Each financial institution in the United States is identified by a unique nine digit number commonly referred to as an ABA number. Routing numbers are used in combination with either a personal or business checking or savings account number. ABA numbers are never used for credit card processing unless a consumer has been issued a pre-printed check by the credit card company.
Although some financial institutions may have more than one routing number that consumers may use, customers may only use an authorized ABA number that is designated specifically for their personal or business checking or savings account. When businesses process checks, e-checks or wire transfers, it is extremely important for the business owner to confirm that the ABA routing number matches the information for the bank. If the information does not match, then the transaction will be declined and the monies will not be credited to the proper merchant accounts.
ABA numbers are called routing numbers and typically appear at the bottom left corner of pre-printed checks issued by the bank. The checking or savings account number typically appears to the right of the ABA routing number. Businesses that process checks and e-checks must know the proper ABA routing number to complete the transaction. Consumers do not need to physically have a printed check on hand to pay by check. In fact, many businesses with merchant accounts offer credit card processing and also accept and process e-checks. Businesses that choose to process e-checks will need to gather the bank’s ABA routing number and customer’s account number to process a transaction.
When possible, businesses should try to get the customer’s signature written authorization to process the transaction. However, written authorization is not always necessary. This is true because many businesses offer credit card processing and accept e-checks by phone. Many consumers have their ABA number memorized, but many do not. Consumers who do not know their ABA number may stop in at a branch, log in online or contact their financial institution via telephone to request their routing number.
Clearly, ABA numbers are extremely important to business owners because they can be used to process a wide range of transactions, including but not limited to deposits, withdrawals, ACH transactions (automatic clearing house), bill pay, e-checks, wire transfers and other transactions. To ensure proper processing to merchant accounts, business owners need to make certain they enter the right ABA number whenever completing a check or e-check transaction. Both the routing and account number must match the number on file at the financial institution. If the numbers do not match, then the transaction will most likely be declined.