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Difference Between ABA routing numbers and ACH routing numbers

ABA routing numbers vs ACH routing numbers

ABA and ACH routing numbers, to simplify, help US financial institutions know where the money is going. Presently, there are over 21000 routing numbers in active use and every financial institution in the US has at least one. What are these routing numbers anyway?

ABA routing numbers

A routing number is a 9 digit number that is identified with a particular bank in a particular state. This 9 digit number was designed by the American Bankers Association way back in 1910 to help identify financial institutions. This routing number, commonly known as the ABA routing number, was primarily used for wire transfers as well in the clearing of checks.

ACH routing numbers

In recent years, the legislation called Check 21 has been in effect. As such, the ABA routing numbers found use not only in wire transfers and check clearing but also in directing electronic deposits and withdrawals between financial institutions. Also, companies have increasingly used electronic checks for payments as well as collecting payments. As such, the ABA routing number has again found use in the electronic network called ACH or Automated Clearing House.

Difference between ABA and ACH routing numbers

ABA and ACH routing numbers are actually the same thing. They are the same 9 digit number found on the bottom of your checks and the one that is used in your direct deposit or withdrawal application form. There is no actual difference between them except the fact that you call it ABA routing number when its written on a check or if you’re going to do a wire transfer; and you call it ACH routing number on your ACH application form. It’s basically a case of to-mash-to, to-may-to.

Routing numbers, whether you call is ABA routing number or ACH routing number, are a bunch of numbers to help the clearing house identify your bank. This ensures that your money will not be lost in transit.

In brief:

• ABA and ACH routing numbers are 9 digit numbers that identify a particular bank in a particular state in the US.

• ABA and ACH routing numbers are commonly used for wire transfers, check clearing and ACH transactions.

• There is no difference between the ABA and ACH routing numbers. Whatever difference they might have would be in their field of use.

• When you say ABA routing numbers, you immediately think of wire transfers and checks. When you say ACH routing numbers, direct deposits and withdrawals come to mind first.


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