a transit number, and an institution number are not the same thing.
  • A routing number can change, but your old routing number will still be connected to your account. 
  • You may need to update your transaction details for automatic payments if your bank’s routing number changes. 

What Is A Routing Number?

In Canada, your routing number is a combination of the 5-digit branch (or transit) number and the 3-digit financial institution number that can be found on the bottom of your personal cheques. 

Routing numbers were implemented in 1910 to make transactions more efficient and rapid. The idea is that if every bank has a unique number assigned to it, miscommunication and errors would be reduced.

How Do You Find Your Routing Number? 

Routing numbers can be found in various places. The most common place to find a routing number is at the bottom of your personal cheques. If you don’t use cheques, you can also find your routing number on:

  • Your bank statement.
  • Your deposit slips.
  • Your bank’s website.
  • Or by contacting your bank by phone or in person.

How To Find Your Routing Number On A Cheque?

The numbers at the bottom of your cheque are your cheque number, branch number, financial institution number and your account number, in that exact order. Your routing number, as mentioned, is the branch number combined with your financial institution number.

Can I Get My Routing Number From My Local Bank?

Yes, a bank teller can provide your bank routing number in Canada over the phone or in person. You may be asked for documentation to prove your identity before this information is provided. 

How To Find My Routing Number Without A Cheque?

If you don’t have a cheque, you can find your bank routing number in Canada by logging in to your online banking account. More specifically, this information can be found in the account details section of your online account. 

Big Banks Routing Numbers

Bank routing numbers may appear in two formats, depending on whether the information is accessed on a paper document or electronically.

‘A’ represents the transit number and ‘B’ represents the transit number:

  • Paper-based transit numbers: AAAAA-BBB
  • Electronic transactions routing numbers: 0BBBAAAA 

Where Can You Find Your National Bank Routing Number?

You can find your National Bank routing number at the bottom of your cheque, logging into your online account, or by visiting a local bank branch. 

Where Can You Find Your TD Bank Routing Number?

For TD Bank, you can find the routing number at the bottom of a cheque, or on the pre-filled Direct Deposit form (PDF) on the TD website or app. 

Where Can You Find Your BMO Routing Number?

You can find your BMO routing number at the bottom of a paper cheque, by viewing a void cheque online under your chequing account, or by logging into your online account under your account details section.  

Where Can You Find Your RBC Routing Number?

The RBC routing number can be found at the bottom of your cheque or by logging into your RBC online banking account under Account Details.

Where Can You Find Your Scotiabank Routing Number?

You can find your Scotiabank routing number by looking at the bottom of a cheque or by logging into your Scotiabank banking account online under your account details. You can also view a void cheque under your chequing account in the “Direct Deposits & Payments” section.

Where Can You Find Your CIBC Routing Number?

Your CIBC routing number can be found at the bottom of a cheque or by logging into your online banking account under your account details. You can also view a void cheque online by going to your chequing account and choosing “Manage My Account.” 

Direct Deposits: Does It Include Your Routing Number?

Direct deposit is the electronic depositing of money directly into a bank account instead of through a paper cheque. It requires an electronic network that allows the transfer of funds between banks. For instance, an employer may pay an employee via direct deposit, which means the payment is sent from the employer’s bank to the employee’s bank via the electronic network. 

Direct deposits include the bank’s name,  the routing number (transit number and institution number combined), and your bank account number. 

What’s The Difference Between A Routing Number, Transit Number And Institution Number?

  • An institution number is a three-digit number that identifies your bank. 
  • A transit number is also referred to as the branch number and is used to identify your bank branch.
  • A routing number is a combination of a five-digit transit number and a three-digit financial institution number. 

When Will You Need Your Routing Number?

Using a routing number is more common than you would think. In fact, you’ve probably used your routing number without even knowing it. Moments, where you can expect to use your routing number, include:

  • Direct deposit set up with your employer.
  • Automatic, recurring loan and bill payments.
  • Direct deposit set up with the CRA for tax refunds or payments.
  • Transfers between two bank accounts.
  • Wire transfers.

Routing numbers are only required when dealing with transactions coming or going directly from your bank account. Debit and credit card purchases do not require the use of routing numbers. 

Do Routing Numbers Ever Change?

Routing numbers can change from time to time. Changes arise when financial institutions close branches, change the routing number’s purpose, restructure their operations, or experience a merger, acquisition or consolidation. When any of these events happen, the routing number attached to your account can change. 

What Happens If Your Routing Number Changes?

If your bank account routing number changes, you will likely receive correspondence from your bank notifying you of the change ahead of time. More often than not, you can still use your old personal cheques when a routing number changes because the old routing number will still be connected to your account. 

If your bank asks you to stop using your old cheques due to a changed routing number, feel free to ask them for a new set of cheques free of charge.

Things To Consider If Your Bank Routing Number Changed?

If you have automatic payments set up with various vendors, be sure to update the transaction details in relation to the routing number. 

You will also want to update the information with people who are sending you money, such as your employer via a direct deposit.  

Routing Number FAQs

What are routing numbers used for?

Routing numbers were invented to make electronic banking easier and faster. You get your paycheque from your employer faster, can pay vendors from the comfort of your home and can even set up automatic recurring payments.

How do you find your Canada routing number without a cheque?

You can log in to your online banking account and look under your account details to find your routing number in Canada. Otherwise, you can speak with a bank teller either over the phone or in person at your local bank branch.

Who might need my routing number?

Anyone sending or receiving money electronically will need to know the proper routing number to ensure the funds are sent to the right place. For instance, your employer will need to know your bank’s routing number to ensure your paycheque is accurately deposited into your bank account. If you’re sending money to someone else, whether for personal or business purposes, you will also need to know the routing number to complete the transaction.


Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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